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A friend who coaches receivers at Austin College in Sherman sent me a graphic showing the biggest blowout football loss in history for each Texas FBS team. Rice was on the list twice.

Owls’ biggest blowout loss - 81-0 vs Austin College in 1912.

SMU’s biggest blowout loss - 146-3 vs Rice in 1916.

My response - the Owls sure made a lot of progress between 1912 and 1916!

Of course my Aggie son had to jump in giving the Owls a hard time. I shut him up by pointing out that at least Rice’s biggest blowout was last century over a hundred years ago.

Aggies’ biggest blowout loss - 71-0 vs OU in 2003. Of course, the Aggies have made more progress than the Owls in this century.

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1916 might have been a bit of a plateau
I understand that in 1916, SMU scored first, so it counts as a comeback win.

Also, in 1912, all our players would have been freshmen.
I guess I am temporarily hijacking this thread. When I read the title I was immediately intrigued, because I thought it was going to be a discussion of each school's most painful losses.

I can think of two for Rice - during my Rice Owl lifetime (which began in 1978). The worst was the 1993 basketball loss against Texas A&M, in the regular season finale at home. A win would have given us the Regular Season SWC title, and pretty much guaranteed us a spot in that year's NCAA Tournament. It took me months to get over that loss - which was in front of a packed house at Autry Court on Senior Night.

Number 2 (for me) was the 1994 football loss to Baylor, at home. We win that game and we go to the Cotton Bowl versus USC. The following Monday I attended QB Club. It was two days later, but I felt that everybody in the room was still just as devastated as I was. That night we really needed a good pep talk, and Coach Hatfield provided one.
Yeah I should have said “biggest blowout loss” in the thread title. “Worst” is open for interpretation.
(06-11-2021 08:39 PM)Minnewaska Owl Wrote: [ -> ]I guess I am temporarily hijacking this thread. When I read the title I was immediately intrigued, because I thought it was going to be a discussion of each school's most painful losses.

I can think of two for Rice - during my Rice Owl lifetime (which began in 1978). The worst was the 1993 basketball loss against Texas A&M, in the regular season finale at home. A win would have given us the Regular Season SWC title, and pretty much guaranteed us a spot in that year's NCAA Tournament. It took me months to get over that loss - which was in front of a packed house at Autry Court on Senior Night.

Number 2 (for me) was the 1994 football loss to Baylor, at home. We win that game and we go to the Cotton Bowl versus USC. The following Monday I attended QB Club. It was two days later, but I felt that everybody in the room was still just as devastated as I was. That night we really needed a good pep talk, and Coach Hatfield provided one.

Those two plus that horrible loss vs TSU on Friday night in the 2004 regionals. We win that game, I think with the starting pitching and the schedules in the supers and in Omaha, it would have been champs 2 years in a row.

All three probably the most devastating in my lifetime. The first two, you could just see the top of the hill and the rock just slid down, crushing us.
(06-11-2021 09:32 PM)texowl2 Wrote: [ -> ]Those two plus that horrible loss vs TSU on Friday night in the 2004 regionals. We win that game, I think with the starting pitching and the schedules in the supers and in Omaha, it would have been champs 2 years in a row.

But that game didn't eliminate us. We came back through the losers' bracket, won three elimination games, and had the lead in the championship game but couldn't close it out.

ETA: That is one time I disagreed with Graham's approach. Particularly at tournament time, you have be able to close out wins. Aardsma's rising to the occasion was huge for us in 2003. I think your closer needs to be one of the top 3 pitchers on your staff--Friday (game 1) starter, Saturday (game 2) starter, and closer, in whatever order. I would have made Townsend the closer for the 2004 post season, and transitioned there during the regular season. We had Baker for a Sunday (game 3) starter, so were were pretty good shape there, with Ueckert and/or Degerman for midweek starts.

I agree that with Kolkhorst and Pendleton hurt, the rest of the way in 2004 would have been difficult at best. But as long as you get to tee it up, anything can happen.
(06-11-2021 09:41 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-11-2021 09:32 PM)texowl2 Wrote: [ -> ]Those two plus that horrible loss vs TSU on Friday night in the 2004 regionals. We win that game, I think with the starting pitching and the schedules in the supers and in Omaha, it would have been champs 2 years in a row.

But that game didn't eliminate us. We came back through the losers' bracket, won three elimination games, and had the lead in the championship game but couldn't close it out.

Had we pulled out the regional I very much doubt we would have been national champs in '04. With Pendleton and Gritman injured, I doubt we had enough offense to carry us through, even with the Big 4 on the mound.
(06-11-2021 08:39 PM)Minnewaska Owl Wrote: [ -> ]I can think of two for Rice - during my Rice Owl lifetime (which began in 1978). The worst was the 1993 basketball loss against Texas A&M, in the regular season finale at home. A win would have given us the Regular Season SWC title, and pretty much guaranteed us a spot in that year's NCAA Tournament. It took me months to get over that loss - which was in front of a packed house at Autry Court on Senior Night.

The first round conference tournament defeat to Texas that season also ranks pretty high in the crushing loss list.
I haven’t been a Rice fan for as long as most of you but here are the three most frustrating losses I can think of:

1) 2016 Regional Final @ LSU-Had lead into 7th inning but couldn’t pull it out to advance to Super Regional.
2) 2016 MBB vs. Texas Tech. Blown lead in final minute.
3) 2019 FB vs. Baylor. We had so many chances to tie/win this game but our offense was inept.
(06-12-2021 07:15 AM)ExcitedOwl18 Wrote: [ -> ]I haven’t been a Rice fan for as long as most of you but here are the three most frustrating losses I can think of:

1) 2016 Regional Final @ LSU-Had lead into 7th inning but couldn’t pull it out to advance to Super Regional.
2) 2016 MBB vs. Texas Tech. Blown lead in final minute.
3) 2019 FB vs. Baylor. We had so many chances to tie/win this game but our offense was inept.

Per above...
1) Simply ran out of pitching due to multiple rain delays, whereas LSU had one of their two co-aces available and fresh to save the day.

2) Missed free throws from our Freshman was our undoing.
(06-11-2021 09:55 PM)waltgreenberg Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-11-2021 09:41 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-11-2021 09:32 PM)texowl2 Wrote: [ -> ]Those two plus that horrible loss vs TSU on Friday night in the 2004 regionals. We win that game, I think with the starting pitching and the schedules in the supers and in Omaha, it would have been champs 2 years in a row.

But that game didn't eliminate us. We came back through the losers' bracket, won three elimination games, and had the lead in the championship game but couldn't close it out.

Had we pulled out the regional I very much doubt we would have been national champs in '04. With Pendleton and Gritman injured, I doubt we had enough offense to carry us through, even with the Big 4 on the mound.

Yes, it was a battleback but we just ran out of steam...
As far as (relatively) recent losses go, the losses in Omaha in ‘06 and ‘07 when we were up 2-0 in the winner’s bracket and just needed to win one game out of two each time to go the finals were particularly rough. LSU meltdown in ‘08 was too but we were already in the loser’s bracket.

Several of the football losses to Texas in the nineties stand out as well. Should have won a couple more of those games.
(06-12-2021 07:47 AM)RiceFootball2K5 Wrote: [ -> ]As far as (relatively) recent losses go, the losses in Omaha in ‘06 and ‘07 when we were up 2-0 in the winner’s bracket and just needed to win one game out of two each time to go the finals were particularly rough. LSU meltdown in ‘08 was too but we were already in the loser’s bracket.

Several of the football losses to Texas in the nineties stand out as well. Should have won a couple more of those games.

I talked to Matt Musil (who was our radio guy then) one time re the 99 game at Austin and he agreed the refs stole/blew the game. Same in 97 with the bogus roughing the punter (though we probably should not have tried to block it).

My dad used to say that when we played them (and he was not much of a sports fan), they had 12 players in FB and 6 in bskb.
I wasn't at the SWC basketball tournament where the late Lynn Shortnacy supposedly gave UT the win over us with a late bogus call, but Bill Cousins used to tell me that was the all-time worst call.
Since this has morphed into a “most gut wrenching loss” thread, I must say that my Rice association has been filled with them. Hard to pick out just one - or just ten - or even a top one hundred. I think of all the times during the 1961-2006 bowl drought we were one play, one call away - and it was snatched from us.

Rice, I think, has been one of the unluckiest, if not THE unluckiest schools, in the nation over the last six decades. JMHO. Who has been unluckier?

And in the catch all word luck, I include bad calls by umps and refs, intentional or not, bad weather, and every other little thing that contributes to bad losses, like players/competitors getting sick.

Luck does not even out over the long run. Bad calls do not even out over the long run. We could win every game and every match next year on a bad call in the last minute and we would not be within hailing distance of breaking even in the luck department.

I don’t mind talking about an 81-0 loss in 1912. I sure as hell don’t like the self-flagellation of reviewing all the heartbreaking losses of the past 60+ years. Might as well sit around discussing our divorces.
For completeness, I'll list all the biggest blowout losses for the Texas FBS football teams.

SMU lost to Rice 146-3 in 1916.
Baylor lost to LSU 89-0 in 1908.
Rice lost to Austin College 81-0 in 1912.
UTEP lost to NMMI (New Mexico Military Institute) 79-0 in 1916.
A&M lost to OU 77-0 in 2003.
TXST lost to Baylor 75-0 in 1918.
UNT lost to Nevada 72-0 in 1991.
TCU lost to UT 68-0 in 1915.
UT lost to Chicago 68-0 in 1904.
TT lost to OKST 66-6 in 2011.
UH lost to UCLA 66-10 in 1997.
UTSA lost to OKST 69-14in 2015.

Observations...

7 of the 12 biggest blowouts occurred before 1920. The other 5 occurred after 1990. I guess football was more competitively balanced from 1920 - 1990?

8 of the 12 losses were shutouts and in 2 others, the losers scored 6 points or less. I guess when you are really bad defensively, your offense isn't much better?

Finally, the biggest blowout loss for any of the 12 FBS teams in Texas came at the hands of the mighty Rice Owls.
Since the thread has become a mix of biggest loss and most painful loss...I know Viejobuho regrets a doubles loss to UCLA in the tennis NCAA semis (1970 IIRC), against a team they had beaten earlier in the year. Could've been Rice's first national title. Rice finished second in the nation in both 68 and 70 in men's tennis. My very first collegiate match, where I lost a contact lens on a cold day in Beaumont and lost to an inferior player still bothers me.

I also recall a pretty recent, infuriating men's basketball loss to Texas Tech, a football loss at home to UTEP in my senior year that prevented a winning season (big UTEP comeback, 1999), the LSU loss in the first CWS appearance with Berkman and with Matt Anderson trying to close it out. The football loss to Texas in 97 is maybe #1 for me as a fan, have not seen Rice Stadium that electric since and probably never will (roughing the punter and fumbled punt cost us). With Hatfield we suffered crushing blowouts to BYU, Utah, Fresno St in huge games that would've probably made us conference champions had we won (all on the road, late 90's). Some disappointing losses to Oregon St, UNC, and LSU in SR or CWS, but overall I'm surprised I can't think of more collapse type losses that hurt. Must be blocking some out.
(06-12-2021 11:50 AM)Buho00 Wrote: [ -> ]My very first collegiate match, where I lost a contact lens on a cold day in Beaumont and lost to an inferior player still bothers me.

another example of why Rice is the unluckiest team ever.


Quote: I'm surprised I can't think of more collapse type losses that hurt. Must be blocking some out.

I remember a season ending game at the Cotton Bowl vs. SMU, where if we win we get a bowl game. We led at the half, lost badly.
(06-12-2021 06:52 AM)DFW Owl Wrote: [ -> ]
(06-11-2021 08:39 PM)Minnewaska Owl Wrote: [ -> ]I can think of two for Rice - during my Rice Owl lifetime (which began in 1978). The worst was the 1993 basketball loss against Texas A&M, in the regular season finale at home. A win would have given us the Regular Season SWC title, and pretty much guaranteed us a spot in that year's NCAA Tournament. It took me months to get over that loss - which was in front of a packed house at Autry Court on Senior Night.
The first round conference tournament defeat to Texas that season also ranks pretty high in the crushing loss list.

I was doing media work for that tournament, after doing stats for Rice home games as usual in those days. When the team came out for warmups, they had the same looks in their eyes as they had for the aTm game a few days before. I was chatting with Phil Wood before the game and noted that I didn't like the look. He responded with, "That's not good." Unfortunately, we turned out to be right.

To make it worse, SMU (#1 seed) was knocked out in the first round by TCU, so the tournament was wide open for the taking. We would have been clear favorites all the way through if we hadn't choked.

That tournament was also noteworthy because Dave South, aTm radio announcer, got ejected by an official after making a "choke" gesture to him.
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