Best Case, Worst Case for 2024: Rice Owls

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With spring football and the portal movement slowing down (fingers crossed) forecasting the 2024 season becomes an easier proposition. The 13 FBS programs in the Lone Star State share a common feeling heading into June: Hope. New faces and new opportunities provide a fresh slate for rosters and coaching staff. 

The 2024 season is a new day for the Great State. Texas reunites with Texas A&M in the SEC and SMU joins the P4 as ACC members. But what are the best- and worst-case scenarios for each team in the upcoming season? We’ll breakdown at each one.

Previous best/worst case scenario pieces for 2024: Texas | Texas A&M | UTSA | Texas State | TCU 


2023 record: 6-7, loss in First Respnonder's Bowl 
2024 schedule 
Aug. 31                 Sam Houston                  
Sept. 7                  Texas Southern              
Sept. 14                at Houston       
Sept. 21                at Army                
Sept. 28                Charlotte           
Oct. 12                  UTSA   
Oct. 19                  at Tulane            
Oct. 26                  at UConn           
Nov. 2                    Navy    
Nov. 8                    at Memphis     
Nov. 23                  at UAB                  
Nov. 30                  South Florida

Best case for 2024: The Owls are the most intact team in Texas and that could help them soar to new heights in Mike Bloomgren’s seventh season in charge. Rice returns seven starters on offense and eight on defense, and that doesn’t include top running back Dean Connors. Nine of the 10 on-field assistants also return. The Owls won six games in 2023 to continue their trend of adding one victory in the win column in each successive season under Bloomgren. 

Reaching seven wins and finishing the 2024 season with a winning record is the goal for Rice. The ceiling is eight or nine wins. They proved capable of beating Houston last year and won six games despite losing three times by one score. If the Owls can win those close games and replace the wide receiver production of Luke McCaffrey, watch out. The quarterback position won’t feel a drop off thanks to Temple transfer EJ Warner. 

Worst case for 2024: The margins are always thin in college football, but that’s especially true for a G5 program like Rice. Almost every game is a coin flip. Six of the team’s 13 games in 2023 were one-possession contests with Rice finishing 3-3 in those games. Replacing an NFL draft pick at wide receiver and a former five-star recruit at quarterback is no easy task. And nearly every game on the American slate could result in a loss if Rice turns the ball over or suffers a key injury or two. 

Missing out on a bowl bid would be a catastrophic setback for the Owls after playing in December the past two seasons. It has been a slow climb on South Main, but one that continues to push the Owls further up the mountaintop. A stumble back to three or four wins would undo the positive momentum by Bloomgren & Co., especially on the recruiting trail. 

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