Saturday: The Marching Owl Band At Rice Stadium

Saturday: The Marching Owl Band At Rice Stadium
Photos by Marco Torres

For more photos from Saturday's game, see our slideshow here.

Saturday was a difficult day for Aftermath on a number of levels. Not only did we have to watch our soon-to-be alma mater get its tail kicked by our crosstown rival, we were also forced to sit through what we expected to Rice's Marching Owl Band's halftime protest against the sale of KTRU, which turned into a slap in the face for UH students.

Because, you know, it was UH that tore KTRU from Rice's cold, dead fingers as the Owls fought tirelessly to ward off the Cougars' advances.

There are Rice graduates who have never listened to KTRU and don't know anyone at Rice who listens to KTRU. Do their opinions matter, or are we forced to only write about and air the opinions of the minority over and over and over? Apparently, if you've kept up with the news, it's the latter.

Saturday: The Marching Owl Band At Rice Stadium

Isn't anyone going to say what most of Houston is thinking: Who cares?

The idea behind KTRU was all well and good, but it wasn't working, and Rice wasn't happy with it anymore, so the station was sold. Although Rice had been looking for a buyer for KTRU for some time before KUHF entered the picture, it wasn't until the UH regents voted to purchase the station's frequency, signal tower and FCC license that people began to jump on the bandwagon and show support.

KTRU's Web site will continue to run its current programming, so what's all the fuss about UH putting the 50,000 watts to good use? Haven't college students learned that moaning and griping doesn't always get you what you want? The KTRU faithful should have put a plan into effect to save the station long ago, stuck to it and made a deal with the university - which did own it, after all.

Saturday: The Marching Owl Band At Rice Stadium

Up until a few weeks ago, after the sale was announced, some Rice students still insisted that the students, not Rice, owned KTRU. And although KTRU DJs have talked about receiving phone calls from oil workers on drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico with music requests, there has never been any plan for how to capitalize on such a powerful signal to benefit Rice and its students.

But none of that mattered to the Marching Owl Band, which began its performance on Saturday with a voiceover that echoed through Rice Stadium. Parodying products like Old Spice and Enzyte, the MOB heckled UH students to look at their school, then at Rice, then back at their school, then back at Rice.


Saturday: The Marching Owl Band At Rice Stadium

"Sadly, you aren't Rice," the voiceover said as a number of people on Rice's side of the stadium laughed and oooh-ed amongst themselves. And "Alumzyte," a play off the male-enhancement drug Enzyte, promised to increase Rice's endowment. While it was all relatively funny, though in poor taste, it seemed both ill-fated and poorly received.

Halfway through Alice Cooper's "School's Out," the band abruptly stopped playing and fell to the ground as the voiceover informed the crowd that the Houston Cougars had purchased the MOB for $9 million. At this point, a few of the band's members held up a fake check signed by the Cougars in scraggly, poorly-scrawled cursive.

A few dozen people chuckled, the MOB jeered at the UH fans, who jeered right back, chanting either "We bought KTRU" or "We don't want you." By the beginning of the third quarter, no one was talking about it anymore.

Saturday: The Marching Owl Band At Rice Stadium

We have absolutely no problem criticizing UH. The school has its fair share of problems, but why the KTRU faithful such as the MOB feel that carping on a school that made a smart business move - purchasing the station for $9 million when it was valued at $12 million - is beyond us.

It has always been about the lack of bragging. Even before the sale of KTRU was announced, there was no bragging from the Rice student body, just silence.

We expected Rice students at KTRU to tell us about their spectacularly beautiful campus behind the hedges, their Nobel-winning professors, their classrooms that are the envy of the world and all those countries that Rice students visit that most of us can only dream of seeing.

But they didn't.

We imagined that, over the decades, KTRU would introduce Houston to the best alternative music, which would become a new standard, bringing fame and recognition to KTRU and Rice University.

But they didn't.

Saturday: The Marching Owl Band At Rice Stadium

Now some Rice students and alumni are disappointed, frustrated with the process the administration used to sell the station, and angry that their voices have not been heard.

We at UH hear your voices, feel your pain, and we won't forget.

We'll never forget that our UH's radio station must be fully engaged with our many constituencies while we tell our story, invite new students to join us on campus and brag a little about our accomplishments to our alumni and friends.

That you can count on.

Personal Bias: We liked KTRU, but we're sick of hearing about it.

The Crowd: Varied, which is typical of a football game. Lots of young children, from six to 14 years old maybe, plenty of parents and a handful of over-the-hill alumni.. Very few 18- 25-year-old, though - in fact, we only saw one person wearing a KTRU shirt inside the stadium.

Overheard in the Crowd: Lots of cheering while the Owls pummeled U of H; little to no response to the MOB's demonstration.

Random Notebook Dump: As the Owls whipped our tails, we telepathically begged our coach to bench David Piland and put Terrance Broadway in. But then we remembered that Broadway has been talking smack on his Facebook page, and Coach Sumlin strikes us as the kind of guy who would rather lose a game than let some snotty-nosed, smack-talking freshman get his way. And that's just what happened.

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