Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

Hoot ‘em or hook ‘em? Houston covers the spread in fun and culture


By Gale Gai     9/12/23 11:00pm

Even though Rice football fell to the University of Texas, Austin on Saturday, Sept. 2, let’s not forget who’s boss in the Lone Star State. When it comes to the space race, size, sports, expenses and school, Houston has Austin beat. 

Space race

On Sept. 12, 1962, John F. Kennedy announced his vision to win the space race at Rice Stadium. Why does Rice play Texas? For the money, of course.  Despite the hate, JFK’s emphatic decision to go to the moon was centered around H-Town. Houston is lucky enough to host the famous Johnson Space Center, and Rice has had a close relationship with NASA for decades.

Size matters

Everything is bigger in Texas — and Houston is no exception. According to the Census Bureau, Houston occupies 665 square miles compared to Austin’s 305.1. Houston also holds a population of 2.3 million, more than double Austin’s 974,000. Houston skyscrapers rise 30,500 feet into the sky, while Austin caps out at 23,000. Size matters, some say, and Houston is so huge it eclipses Austin. 

Health and medicine

Houston doesn’t stop at population or height. The Texas Medical Center is a pride of Houston. It holds the world’s largest children’s hospital and the world’s largest cancer hospital, treating 10 million patients per year


The Houston Astros are two-time World Series champions. The Austin… oh, wait. They don’t have a baseball team. The Houston Rockets are two-time NBA champions, home to 12 NBA hall-of-fame legacies. The Austin… oh, wait. They don’t have an NBA team, either. Fans of the Houston Texans exemplify true loyalty, staying faithful to a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2019. Needless to say, Austin has no professional football team.

Cost of living

Even though you’ll be saving money on season tickets, Austin is expensive to live in. Redfin states that Austin’s median real estate sale price is $571,000. On the other hand, Houston stands at a pleasant $331,000. With that extra $240,000, Houston residents can partake in Houston’s many attractions, from the Space Center to any one of the city’s world-renowned museums.

Intellectual brutality

Lastly, let’s not forget who’s known for intellectual brutality – the Rice Owls, obviously. On U.S. News 2022-23 national college rankings, the Owls are 23 positions ahead of the Longhorns. On Niche’s 2024 rankings, forget about it — 33 positions ahead. Hook’em? No, hoot’em.

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