UNLV Rebels 2023 College Football Preview

UNLV Rebels 2023 College Football Preview

June 28, 2023

2022 Recap

Record – 5-7

ATS – 7-5

The Rebels started out like a HOUSE ON FIRE winning four of their first five games. The excitement was PALPABLE. Who cares about a bowl game? We are Mountain West contenders! And then the season took a nasty detour to TURD TOWN. UNLV proceeded to go on six-game losing streak to end any dreams of anything. At least they took down their rated rivals from Reno in the season finale (W 27-22).

UNLV showed some GREEN SHOOTS of growth. Can they take a bigger step forward in 2023?

UNLV Rebels 2023 Outlook


The Rebels displayed flashes of brilliance LY but still had mediocre stats when it was all said and done (#98 FBS total offense; #76 scoring offense, 26 PPG). The Rebels have an emerging star at QB in Doug Brumfield (65%, 10-5 TD to INT, 6 rush TD) and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of numbers he can put up if healthy for an entire campaign. It hurts to lose #1 RB Aidan Robbins who booked a 1,000-yard season in 2022 but they hope that Pitt transfer Vincent Davis (career 1,813 rush yds, 64 receptions) will be an adequate replacement. The THROW GAME weaponry looks adequate as WR Ricky White is one of the best at his position in the Mountain West (619, 4 TD LY) and they’ve got decent complementary pieces. Three starters return up front but they’ll have a new center and LT. They hope that the transfer portal came thru with some legit starters but time will tell. UNLV moves to a new offensive system that combines a hurry-up run game with deep shots and triple option elements **. It’ll be intriguing to see how quickly they can get the hang of things. <grabs popcorn>

** that’s quite the buffet


The Rebels weren’t horrible LY (#72 total defense) but they weren’t “really good” in any one single aspect of defensive play. Seven starters are retained on this side of the football but they’ll be without their top-two tacklers that just also happened to be their top-two sack producers LY (Ajiake, Plant). Nobody returns who had more than three sacks LY so PENETRATION could be an issue. We’re not thrilled with how the DL looks on paper but they’ve got some good size on the interior. The LB group appears to be the best unit on defense and they return a pair of good ones whilst adding a pair of talented transfer to the mix (LSU, WOO PIG). The secondary has a good balance of returning starters including CB Cameron Oliver (3 INT LY), and fresh meat delivered from the transfer portal. This has the look of an “average” Mountain West defense and we don’t see a ton of upside.


It’ll sting to be without PK Daniel Gutierrez who missed ONE kick in 2022 (34-34 XP, 18-19 FG) but hopefully they found a replacement gem in Missouri St transfer Jose Pizano. UNLV needs to improve across the board on special teams.

Schedule Analysis

Overall – The Rebels have three winnable non-conference contests (Bryant, Vanderbilt, at UTEP) but the trip to Michigan is gonna be ugly. They avoid Boise St in Mountain West play which is yuuuge and their first three conference games could be the tonic for a good start (Hawaii, at Nevada, Colorado St).

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Air Force (Nov 18)

This will be UNLV’s third road game in four weeks and they’ve gotta battle the tough triple-option attack, at altitude, in the cold. If their season is already toast this could be a LAY DOWN AND DIE SPOT. Last time in town they were blown to bits (L 48-14).

Season Win Total

Market consensus June 28

Over 6 +115

Under 6 -135


Lean: Under

It’s a tough call. Seven wins looks like a bit of a stretch goal. If you like the ‘under’ you can easily find a flat ‘6’. If the ‘over’ is your JAM, you can find ‘5.5s’ in the market with high juice attached.

MEGAmazing Tidbit

The bowl drought is real, yo. UNLV hasn’t played in a bowl game since the 2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl and haven’t tasted bowl victory since the 2000 Las Vegas Bowl when they defeated WOO PIG in blowout fashion (W 31-14).


There’s legitimate hope in Las Vegas. The Rebels have a potential game-changer at QB and they brought in an experienced HC who’s done battle in the SEC in Barry Odom. There are still small holes scattered all over the roster but it’s not like the Mountain West is filled with killers. We give them a 50-50 shot to get to a bowl game and certainly hope that they GIT ER DONE. Let’s go!