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Monday, June 20, 2011
Heart of the City: Rice

By David Ubben

School: Rice
Location: Houston, Texas
Enrollment: 5,760
Bowl appearances: 9
NFL first-round picks: 2
Losing seasons: 47
10-win seasons: 2

Source: ESPN Stats & Info (Note: Numbers date back to 1936, the first year of the AP poll. NFL numbers date back to 1970.)

The good: The Houston metroplex is a rich recruiting base, but teams from the Big 12, and even larger programs like TCU and Houston, are more likely to get the talent left behind after the top schools. Rice also has an on-campus stadium that seats 47,000 and can expand to 70,000. It also hosted Super Bowl VIII. Rice's central location to other teams around Texas makes it an attractive nonconference opponent to major in-state schools like Texas, who plays the Owls nearly every year, often at Reliant Stadium, where the Texans play.

The bad: Though Houston is a good recruiting base, it's not as deep as the Dallas Fort-Worth area, which hurts the amount of talent the school can get. Also, the private university has very strict entrance requirements and a demanding curriculum, which means any athlete who enrolls had better be prepared to be very dedicated to their studies. Additionally, the former member of the Southwest Conference must compete with a better program within the state, Houston, who also competes in its conference.