He didn't use the "G" word. Still, you should help yourself to the Rebel kool-aid.
UNLV Rebels first-year head coach Tony Sanchez continues to spark renewed interest in the Scarlet and Gray and has his sights set on recapturing the Fremont Cannon, the trophy awarded annually to the winner of the Rebels game with the Nevada Wolf Pack.
"As soon as I got the job, the first question was, 'Are you going to get the cannon back?'" Sanchez told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "People were fired up about it."
The rivalry game is just two months away and will be the conference opener for both schools. Nevada hosts UC Davis and Arizona before hitting the road for dates with Texas A&M and Buffalo. UNLV's out of conference schedule includes games at Northern Illinois and Michigan and home matchups with UCLA and Idaho State.
Much has been made of playing the rivalry game this early in the season. Nevada head coach Brian Polian has been especially talkative.
"I was pretty vocal about it, and I'm sure to the dismay of the league," Polian said. "I wasn't happy about it. Frustrated with it frankly. I don't know how Coach Sanchez feels about it, but that is the most important game to our fan base and we'll be coming off two road trips in a combined five times in those two trips."
Sanchez does not appear to share Polian's frustrations.
"I love the date and love that it's midway through the season; it's fun," Sanchez said. "When you think about the conference, we don't have a lot of rivalries based on geographic regions, so that's a big deal. Two in-state schools playing against each other. I don't even know if it's a friendly rivalry, to be honest. People get pretty heated."
The rivalry has been dominated by Nevada of late. The Wolf Pack have won nine of the last ten meetings, including 49-27 last season at UNLV. Nevada leads the all-time series, 24-16.
The goal of returning the Fremont Cannon to Las Vegas is a lofty one. Last week at Mountain West Football Media Days, Nevada was predicted to finish third in the West Division. UNLV was pegged at a distant sixth. Don't tell that to Sanchez, though. He's already got a spot picked out for the Battle for Nevada prize.
"We have a big platform in our locker room that's empty right now and I left it in there. The cannon is supposed to be there. It's a big deal."
UNLV and Nevada meet in Reno on October 3rd. Kickoff is scheduled for 4pm PT.