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Just an idea: Rice as an independent
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Michael in Raleigh Offline
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Just an idea: Rice as an independent
As the thread title suggests, this is just an idea, not something I think will happen. But hey, what are message boards for?

With the ranks of independents going up to six starting next year (ND, Army, BYU, UMass, NMSU, and Liberty), it seems that survival at least as a G5 independent is more possible than it may have been a few years ago. Independents can, at least in part, schedule each other in late October through November.

With that in mind, I think that most schools' best interests are to be in a conference. For G5 schools, there's at least access to CFP revenue and the chance at the access bowl. Conferences provide a schedule and a layer of security. But Independence provides... freedom to schedule how you want, as best as you can. For Rice, who arguably has endured the worst downside in conference affiliation over the past 20+ years (70+ years in the SWC to the mega-WAC to a badly weakened WAC to C-USA 2.0 to a C-USA with no historic rivals at all), independence could have some merit.

Rice is now the only private school in a 14 team league. They know the SWC will never get back together, but they like playing old SWC foes out of conference. They also like playing other elite academic schools, like Stanford this year.

I can imagine Rice alumni being much happier with a 12 game slate featuring a mix of former SWC teams, other independents, other private schools, and other schools from Texas and surrounding states.

I don't think it would be as hard for Rice as it would be for most G5 schools to find 10 schools a year (plus one FCS and one payday game) who would be willing to do home-and-home series with Rice.

An ideal Rice independent schedule would have a few from each of these:
- 8 former SWC schools
- Independents
- Elite private schools/military academies: Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Northwestern, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Tulane, Tulsa, Navy, Air Force
- Other schools in Texas: UTEP, North Texas, UTSA, Texas State
- FCS game
- Payday game against an Ohio State or other big spender
- A few others from across the country to fill it out

Rice obviously would need to join the Missouri Valley, Horizon, WAC, or some other league for Olympic sports.

I'm curious if anyone thinks this could make sense or if I'm just wacky.

Hope all of you affected by Harvey and Irma are safe and recovering well.
09-12-2017 09:21 PM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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RE: Just an idea: Rice as an independent
Rice is probably a school that could pull independence off. The question is would all of the schools they'd want to play be willing to make space in the schedule for them? Schools only have 3-4 games to work with OOC and one is usually an FCS teams and for the G5s oftentimes there's one is not two buy games against the P5. Some schools also have some established OOC rivalries you'd need to work around:

UTEP vs NMSU
SMU vs TCU
SMU vs UNT
UTSA vs Texas St (hopefully becomes more permanent)

Heck, Rice is even struggling getting crosstown rival Houston on the schedule.

Rice is a school full of a lot of smart folks and I think they will take things cautious and stay in C-USA for the stability. They may loath the newcomers but it's 3 guaranteed games against Texas schools a year. They have one of the tiniest alumni bases in FBS so it's not like they bring a lot of television appeal that they could market on their own. As an Indy they'd probably be playing on the LHN for about $27.94 a game.

It's an intriguing idea but I don't see it coming to be.
09-12-2017 09:41 PM
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Nerdlinger Offline
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RE: Just an idea: Rice as an independent
If we get enough independents in FBS, they can all start scheduling each other regularly. A round-robin of independents, if you will. They might even play some sort of tournament game between the two best teams in the grouping each year. Maybe even start up a kind of collective television network to show the games they play. And the payouts could be distributed evenly among all the participating independent schools. True independence.
(This post was last modified: 09-12-2017 09:46 PM by Nerdlinger.)
09-12-2017 09:44 PM
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NoDak Offline
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RE: Just an idea: Rice as an independent
(09-12-2017 09:21 PM)Michael in Raleigh Wrote:  As the thread title suggests, this is just an idea, not something I think will happen. But hey, what are message boards for?

With the ranks of independents going up to six starting next year (ND, Army, BYU, UMass, NMSU, and Liberty), it seems that survival at least as a G5 independent is more possible than it may have been a few years ago. Independents can, at least in part, schedule each other in late October through November.

With that in mind, I think that most schools' best interests are to be in a conference. For G5 schools, there's at least access to CFP revenue and the chance at the access bowl. Conferences provide a schedule and a layer of security. But Independence provides... freedom to schedule how you want, as best as you can. For Rice, who arguably has endured the worst downside in conference affiliation over the past 20+ years (70+ years in the SWC to the mega-WAC to a badly weakened WAC to C-USA 2.0 to a C-USA with no historic rivals at all), independence could have some merit.

Rice is now the only private school in a 14 team league. They know the SWC will never get back together, but they like playing old SWC foes out of conference. They also like playing other elite academic schools, like Stanford this year.

I can imagine Rice alumni being much happier with a 12 game slate featuring a mix of former SWC teams, other independents, other private schools, and other schools from Texas and surrounding states.

I don't think it would be as hard for Rice as it would be for most G5 schools to find 10 schools a year (plus one FCS and one payday game) who would be willing to do home-and-home series with Rice.

An ideal Rice independent schedule would have a few from each of these:
- 8 former SWC schools
- Independents
- Elite private schools/military academies: Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Northwestern, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Tulane, Tulsa, Navy, Air Force
- Other schools in Texas: UTEP, North Texas, UTSA, Texas State
- FCS game
- Payday game against an Ohio State or other big spender
- A few others from across the country to fill it out

Rice obviously would need to join the Missouri Valley, Horizon, WAC, or some other league for Olympic sports.

I'm curious if anyone thinks this could make sense or if I'm just wacky.

Hope all of you affected by Harvey and Irma are safe and recovering well.
Interesting topic.

Rice wouldn't go to the WAC as the academics would not be sufficient. The MVC might be possible, but the MVC schools seem too travel restrictive. The Horizon has openly talked about adding schools well outside the Midwest.

Still suspect Rice is angling for an American or MWC bid as an enormous preference to fb independence.
(This post was last modified: 09-12-2017 11:35 PM by NoDak.)
09-12-2017 09:45 PM
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Blitz Offline
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RE: Just an idea: Rice as an independent
You can’t have Rice without Chicken???

Seriously though, financially and schedule-wise, IMO the only schools that can make it in the long run as Independents have fan bases that extend beyond their academic affiliations – such as religious “Institution” schools (i.e., schools that represent an entire religion or sect – ND, BYU, or Liberty), and the “Primary” military academies (A, N, AF). Since the reach of those programs is not limited to their immediate geography or their alumni base, they have local fans wherever they play. So scheduling is not an issue, because they are an attractive match.

Perhaps a massive regional school like UTex could pull it off (and they may have considered it), but knowing the long-term odds, I doubt that they would ever chance it.

Rice is certainly a super-elite academic institution, but as an Independent sports program, they’re about as compelling of an entree as a bowl of instant rice.

Interesting topic though.
09-12-2017 11:56 PM
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mturn017 Offline
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RE: Just an idea: Rice as an independent
It is getting easier for schools to be independent for football but don't think it's in Rice's best interest. They like I'm sure to be in a conference with three other TX schools not only for football but Olympic sports as well. And CUSA actually is a good baseball conference which is a big sport for them. I don't see them jumping anywhere soon.
09-13-2017 12:19 AM
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_C2_ Online
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RE: Just an idea: Rice as an independent
Rice could not become an independent. No bowl is gonna invite Rice, not even the Texas Bowl (because of their current tie-ins). Although in a major market, they have little penetration. No, just, no on Rice.
09-13-2017 12:22 AM
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BruceMcF Offline
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RE: Just an idea: Rice as an independent
(09-12-2017 09:21 PM)Michael in Raleigh Wrote:  An ideal Rice independent schedule would have a few from each of these:
- 8 former SWC schools
- Independents
- Elite private schools/military academies: Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Northwestern, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Tulane, Tulsa, Navy, Air Force
- Other schools in Texas: UTEP, North Texas, UTSA, Texas State
- FCS game
- Payday game against an Ohio State or other big spender
- A few others from across the country to fill it out

Note that most of these bullet points are fluff ... Rice already has three of the four schools listed in "other schools in Texas" in its conference schedule, can already have an FCS game, and can get paid to get beat up by a big spender now. "Independents" is not aspiration in it's own right, it's a way to reduce the loss of access to home games later in the season ... except of course for the one independent that everyone wants to play, who can be slotted into one of the other bullet points. And CUSA does just fine as far as "a few others from across the country to fill it out". Really, just two bullet points here represent the aspiration:
Quote: - 8 former SWC schools
- Elite private schools/military academies: [Notre Dame,] Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Northwestern, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Tulane, Tulsa, Navy, Air Force

Rice is not magically going to be attractive for home and away contracts with P5 schools just because it goes independent, so a lot of the schools in this wish list really slot into the one buy game spot in the schedule. Texas, TAMU, TCU, TexasTech, Arkansas, Baylor, Notre Dame, Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Northwestern, Stanford and Vanderbilt are all rivals for the same single buy game spot ... or two buy game spots if Rice decided to go that way, but being independent doesn't really expand on that.

It's just Houston, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa, Navy, and Air Force.

It's not like an independent Rice is going to have annual series with each of those schools. And if they want to play Rice on a fairly frequent basis, Rice can play one or two of them a year from inside Conference USA ... which is not too far off what they would get as an independent.

So I reckon there is less to this notion than it might appear at first blush.
09-13-2017 01:15 AM
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ESE84 Offline
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RE: Just an idea: Rice as an independent
I doubt football independence is in any master plan. As the original poster and others note, Rice needs a suitable home for our flagship baseball program, plus the women's and men's basketball programs, both showing improvement through recent investment. C-USA is not the worst place for these programs and our strong Olympic sports, as long as the conference maximizes our current 14-team configuration and minimizes the travel between the East Coast and Texas members.

With all of the scenarios that could play out when the Big 12 GOR expires, it is best to not make any major moves other than keep investing in Rice. We could find ourselves in many possible situations (travel partner to Texas in a P5 conference, back filled into a Big 12 that has lost its marquee programs, or slotted into the AAC or MWC when members are rearranged by the Big 12 moves), depending on what happens with the University of Houston.

2017 is a pivotal year for David Bailiff (one year remaining on his contract) and the football program. Following the $50M investment in the stadium, Rice made assistant coach investments on both sides of the ball. Maybe we saw that start to pay off in the dominant win at UTEP (and the early 2018 recruiting results), or maybe UTEP is just that bad and/or the Owls were on a Hurricane Harvey adrenaline rush. I don't see any reason to make a major move right now.
09-13-2017 06:17 AM
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The Cutter of Bish Offline
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RE: Just an idea: Rice as an independent
(09-13-2017 12:22 AM)_C2_ Wrote:  Rice could not become an independent. No bowl is gonna invite Rice, not even the Texas Bowl (because of their current tie-ins). Although in a major market, they have little penetration. No, just, no on Rice.

Yeah, pretty much.

I think they don't want to be independent, either. I think it's become clear they'd rather be with more western schools, having thrown themselves out there for the Big XII and MWC. Independence doesn't do anything for that, really. Yeah, you probably get BYU and NMSU as locks...they aren't the right programs to fit the needs. UMass and Liberty won't help much. Army would be great, but, drop a whole conference with other western programs just to get them almost guaranteed yearly, and maybe some time with Notre Dame (who would want to be in Texas from time to time)? Not seeing it.

And if they went independent in football, who takes the ollies? CUSA won't keep them without football.

I sort of hold out hope there's a MAC future for Rice...highly unlikely. Again, not the regional fit.
09-13-2017 08:21 AM
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