We continue with our preseason prediction series, moving on to week three against UNLV. WSU blew out UNLV 59-7 last year in Pullman with only a late kick return allowing the Rebels avoid the shutout. Rickey Galvin ran for 80 yards on just five carries in that game, so hopefully more of that this year.
2011 record: 2-10
2011 S&P ratings: 74.5 (offense), 81.5 (defense)
2011 home record: 2-3
Returning starters: 13
Athlon Sports preseason ranking: 112 (WSU 51)
Phil Steele power rating: 103.77 (WSU 123.32)
All-time record vs. WSU: 0-5
Last meeting: UNLV 7 vs. WSU 59 (2011)
Bill C Stat Profile: LINK
Bill C Preview: LINK
Despite losses in both the receiving corps and secondary, it is fair to believe that UNLV will improve, at least slightly, on both sides of the ball. But "improvement" could just mean "110th on offense, 100th on defense." Hauck has a reasonably experienced squad, and the Rebels' recruiting rankings are not terrible, but because of both recent and long-term history, it is difficult to expect anything more than minor steps forward. Four years ago, the chancellor of the Nevada universities said he has no idea how to remedy the UNLV program. After two years in charge, Hauck has accomplished only baby steps. An elixir may be out there somewhere, but as with other maladies that originate in Las Vegas, recovery is long and arduous.
Will home field advantage be enough to make up the 52 point gap from last year? Will Las Vegas have any alcohol left after thousands of Coug fans converge on Sin City at the same time? Only one of those is a realistic question.