UNLV Rebels 2022 College Football Preview
July 13, 2022
Record – 2-10
ATS – 7-5
The Rebels hit ROCK BOTTOM after losing to their hated rivals from Reno (L 51-20) as that marked their 14th consecutive loss. They get credit for winning the next pair of games (New Mexico, Hawaii) and for giving San Diego St all they could handle the following week.
It’s year three of the Marcus Arroyo experience. Are there reasons for optimism heading into 2022?
UNLV Rebels 2022 Outlook
It was pretty ugly once again for the Rebels LY (#119 FBS total offense, #111 scoring offense) despite getting a 1,200-yard season out of RB Charles Williams. Williams departs as the program’s all-time leading rusher and leaves a yuuuge hole to be filled. Maybe LUA-VUH transfer Aidan Robbins can emerge as a legit #1 option? Time will tell. The big news is at QB with the addition of Harrison Bailey from Tennessee (!) as that gives the Rebels a legit signal-caller for the first time in a while. We aren’t crazy about the WR/TE group but Bailey gets two of the top-three WR targets back this year. They also add a few transfers to the WR group that may pan out. Four starters return up front but they’ve gotta find a way to improve the pass protection BIGLY (41 sacks allowed LY, 2nd last MW).
The Rebels haven’t played good defense since the NIXON ADMINISTRATION ** and last year was another debacle. They finished #93 in the FBS in run defense, #122 pass efficiency D, and booked a mere 22 sacks (last MW). Only six starters are back on this side of the football and they’ll be without their best defensive player and leading tackler Jacoby Windmon (6 sacks). We’re skeptical about the DL but DE Adam Plant (7 TFL LY) and NT Ben Key (325 pounder) are good pieces to build around. They’ll need to find some bodies at LB to compliment #2 tackler Austin Ajaike and only return one starter in the secondary. We don’t forecast much improvement on defense BUT will concede that a NEW DC and bodies added via the transfer portal could make a noticeable difference. <grabs popcorn>
** needs fact check
The INTREPID Phil Steele has ranked the Rebels’ special teams unit #117, #116, #128, #123, and #112 L5Y but things look decent heading into 2022. There’s experience across the board and PK Daniel Gutierrez might be the best at his position in the Mountain West (15-17 FG, 25-25 XP LY).
Overall – It’s favorable. They miss Boise St from the Mountain division and don’t have to play back-to-back road games.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – November 19 – at Hawaii
This will be the Rebels’ 3rd road game since October 22 and they’ve got their SUPER BOWL on deck (home to Nevada).
Season Win Total
per BetOnline July 13
Over 4.5 +110
Under 4.5 -140
We hope we’re wrong but think it’ll be tough to get to five wins.
One could easily argue that the Rebels were much better last season than their record indicated given the numerous close losses to good teams (Fresno St, UTSA, San Diego St, Utah St). It could be that better things are to come in 2022, and we certainly hope that is the case, but the roster still looks too weak for us to call for anything more than 4-5 wins.
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