The thing about the Mountain West is, while there is typically quality at the top, the bottom half of the conference is almost always quite weak. That means that, if a lesser team like New Mexico or UNLV can even improve to the 95th-100th range, they could improve their win total by a decent amount. But neither school has ranked that high in a while. Still home games versus Northern Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming and a depleted Air Force squad (not to mention Minnesota and Washington State), should portend more than two wins. We'll be conservative and set the bar at three this time around.
Despite losses in both the receiving corps and secondary, it is fair to believe that UNLV will improve, at least slightly, on both sides of the ball. But "improvement" could just mean "110th on offense, 100th on defense." Hauck has a reasonably experienced squad, and the Rebels' recruiting rankings are not terrible, but because of both recent and long-term history, it is difficult to expect anything more than minor steps forward. Four years ago, the chancellor of the Nevada universities said he has no idea how to remedy the UNLV program. After two years in charge, Hauck has accomplished only baby steps. An elixir may be out there somewhere, but as with other maladies that originate in Las Vegas, recovery is long and arduous.