One might ask why should UNLV even get keyed up to play the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors with only two wins this season? The Rebels are already looking towards next season and perhaps saving the job of Head Coach Bobby Hauck. Winning in Honolulu could go a long way to set up the Rebels for a big win over Reno the following week and could even add a year to Hauck's tenure.
Three Reasons Why UNLV Will Beat Hawaii
1. UNLV has experienced so much adversity this season and while many teams may have rolled over and quit, this team has not. Take the overtime win over Fresno State. There were many times the game could have been lost. Yet much of the time UNLV overcame the challenge. Whatever challenges the Rebels experience in Honolulu shouldn't be new to them. The difference between having two wins or seven wins can be based on how a ball bounces.
2. QB Blake Decker being a game time decision puts the onus on other players to get ready. Backup Jared Lebowitz should be ready to go after playing the past two weeks, but the uncertainty places added pressure on the rest of the team. Much of this will depend on which offensive line shows up. Decker is banged up because he's been running for his life in many of the games. If the line gets coached up this week and does a better job of remaining parallel to the line of scrimmage and not out of position whoever is playing the QB position will have a better chance.
3. Bobby Hauck is coaching for his job. If the Rebels win the next two games there is a chance he will be retained. This should motivate the team to put together a duo of wins. There is no question that Hauck knows how to coach. I've had this thought with many coaches on the "hot seat." Will Muschamp didn't forget how to coach when he moved to Florida from Texas. Mike Riley at Oregon State is not only a perennial candidate for the "nicest guy" award but also has consistently put competitive football teams on the field. That's hard to do in Corvallis and yet he's on the hot seat. There is no doubt Hauck has put his heart and soul into brining success to UNLV, but the clock may be running out.
Traveling to Hawaii always presents a challenge. The long flight, time zone change, and the inviting ocean can cause distractions. If the Rebels are able to overcome what is working against them a win is most certainly in the cards. Look at it this way: it can only get better in Las Vegas.