Most everyone who heads to Las Vegas for that fun weekend get away and have a few aspirations in mind, and usually one of those is to hit it big with that ridiculous six-team parlay or crush it on the blackjack table.
That is exactly what comes to mind when UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck actually uttered this phrase at Mountain West media days, "We have a legitimate chance to compete for a Mountain West championship."
Most people felt that was a joke since the Rebels had won six games total since Hauck took over the program in 2010 and had a 23-game road losing streak heading into last year. UNLV did have a breakout year where they won seven games and went to their first bowl game since 2000.
This year, a conference title for UNLV? That seems very far fetched and even at a time when media days are typically full of extreme optimism, this was a bit much.
Expectations are now higher at UNLV after going bowling in 2013, but to go from lets win at least four games and beat Nevada, to suddenly winning the Mountain West is a gigantic leap. Then add in UNLV lost its starting running back and quarterback last year in Tim Cornett and Caleb Herring, plus all-conference offensive lineman Cameron Jefferson transferred to Arkansas when it was first announced that the Rebels were not eligible for a bowl game.
Perhaps Hauck is being extremely optimistic now that his team can go to a bowl game; media days can do that to even to the programs who have even a remote shot to win its respective league.
Hauck feels that despite losing players to graduation and transfers this will be his best team at UNLV, and trumping last year's squad. He does return the best wide receiver in the Mountain West in Devante Davis and teaming him up with Marcus Sullivan could be one of the best duos in the Mountain West. The quarterback situation is not yet clear with former starter Nick Sherry and junior college transfer Blake Decker.
Hauck has slowly brought the program back from the dead and maybe he is correct in being confident about his teams chances to compete for a Mountain West title. The West division is wide open with no clear cut favorite, but UNLV, who was predicted to finish fourth in the West division, is closer to last place Hawaii than first-place Fresno State.
Being optimistic and selling one's program is the job of the head coach, but this projection by Hauck seem like any other dream of hitting it big which every single person feels they can achieve when they head to Las Vegas for the weekend.