This weekend the UNLV Rebels (0-2) head into the Big House of the University of Michigan (1-1). There are few people who follow college football closely who would believe that this game could come out any other way than the Wolverines annihilating the Rebels; although there are surely some Rebel stalwarts who believe that a miracle could happen. But, it's not going to.
In every way, the Rebels will be outmatched, and here are three intriguing reasons that are worthy of mention.
Record: It is just the beginning of the season, and nothing substantial can be made of early successes or performances. However, UNLV has lost two games already, and one game -- the Northern Illinois matchup -- seemed quite winnable in the first half of play but turned into a loss. And the second game of their season against UCLA was an embarrassment. Meanwhile, the sole loss for the Wolverines came at Utah in a close match up. And when Michigan could bring things home against Oregon State, they dominated in their first performance in front of their own crowd.
When the Rebels face big time opponents, they often falter. The Wolverines will benefit from this flaw.
Coach: This is a fascinating match-up between two brand new coaches to their respective programs. But, these coaches come from completely different paths in order to reach the programs they lead now. Tony Sanchez has come straight from a winning system in high school into the college ranks. He has invigorated the spirit of UNLV football with an experienced staff and passion for the game. Meanwhile, Jim Harbaugh is a seasoned veteran who has led organizations at the highest level, recently serving as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. He brings unrivaled experience and leadership to the Wolverines this year.
Harbaugh's coaching prestige, now on display at the Big House, does not bode well for Sanchez and his Rebels.
Quarterback: ‘All is well that ends well', so the saying goes; and if it's true, last week's lopsided loss to the Bruins did not end well for UNLV. Not only did they lose the game at home but their quarterback went down and never returned. The Rebels chances in Michigan largely reside on the status of their starting QB, Blake Decker. So far, he's listed day-to-day with a hamstring injury. And as Rebel fans found out last week, the back-up situation is not ideal, to say the least. On the other hand, Jake Rudock, senior starting QB for the Wolverines has the experience and talent to make the Rebels' defense weary. Last week, he threw for 180 yards with just one interception.
Once again, experience and sheer talent at several positions (including quarterback) will make the Rebels' ability to muster a victory an incredible feat.
All taken together, the Rebels will lose to Michigan this weekend. However, UNLV could give themselves some much needed confidence headed into the conference slate of games if they could try to keep it close throughout.