HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Rice University and the University of Houston will face off in football for the 44th time on Saturday. It will be the 41st time the winner will receive the Bayou Bucket trophy - presented by the Touchdown Club of Houston. However, the Bayou Bucket may be empty in the near future.
These two crosstown rivals are slated to play in 2023, the 45th meeting. But there's not a game scheduled for after 2023. UH and Rice will move to new leagues in 2023, with the Cougars jumping to the Big 12 while and the Owls joining the American Athletic Conference.
"Scheduling for both us and Rice is going to change because of the conferences," UH Head Coach Dana Holgorsen revealed. "I fully support it and think it should happen every year. I'm glad it's here for the second year in a row and glad it's happening next year. After next year, I don't know what anything looks like."
"It's great for the city," Rice Head Coach Mike Bloomgren admitted. "I heard Dana's comments, and if I were Dana I'd beat us as bad as they did last year, I'd want to keep that game going too. But it's just so hard to say. Those things are out of our control. It's really not going to come down to what we want. It's going to come down to the conferences in so many situations. So, we'll see how it goes. I think it's an awesome game for the city, and I hope everybody comes out this weekend."
According to UH football communications, Houston and Rice have the shortest distance between the two football bowl subdivision programs (4.6 miles). The two crosstown programs began competing for the Bayou Bucket trophy in 1974 after it was created by the Touchdown Club of Houston.
"Fan bases love it, and the city loves it. I think the high school coaches get behind it. It's good for recruiting," Holgorsen said.
"When I first got here, it felt like it was a bigger deal for alums than it was for the team. Now, I think we're at a place where our kids are so anxious about this game. It always should be that way when you have a close proximity game because so many of these guys played together in high school and played against each other in high school," Bloomgren said.
UH will host Rice at TDECU Stadium on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Cougars lead the all-time series 32-11.