Troy (7-5)
v. Rice (7-5)

Date/Time: Dec. 22, 8 p.m. ET
Site: The Superdome, New Orleans
Network: ESPN

Weather: Doesn’t matter because the game is being played in a Dome. But if you really care about New Orleans’ weather it’s going to be partly cloudy with a low of 48.

Past Results (5):

Dec. 20, 2005 Southern Miss 31, Arkansas State 19
Dec. 14, 2004 Southern Miss 31, North Texas 10
Dec. 16, 2003 Memphis 27, North Texas 17
Dec. 17, 2002 North Texas 24, Cincinnati 19
Dec. 18, 2001 Colorado State 45, North Texas 28

Player(s) to Watch: Rice‘s Soph Wide Receiver #81- Jarett Dillard
He’s perhaps the best player you haven’t heard of. He’s totalled 1,176 yards (6th in D-1) on the season and has had 5 100+ yard games. Jarett leads the nation with 20 TD receptions.

Troy’s Quarterback #17- Omar Haugabook
Besides having a sweet last name…….Omar is one of those typical Sun Belt Quart……okay I’ll stop faking. I’ve never heard of this kid. But he does have a good number of rushing yards to go with 2,184 passing yards. He is prone to throwing a good number of picks though.

Deciding Factor(s): Troy’s pass defense v. Jarett Dillard
Troy’s pass defense has been pretty bad all season. I mean they lost to Nebraska 56-0. I can’t tell you the last time Nebraska put up 50+, but it had to be when Tommie Frazier was there. Rice has one of the Nation’s best receivers in Dillard, so it doesn’t look good for the Trojans. Buuuuut….Rice’s defense hasn’t been any better. They give up 32.58 points per game, but have won ball games with takeaways (1st in C-USA). Hougabook has as many INTs as TDs this year, so look for Rice to have the ball most of the time.

Crazy Stat: New Rice coach Todd Graham brought in former Texas QB Major Applewhite to run a more balanced spread offense. In one season the Owls went from 103 passing yards per game to 206.5 yards.

Spread: RICE -4, O/U 54.5

AA’s Pick and Analysis: I think this is one of the easiest games to call. Rice has won it’s last 6 games and has put up a good number of points in the process (besides an 18 point outing against ECU). Troy is not a very dynamic team, so I expect there to be a lot of turnovers, and yet another blowout this early Bowl Season (just under the posted total of 54.5).

Prediction: Rice 36-17.

Good luck to all. Thanks for playing the game and stop by later for analysis of the game and the announcing.

So Troy has come out like gang-busters, but Rice just scored on a nice catch to cut the lead to 14-7.

Exciting stuff I know.

Wait! Shane Falco got the TD??? I thought he played for Ohio State and hasn’t played since that fateful Sugar Bowl!

Hougabook looks all-world early with three touchdowns. Rice keeps trying to run the ball with little success. 21-7 Troy.

Forgot to tell you the announcers again…silly me. They are Chris “I envision my wife and kids rape and death to play better and aggressive football” Spielman and Sean McDonough….good team actually.

It’s 28-10 Troy at half…’s Friday, so I’m heading out into the world. Most likely to go see Night at the Museum by myself, but hey….it’s something right. Enjoy your night, and we’ll see you tomorrow for a full days worth of games. GO OWLS!