(iStock file photo)

The bad old days for Rice football appear to be a thing of the past: Gone are the days of near-constant losing seasons, replaced by five bowl berths since the start of the 2006 season. But still, it’s not like people are clamoring for news about the Owls. Until now, maybe.

Meet Rice offensive lineman Calvin Anderson, who can do this:

Anderson, a third-year sophomore, told the American Sports Network last year that he learned how to quickly solve a Rubik’s Cube off the Internet and now pretty much can’t stop, with 20 different variations on the maddening puzzle now at his disposal.

“I think the things that I need in order to be good at Rubik’s Cube helps me think on my feet and remember things a little better in football,” Anderson told ASN. “Especially when you’re studying plays and you can look at a play and kind of take a mental picture of it and remember it in a game situation … in the past, that’s kind of translated, with the way I would solve it and ways I handle a play, I would say the thinking behind it is parallel to what I use to try to be good at football.”

The world record for a standard 3x3x3 cube — which has 43 quintillion possible permutations — is 4.904 seconds and was set last year by Lucas Etter, a 14-year-old from Kentucky. Anderson, a double major in mathematical economics and managerial studies who stands 6 feet 5 and weighs 280 pounds, told ASN last year that he can solve that puzzle in around 30 seconds, so he has some work to do.

“I’ve told people, ‘It’s like solving a Sudoku, the same intuitive thinking,’ ” he said.