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Can Rice Run The Conference USA Schedule?

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David Bailiff is the architect behind Rice's recent success within Conference USA. Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images.
David Bailiff is the architect behind Rice's recent success within Conference USA. Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images.

The story of Conference USA during the last 11 games has been the Rice Owls.  

David Bailiff has his team and his program going in the right direction, and he deserves the credit.  

Rice finished the 2012 season winning its last five games, including a bowl, and now the Owls sit strongly at 4-2 and 3-0 in the conference.  

This is a team with a stellar offensive line, a senior leading quarterback in Taylor McHargue, and a steady run/catch combination in Charles Ross and Jordan Taylor.  

Not to mention Rice knows how to win close games. The Owls' four victories this season have been wins of nine, four, three, and six points.  

Rice already benefited from their C-USA East Division games by playing FAU (which they won) and struggling UAB (Nov. 21). The Owls already defeated heavily favored Tulsa, 30-27, on the road. So, what's next for Bailiff's Rice Owls?   

The schedule definitely is in their favor with games against New Mexico State, UTEP, North Texas, Louisiana Tech, UAB, and Tulane remaining. The Owls are undefeated in the conference. The question is, can they run the conference table?  

Teams should not sleep on this team. And beware if the Rice Owls run through the Conference USA regular-season schedule without a loss.