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Houston Cougars and Rice Football Handle Realignment Better Than Texas A.D.

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 27:  Chris Thompson #70 of the Houston Cougars along with his teammates hold up the Bayou Bucket after they defeated the Rice Owls 73-34 at Robertson Stadium on October 27, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Travis NormandContributor IIIMay 11, 2012

When University of Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds ended the third most-played rivalry in FBS history, many wondered if it was the “beginning of the end” of college football’s century-old traditions and rivalry games.

In August of 2011, Rice and UH agreed to play their annual rivalry game at Reliant Stadium starting in 2012.  

However, in late 2011, the future of the game was called into question as the University of Houston decided to leave Conference USA for the Big East Conference.  Conference realignment was threatening another intrastate rivalry.

Fortunately, Rice and UH worked out an arrangement that will allow for their annual rivalry game to continue despite the schools being in separate conferences.  The key to saving the rivalry was Rice’s ability to create an opening in its 2013 schedule by moving their already scheduled game with La. Tech.

Rice’s athletic director Rick Greenspan was quoted as saying, “It’s obvious how much this game means to the players on both teams and we need to continue to make sure that future generations of Owls and Cougars will have the same opportunity to win the [Bayou] Bucket.”

So, for now, regardless of their conference affiliation, UH and Rice will continue to play.

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