Preview 2016: UNLV & Red Hot Rebels

The UNLV football outlook for 2016 season. The arrow is pointing up for Tony Sanchez and a Rebel program that literally might be building something big.

2016 UNLV Preview
2016 UNLV Preview: 10 Rebel Players To Know

It might not have seemed like it, but UNLV went through a season that pointed the arrow up.

The Rebels went a slightly unconventional route when hiring Tony Sanchez before last season, but in a lot of ways he was the right guy at the right time for a program that needed to start building the whole thing up from near-scratch.

UNLV isn’t the normal Mountain West school, with a stadium far from campus and with a different sort of fan base, but there’s interest in a possible winner. Long known for its basketball teams, UNLV needed a guy who knows how to relate to the community and knows what it takes to try succeeding in a place that worships winning. Sanchez did just that at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, going 85-5 in his six years with five state titles.

Just 42, he’s a young, energetic head coach who knows how to get offenses moving and has the talent and ability to grow with the team and the school over the coming years.

Especially if the new football stadium really is built.

For all of the big shows and all the events held in Las Vegas, there isn’t a big-time large stadium for truly massive events. The dream is to get an NFL team, but if plans for a shiny 65,000-seat stadium really come true – and if it really is put on the proposed site that’ll be relatively near the campus, that becomes a bit of a game-changer.

For now, Sanchez has to keep on building up the talent base. There were some clunkers last season – who loses to Wyoming? – but the Rebels came up with the in-state rival win over Nevada and the offense took giant steps ahead from where it was before Sanchez showed up.

UNLV football isn’t there yet, but there’s hope.

Eventually, this slot machine is going to pay off.