SB Nation college football numbers ninja Bill C. is in the process of writing a great many words about every single FBS college football team this offseason, and recently took a good, long look at C-USA doormat (formerly SWC doormat) Rice, who enters 2012 far, far more removed from their 10-win 2008 campaign than just the actual four year span.
Bill C. leaves no numerical stone left unturned (and then smashed into a fine analytical gravel!) in his breakdown of the Owls. As for a ray of hope, that's what we're for! We encourage you to go read the entire piece here, but first enjoy this graf, which when taken out of context, sounds more positive than it should:
Rice has a reasonably interesting offense this year, and its defense was salty against the pass last fall. If the Owls can overcome some serious turnover in the trenches (a hefty 'if'), then their schedule is easy enough to creep back toward their third bowl in either seven (or 51) years. They aren't going to resemble a quality major-conference team any time soon; but then again, they did rank ahead of four BCS conference squads last fall, including two (Kansas and Colorado) from the conference (the original Big 12) that indirectly destroyed their major conference status. So, there's that.
For more on the Rice Owls and every - every! - other FBS team, check out SB Nation's college football news hub.