GAME # 26
Friday, November 21, 2014

UTEP Miners: 6-4
@ Rice Owls: 6-4

Rice Stadium
Houston, Texas

Trip Dates 11/21/2014 – 11/23/2014
School Rice University
Visiting Team UTEP Miners
Pre-game Record: 6-4
Home Team Rice Owls
Pre-game Record: 6-4
Game Time (ET) 7:00 PM Central
Weather 65 & Cloudy
Attendees Jarrett, Al, Brett, & Zack
Jarrett’s Pick Rice Owls (15 and 10 record)
Al’s Pick Rice Owls (12 and 13 record)
Attendance 18,164
Capacity 47,000
TV Fox Sports 1
Length of Game 3:27
Seat Location Anywhere we wanted but we sat on 35 yard line in the upper deck
Miles Traveled 1,515
Photo Album Click here for the Rice Photo Album

The first double header since the 2011 Louisville / Western Kentucky run, began with the usual 3 am wake up call to make the 6 am flight to Houston. This trip was Southwest from LaGuardia. What the hell was I thinking? This flight had to have been $100 cheaper then the next option because otherwise I was insane when I booked this flight. First, Southwest should only be flown out of Islip. Second, the central terminal of LaGuardia is like what a third world country looks like when it moves up to third world from fourth world. If you have never flown from this terminal I have two things to say to you; 1) don’t 2) you can not envision how bad it is, picture the worst airport you have ever seen and multiply it by a googolplex.

After the lead balloon that is an Au Bon Pain cheese danish hit my stomach, it was time to line up for Southwest boarding. I actually do not hate this boarding procedure and it is faster than the back to front boarding of traditional airlines. But really girl who had A57 and boarded with us at A30. Do you really need to cheat 27 spots? Anything in A gets a window or aisle, your choice. Plus, the flight was really empty and you will get your own row in the back if you want it. Are you that much of a creep (not my first choice, but the editor didn’t like my first suggestion)?

One final travel note, crying babies and 6 am flights are not a good combination.

College Football Quest welcomes two guesters (guest Questers) on this trip; Brett aka The Target who makes his fourth Quest trip and Al’s nephew Zack, who makes his initial Quest trip. Zack was supposed to go on the LSU trip, but that did not work out so he gets Houston instead. Quantity does not trump quality, especially as it relates to Quest games. Clearly Zack has his priorities in place…Brett, take note.

Houston (not House-ton)
The Quest arrived in Houston to heavy rain, in fact a driving rainstorm. While not unexpected, as we have gotten quite good at ensuring we are weather prepared (thank you Oregon), it does suck.

While this is the Rice trip report, we did have to stop by the University of Houston to get passes and tickets for tomorrow as well as basketball tickets for tomorrows game. After doing that, it was off to the hotel for early check in. On this double header we did not have to change hotels, so it was off to get settled and meet up with the Target who had flown in the night before.

The Target, for those who are not aware, is my wife’s second cousin thrice removed in-law, which only means in practice that we are close to The Target and his family. What that means is that, I got to see Heidi (haha Beth), you should have come with me. Sorry, inside joke.

As we were now all really hungry, lunch was Pappasito’s Cantina (Beth loves this place), thanks to the recommendation of the Wyndham front desk clerk. Tex-Mex and BBQ were definitely a high priority on this trip. We experienced large portions, good solid food, and chips and salsa that were very good. A good solid choice.

Rice University
After lunch we headed for Rice University and a self guided campus tour (Target is quite spoiled) and bookstore donation, in the rain. But before I get to that, it should be noted that Zack was wearing a Rice tee shirt. How does Zack have a Rice shirt? He claims it was his brother’s but does that matter. How does either Sarf come to own a Rice shirt? And Al, who usually buys shirts ahead of time so he can wear them when travelling, did not. Score one for Zack. Al wants it known that he designed an awesome CFQ shirt in August, that is now well out of date, that was purchased, yet never created by the company he ordered it from. Avoid Skyline Shirts at all costs as he has heard this tee shirt was being shipped since September 2nd, 2014.

After parking in an underground garage, which is always a good thing in the pouring rain, the first stop was the bookstore. It was small and had virtually no selection, so ordering ahead of time would have been wise, but gear for the game was obtained, albeit with some difficulty. Once again only Al purchased a poncho.

Then it was time for the wet self guided tour of Rice University. It can not be overstated, just how gorgeous this campus is. In my humble unscientific opinion, to date, this is the second most impressive campus behind only West Point. That is some high praise indeed and in the rain. My opinion would probably be even higher if it were not for the driving rainstorm we were walking around in. Did I mention it was raining?

During our self guided tour, we found ourselves in the basketball gym. There was one guy practicing and a rack of basketballs. That proved far too tempting for our dear friend Zack who picked up a ball from the rack and ran to half court. Now, I felt certain that we were headed for a large bill for the glass entry way that Zack was now about to break. Al, the official Quest videographer, was set to record the epic fail (please check with the Target on the correct usage of the trendy word EPIC, as us older people never heard of Websters) that was to be this shot. In the category of “you can’t make this stuff up” he hit the shot….yes, swoosh, from half court. Al never hit play. Shades of the 233rd episode of fun with flags that Amy Farrah Fowler forgot to hit record on. Despite Al wanting to recreate the shot with photoshop and stop motion, the trip ends with Zack 1 for 1.

Other Rice University notes:

  • The water finally penetrated the sock layer and hit skin
  • We could not get into the stadium, yes we know there is a game in a few hours but c’mon let us in for a tour
  • We could not get to the top of any campus towers despite them not being very high
  • Rice is a “smart” school and Zack had a quote directly on this point that can not be published simply due to human decency

After our self guided tour and thorough soaking, it was back to the hotel for game prep.

Rental Car
A side note about our car rental. I advise against renting with Dollar in Houston. My first choice, a Mazda 6, had 70,000 miles on it and smelled downright awful. We ended up with a Chevrolet Impala with 42,000 miles on it. It did not quite smell as bad as the Mazda 6 but I would not say it was pleasant. The car just felt old. Not what you want from a rental car. We have had good experiences with Dollar, but not this time.

Pre Game
After a little r&r, we headed over to Rice Stadium for some pre game festivities. We had a bit of a ticket snafu as the tickets we had at will call could not be located. We were bounced back and forth among different gates and will call areas with no luck. After Al produced the email with our ticket confirmation, we were finally just give some random tickets. This would prove to not be a concern as seating is pretty much sit where you want, but I will get to that.

We toured the de minimis tailgate scene and finally landed at an open tailgate, donations appreciated. We obliged and helped ourselves to some beer and food, which were quite good given the “open” policy. We met up with Zachary Martin who was our first pr guy and he did our early press releases. It was good to finally meet him, but Al has known him for awhile. But what is important to note about this meeting, is that he informed us that the Houston game tomorrow, originally scheduled for 2pm, was moved to 11am to beat the thunderstorms. If not for this bit of information, we may have had to return to Houston at a later date since we would have most likely missed the game. So, thanks Zack.

We were entertained by the smart school cheerleaders (speak for yourself), before heading into Rice Stadium. The first thing to note is that Rice is the second smallest Division 1 school behind Tulsa at 4,000 undergraduates and 6,600 total students. But the stadium is more befitting a school four times that size as Rice Stadium capacity is 47,000. Hence the feeling that there was no one at this game. I think we heard echoes walking in. But they do sell beer at the games, so there is that.

The Game
You did not really think I was going to do a full game report here did you? Rice won 31-13. They say there were 18,164 people there to see it. We say more like 2,000. And by the way, did we just miss the National Anthem or did you guys forget to do it? For the record, Al was very offended by this and has recently sent a note to the Rice athletic department regarding this and the ticket issue discussed above.

Pigskin Pursuit
During the game we met up with Jamin from Pigskin Pursuit who was also in town for the Rice / Houston doubleheader. Jamin reached out to us over the off season as he is a fellow college football traveling junkie who came across our website. It is always great to connect with other devotees who are doing the same crazy stuff we are, so it was great to talk with him. Plus he also shares our love of great BBQ. The one big thing we have in common is that we are both awaiting the Washington State / Idaho doubleheader. Pullman and Moscow are separated by just a few miles and are both very remote, at least for us New Yorkers. So c’mon Pac 12 and Sun Belt, will one of you schedule one of these teams to be home on a Thursday or Friday night. Jamin and us are both waiting for it and I know our paths will cross again whenever that occurs. You can check Jamin out at pigskinpursuit on the web, twitter, and instagram.

Post Game
Post game consisted of Pizza Hut eaten in the lobby of the hotel from the Pizza Hut in the hotel parking lot that was take out only. Mmmm good!

This report continues in the Houston trip report.

The UTEP Miners finished 2014 with a 7-6 record, 5-3 in CUSA West, ending the season with a 21-6 loss to Utah State in the New Mexico Bowl.

The Rice Owls finished the season 8-5 (after starting 0-3), with the same 5-3 record in the CUSA West. The Owls got one of the better bowl trips beating Fresno State 30-6 in the Hawai’i Bowl.

Photo Gallery
For our Rice photo album, Please click here. You can view as a collage or run as a slideshow. There are comments to explain what is in the photo but most are self explanatory. Thanks to Google, I can no longer embed the slide show with comments.