Joining the fray with the American Athletic Conference, the Rice Owls have a lot to prove. Entering the AAC with JT Daniels at quarterback will certainly help, but how much does it affect our Rice season predictions in 2023?
Rice Season Predictions: Predicting the Game-By-Game Results
Using groupthink, College Football Network analysts have painstakingly gone through every game for every team in the American Athletic Conference and across the country.
Picking these games straight up with a projected score using the rosters as up-to-date as the last spring practice, how do the Rice predictions look for 2023?
Week 1 – Rice @ Texas: Loss, 10-43
Though Rice fans are certainly excited to see the Owls compete in the AAC, they have to wait a few weeks and wade through a tough opening slate to do so. That includes opening the season in Austin, at Texas.
The Longhorns are out to prove “they’re back,” like always, and Rice is set to be severely overmatched in this outing. Learn what you can from this team in the first and second quarters before it’s out of hand.
Week 2 – Rice vs. Houston: Loss, 22-30
These two cross-town rivals should be happy to go up against one another at this point of the season for different reasons. Houston can continue to get out any issues they may have before Big 12 play starts and Rice can look to prove a thing or two against a now-Power-Five program in the Cougars.
Ultimately, the Houston roster is too strong for this Rice program, but the Owls can keep it close with Daniels’ throwing to Bradley Rozner in the end zone a few times.
Week 3 – Rice vs. Texas Southern: Win, 35-21
Grabbing their first win of the season should certainly come against Texas Southern. The Rice roster stacks up well here and before AAC play starts the week after, this is a great game to iron out the fine points on both sides of the ball.
Rice can certainly score points with Daniels at the helm and Luke McCaffrey at his disposal, but can the rushing attack get going in this one to strike fear into their American opponents?
Week 4 – Rice @ USF: Win, 27-24
Traveling across the Gulf to Tampa, the Owls start AAC play with a winnable outing. USF is in the post-Jeff-Scott era and struggling to find an identity. Rice should be able to take it to the Bulls with a dose of run-first action as USF lacks talent and depth on the front seven.
That opens up the play-action pass for Daniels who has shown more than enough that he’s a capable downfield thrower off play action.
Week 5 – Rice vs. ECU: Loss, 19-21
Circle this one on your calendars, Rice fans. This one should make or break the year at this point of the AAC schedule because it doesn’t get any easier. ECU is a team that must find answers at a number of positions, none more important than quarterback.
Rice has the answer at quarterback but can Daniels and Co. figure out this talented and challenging ECU defense at home? If so, four straight wins are not out of the question.
Week 6 – Rice vs. UConn: Win, 25-21
Facing the upstart UConn Huskies program at this point in the season is a potential trap for Rice. UConn has a talented core returning on offense and their star linebacker Jackson Mitchell is one of the country’s best.
However, Rice has a more complete roster than the Huskies and Daniels should be able to exploit a few mismatches in the passing game to a victory here.
Week 8 – Rice @ Tulsa: Loss, 19-22
After a bye week, the Owls travel to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane on a Thursday night. This one should be yet another closely contested outing for Rice as they have the pieces in place but may fall just a few plays short.
The length that Tulsa presents on the backend should match up nicely with what Rice does on offense. Ultimately, that’s the biggest difference in these two rosters.
Week 9 – Rice vs. Tulane: Loss, 9-26
The defending AAC Champs are out to defend their crown and do it in a dominant fashion against the conference newcomers. That includes Rice, and the Green Wave has one of the top quarterbacks in the country to do so.
Michael Pratt should be able to outduel and do whatever his team needs him to get the road victory here. Tulane’s defense does the rest.
Week 10 – Rice vs. SMU: Loss, 19-30
There is a certain speed that the SMU roster has that most teams may not be able to contend with. They go sideline-to-sideline and will stretch the field both horizontally and vertically against all opponents.
Rice will need an all-around effort from everyone on the field to contend with their nearby rivals.
Week 11 – Rice @ UTSA: Loss, 12-31
Their three-game gauntlet ends with UTSA and a trip to San Antonio. The Roadrunners are certainly among the best teams in the Group of Five and absolutely a favorite to win the AAC this year.
The Owls have size on the outside, but with their transfer-portal additions and returning talent, UTSA has the advantage nearly everywhere over Rice.
Week 12 – Rice @ Charlotte: Win, 25-19
The Charlotte 49ers are welcoming a new era with Biff Poggi as head coach. You can bet this team will have things figured out heading into Week 12 and their matchup with Rice.
But Rice is the better team, at least on paper. Daniels is the better quarterback by a mile and should have enough weapons to find mismatches against a Charlotte defense that needs help on the backend.
MORE: AAC WR Rankings, 2023
Week 13 – Rice vs. FAU: Win, 19-15
The season ends with a home game against FAU and Tom Herman as head coach. Sure, some pieces are in place for FAU to make this a game — most notably Casey Thompson at quarterback — but the roster was left in such a bad shape under Willie Taggart and the transfer portal was not too kind to FAU.
In the battle of the Owls, Rice emerges victorious.