Rice Seeks to De-Hawk the Jayhawks

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Yes, Kansas has a football team, and they're visiting Rice tomorrow
The Rice Owls played valiantly in losing to the Texas Aggies. But losing valiantly just doesn't cut it. Not anymore. The coaches want to win games. The players want to win games. What few fans there are want games won. And the brand new, just named Athletic Director wants the football team to play at the same level of the Rice baseball team. So into this environment arrives this week's opponent, the 1-0 Kansas Jayhawks of the Big 12.

Kansas isn't a very good football team. The Jayhawks lost to Rice last year, and pulled out just one win for the entire season. Second-year head coach Charlie Weis structured his recruiting pitch on just how crappy his team is and how likely it was the new recruits would see major playing time from the get-go.

With all of that established, here's a few things to be considered and pondered before the Owls and Jayhawks kickoff tomorrow at Rice Stadium at 6:30 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.

MEET THE NEW BOSS

Rice's new athletic director is Joe Karlgaard who was hired away from Stanford where he was the senior associate athletic director for development. He was previously the AD at Oberlin and coaches track and cross country at Minnesota. He's well aware of the challenges of guiding an academic school through the minefield of NCAA athletics, and he believes there's no reason that Rice should not be able to compete on a national level in all programs. Stanford does it, and if the Rice baseball team can do it, so can the rest of the school's teams.

"If you look at the elite, private institutions in our country that are playing FBS football - the Northwesterns, the Vanderbilts, the Dukes, the Standfords - there are examples of excellence there that prove that it's not mutually exclusive," Karlgaard said on Monday. "That you can have great academics, and you can hold true to your academic values, and you can pursue elite athletics. That's our job. And I do think there is a place for Rice in that community. And I'm excited to make that happen."

Rice is not Stanford. It's not in a PAC 12-like conference. And as Karlgaard said, Rice isn't a broken program. But maybe expecting Rice to compete on a national level in all sports like Stanford might be asking a bit much. However, for the moment, the Rice football team is situated in a conference where Rice is primed to win games and go to bowl games.

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