The battle for the Bayou Bucket will resume in 2017 after a three-year hiatus as Rice and Houston have signed a contract to meet in football in 2017 and 2018, the schools jointly announced on Thursday.
The series will resume with a game at Houston on September 30, 2017 and follow with a game at Rice Stadium on September 1 of the following year.
"I know fans of both schools are excited to see this great series resume," Rice Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard said. "The Bayou Bucket is a great tradition and I know our players look forward to the opportunity to bring it back to South Main."
The Owls have one remaining spot to fill in their non-conference schedules for each year. The Owls currently will host Stanford (September 2) and Army (September 23) in addition to the road game against the Cougars in 2017. Rice's 2018 slate includes the home game with Houston and road games at Wake Forest (September 22) and Hawai'i (TBA).
At the same time, Rice announced the Owls have completed their 2016 non-conference schedule by adding a game with Prairie View A&M on October 22, 2016. The game completes a slate that includes road games at Stanford (September 3) and Army (September 10) and home games with Prairie View and Baylor (September 24).
Rice and Houston have met 39 times in football since the series began in 1971. The two schools, which have the closest proximity of any programs competing on the FBS level, played annually from 1971-1995 before the series took three year break after the end of the Southwest Conference. The series resumed in 1999 and continued through 2013. The two schools first began playing for the Bayou Bucket in 1974.
The current group of Rice Owls will conclude their Spring Football drills on Friday with the annual Blue-Gray game at 7:00 p.m. at Rice Stadium. They will open the 2015 season on September 5, when they host the Wagner Seahawks.