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Commentary: All This Praise of UNLV Football Needs to Stop

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Sloppy play, lack of opponents puts grain of salt on Rebels’ three wins.


They say false hope is for those who can’t accept what’s real.

Thinking you can pick up that hot girl at the bar, or getting out of painting the house on Sundays because your wife says that painting is more important than football.

Wishful thinking.

And just like these examples, there are those out there who are celebrating UNLV’s three-game winning streak as if it was the second coming of the Messiah. Seriously.

I’ve never seen so many people praise mediocrity in all my life.

Students and non-students alike are talking about this UNLV football team, a team that won its third game of the season for the first time under head coach Bobby Hauck, and thinking the Rebels are all of a sudden a great football team.

Newsflash: They’re not.

Yes, they won three games in a row and two of those wins came when they were trailing by at least two touchdowns. But who did they beat?

USA Today just released its list of all NCAA football teams.  UNLV ranks 117 out of 252.

The teams they beat, you ask? New Mexico is 152nd, Central Michigan is 153rd and Western Illinois is 159th.

The teams UNLV lost to, by a combined 73 points mind you: Arizona ranks 28th and Minnesota ranks 72nd. So what does this say about the Rebels?

It says they beat the teams they were supposed to beat, and can’t even come close against those who are better than they are.

Look at the New Mexico game. UNLV trailed 14-0 and came back to win 56-42. How about the fact the Rebels gave up nearly 500 yards on the ground?

Allow me to reiterate. The Rebels surrendered more yards on the ground to the Lobos in the first half (400) then most teams do in a single game. And not just rushing yards, either. All yards.

Side note, New Mexico is an excellent rushing team. Third in the nation to be exact. But my God, with that knowledge how about stacking the box? Giving up 400 rushing yards in one half is beyond comprehension.

Luckily for the Rebels they played against a team that’s worse than they are.

As for Central Michigan, these guys aren’t any better than the Lobos. In fact, they’re worse according to USA Today.

It took a three-touchdown comeback at home to beat the Chippewas, a team that ranks 114th in the nation in points scored and 118th in points against.

Congratulations Rebels, you beat up on an inferior MAC team that owned you the entire first half in your own building.

Western Illinois? Please. The Rebels destroyed them and people went nuts. Western Illinois is an FCS school.  Western Illinois is so irrelevant that its stats aren’t even available on ESPN’s website.

Forgive me for being so blunt. I’m a student at UNLV, a senior set to graduate in December. I, like several others, have seen this football program look absolutely terrible for far too long.

It’s great the Rebels are riding a three-game winning streak. I want nothing more than to see my school succeed on the gridiron. After all, college and football go hand in hand.

But I’m a realist.  If a bad team beats another bad team in any sport, they’re not considered great. They’re just doing the job they’re supposed to do, and that’s beating up on the teams they should be beating up.

So before we start running around and saying that Hauck’s job is saved and UNLV is all of a sudden a good football team, why don’t we beat some quality opponents first?

Or maybe I’m just old fashioned.

Follow Steven Slivka on Twitter @StevenSlivka.

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One response to “Commentary: All This Praise of UNLV Football Needs to Stop”

  1. Mary_Hausch says:

    Good column. A hard dose of reality about a program still trying to break the top 100 rankings.

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