Feel that electricity in the air? No? You’re not the only one

Expectations are low, but UNLV’s young football team could make strides this season, putting the program on track to do well in the coming years. Cheer now or risk being taunted as a latecomer to the party.
Photo: Isaac Brekken

Five reasons why Las Vegas doesn't rev up for Rebel football

1. For the better part of three decades, UNLV hasn’t won consistently It sounds cliché, but this is a town that will only embrace a winner. Harvey Hyde was the last Rebels coach to post a winning record over his tenure, going 26-19 from 1982-85. Since his departure, none of the Rebels’ six coaches have posted a winning percentage better than .432, and when winning seasons have come, success hasn’t been sustained.

2. College football was meant to be played on Saturday afternoon And all of UNLV’s home games kick off under the lights. Granted, the daytime heat during the season’s first six weeks demands it, but let’s be real: If you’re going to grab locals’ attention on Saturday night, you’d better have a product that can compete.

3. The stadium’s location The facility itself is spacious and comfortable, and there’s plenty of available, accessible parking. Still, there’s a major want locally for an on-campus stadium. Would it make sense? An on-campus stadium works for a campus filled with students who live there. Only around 2,000 live near Maryland and Trop.

4. Las Vegas is a melting pot That means it’s filled with different alumni fan bases. Smaller college towns thrive on a community rallying to support a football program. The exception, of course, is a consistent, winning program.

5. UNLV is a basketball school That’s not to say it can’t have a good football program, too, but the vast majority of Rebel fans will always just care more about basketball than they do football.

... and five reasons why you should

1. We all need something to do before basketball starts

2. Sam Boyd Stadium gets an unfair rap It’s accessible and affordable, and having games at night means not having to go home and shower afterwards.

3. The product on the field is improving Those who follow the daily nuts and bolts of the program already know it. And while road games were a nightmare for the young Rebels a year ago, UNLV was a much more competitive team on home turf—both wins came at Sam Boyd, and the Rebels pushed Air Force and Wisconsin for a good half each.

4. And at some point soon, the Rebels could be bowl-game good Bobby Hauck, head coach since December 2009, was a solid choice, but he found himself in a tough situation last season—facing a stacked schedule and working with a team lacking in depth and decimated by injuries as the season wore on. Even though expectations are low again, UNLV should take major steps forward in 2011, and by 2012 could be in position to compete for its first postseason berth since 2000. Of UNLV’s listed starters for Thursday’s opener at Wisconsin, only seven of the 22 are seniors. Get on board now and avoid being called a bandwagoner.

5. Even if the team doesn’t interest you, the tailgating might I’ve wandered around the scene outside Sam Boyd Stadium and made a few friends out there over the last few years. Pretty solid, I must say.


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