In September 1962, President John F. Kennedy spoke at Rice Stadium and asked, "Why does Rice play Texas?" Not the main thrust of his speech (the president was famously setting forth his goal of getting to the moon by 1970), the question turns an eye to history. The University of Texas has won 63 of 85 meetings with Rice University, with one tie. UT is perennially ranked, while Rice hasn't played a bowl game in decades. Texas is talking Big 12 championship, and Rice has already lost the Bayou Bucket. The question remains: "Why does Rice play Texas?" Why? Because coaches Mack Brown of UT and Ken Hatfield of Rice are among the best in college football. Because the Marching Owl Band's free-wheeling halftime show sits in blinding contrast to the self-serious Marching Longhorn Band. Because it's at Reliant Stadium. Because it's a Lone Star State (and old Southwest Conference) tradition. Because they haven't played since 1999. Because every once in a while, Rice pulls a shocker, like in 1994 when the Owls beat the then 12th-ranked Horns for the first time in 27 years. And as JFK said, Rice plays Texas for the same reason we all attempt the impossible: not because it is easy, but because it is hard. 7 p.m. Saturday, September 20. Reliant Stadium, 1 Reliant Park. For information, call 832-667-1400. For tickets, call 713-629-3700. $32 to $72. -- Eric Norvell
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Surfer James Fulbright scoffs at kiddie wave pools in mammoth water parks. He's got big plans for a new surf park in Galveston capable of creating solid, highly surfable waves in the six- to eight-foot range, 24 hours a day. Fulbright and his Surf City Texas cohorts will unveil site plans for the world's first exclusive, upscale surf club at Surf Stomp 2003, a full evening of live entertainment down in Galveston. Endless Summer alum Michael Hynson will be on hand to talk shop, as well as pro surfers Layne Harrison and Belen Kimball-Connelly. Musical acts include Fallenline, Paris Green, Shark Attack, Deep Ella, Bert Wills and Chango Jackson. 7 p.m. Friday, September 19. Whiskey Blues, 502 25th Street. For information, call 409-763-1559 or visit www.surfcitytexas.com. $5. -- Keith Plocek