2018 UNLV Rebels Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 5-7
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 6.0
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Over'
Slowly but surely. That is how Tony Sanchez has been building up the Rebels. And you have to give the UNLV brass credit for sticking with Sanchez and giving him the time and the tools necessary to turn this comically-bad program into something resembling competitive in the Mountain West.
UNLV has actually improved its win total each of the last three seasons, going from two, to three, to four to five wins. In fact, last year UNLV was tantalizingly close to making it to a bowl game for just the second time this century.
Now Sanchez has a program stocked with his recruits. He has a system firmly in place, and with 14 starters back this could finally be the season that UNLV breaks out and makes it to just the school's fifth bowl game in 35 years.
The Rebels have their top three rushers back in their run-based offensive attack. They also have a bigger, more athletic offensive line that features four returning starters. Quarterback Armani Rogers was named the league's Freshman of the Year. And as long as he can dodge the concussion issues that forced him out of two games last year then the Rebels offense should again find itself in the Top 25 in rushing.
UNLV can run the ball on offense. But they haven't been able to stop the run defensively. They were No. 122 in the country last year, and that helped lead to their 32 points allowed per game. They do have a new defensive coordinator, though, and the hope is that their new 4-3 scheme will help stop the bleeding.
The Rebels actually lost by three points - as a 45-point favorite - against FCS foe Howard in the opener. But they rebounded. And in late October they dealt Fresno State its only regular-season loss. That type of resilience will be key for a team that could have a lot of ups and downs again this season.
The season starts with a likely blowout loss at USC. But after that, the Rebels have four winnable games in a row against UTEP, Prairie View, at Arkansas and New Mexico. UNLV does have to travel to Hawaii and San Jose State. But the Rebels won three road games each of the past two seasons, so they could match that this fall.
If the Rebels can win those early-season home games and also beat Arkansas State, San Jose State and Hawaii on the road then they will be bowling. And from there it would take just one upset (they host Air Force and Nevada) to get over this season win total. I actually have UNLV pegged for 6-6; just enough to bowling. But I'd rather miss high with this group so I will call for them to go 'over'.
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