Week One is finally here! We've been waiting since Mid-January and football is finally back. Utah just completed their game Thursday Night and the rest of the MWC starts this Saturday. The MWC is looking to possibly make this the year that solidifies their BCS Automatic Qualifcation and that should make this entire season interesting to watch. I'll tell you this much: I'll be watching just about every MWC game this year, hoping all MWC teams go undefeated in non-conference (unlikely). On to the preview - Wisconsin @ UNLV.
Wisconsin is ranked 12th to start the season in the coaches poll. Being that high must mean they have a pretty good team, right? Not only do they have an overall great team including experienced offensive and defensive lines, they have good skill positions as well. Whenever you're starting John Clay at running back you've got a great chance. He's a potential Heisman Trophy candidate and rushed for 1,000+ yards as a sophomore. They also have Scott Tolzien returning at quarterback and the entire linebacking core as well.
UNLV made a coaching change during the offseason, sending Mike Sanford to be the Louisville offensive coordinator while giving the reigns to former Montana head coach Bobby Hauck. Hauck essentially has the opposite philosiphy from Sanford. Sanford believed in no running game and a bad run defense. Hauck built a program that won FCS Titles at Montana based on running the football and a stout defense. The team seems to have bought into Hauck's preaching and we should see some improvement last year's horrible run defense - we gave up 748 yards rushing to Nevada last season.
Unless Hauck has tapped into some amazing talent that Sanford just couldn't, we should see a bad combination of football squads. Wisconsin has John Clay at running back and Hauck won't be able to install his dominant defense until he gets the right personnel. John Clay should run all over the defense and Wisconsin should win by 21-28 points (UNLV's passing attack is pretty good as well). Although don't count out UNLV. Traditionally when Wisconsin visits Vegas, the Badgers sputter and spew smoke against a bad UNLV squad. It could be a lot closer or we could see a double digit upset if history repeats itself.
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