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Old 12-10-08, 12:19 AM
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Rice to face Western Michigan in Texas Bowl

Since we are testing out the new forums and have been encouraged to post, I figured I'd tout my University's second bowl appearance in the last three years.

Chase Clement and Jarett Dillard (of Alamo Heights and Sam Houston HS respectively) hold the NCAA Division I-A record for career touchdowns between a quarterback-receiver tandem and lead the Owls against Western Michigan come December 30th at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

Rice discovers bowl foe
Owls to meet Western Michigan
at Reliant Stadium
By MOISEKAPENDA BOWER Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Dec. 8, 2008, 1:23AM

Texas Bowl officials braced for rampant speculation once the Big 12 failed to fulfill its contractual obligation to the Dec. 30 game at Reliant Stadium, resulting in a steady swirl of rumors.

From Notre Dame to North Carolina State to Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas Bowl officials considered numerous programs before extending an invitation for Western Michigan (9-3), of the Mid-American Conference, to oppose Rice, which accepted its invitation on Wednesday.

Aloha to the Irish

The Owls (9-3) were high on the bowl officials’ wish list all along, but the process of sorting through the seemingly numerous at-large options took everyone associated with the event on one wild ride.

“Once we determined that we were going to the Texas Bowl, the sense of urgency was who are we going to play,” Rice athletic director Chris Del Conte said. “To finally get that over and to be playing Western Michigan with a 9-3 record, it’s a great opponent. It’s a good feeling to find out who we’re going to play.”

Texas Bowl officials publicly expressed interest in Notre Dame (6-6) even before tabbing the Owls to fill the Conference USA slot.

But when Arizona defeated Arizona State on Saturday night, it opened the door for the Fighting Irish (6-6) to accept an invitation to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl opposite Hawaii. North Carolina State (6-6), the last bowl-eligible team from the Atlantic Coast Conference, expressed an interest to remain closer to home and accepted an invitation to the Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., opposite Rutgers.

Chance at 10 wins

Those developments left bowl officials to weigh Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6) against Western Michigan, which finished second in the West Division of the MAC but likely will not supply as many fans as the Ragin’ Cajuns could. Ultimately, officials settled on the Broncos in a contest that will pit two teams with at least nine victories. Only four other non-BCS bowls came make such a claim.

“We have an opportunity to win a 10th game, and that is huge for this program,” Del Conte said. “At the same time, we’re going against a quality opponent that has the same situation. In that sense, I’m pretty fired up.”

Rice to face Western Michigan in Texas Bowl | Sports | - Houston Chronicle
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