Editor’s note: During our 10 days of UNLV football, we ran a UNLV list a day leading up to the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Some teams’ fans have it easy.
Fans of Alabama, for example. (To Alabama fans who say the rest of us don’t know what it’s like to have to deal with the resentment of the rest of the nation, good luck with your cupcake problems. The rest of us are over here hoping our team can win things occasionally.)
Other fans are so used to disappointment, it ceases to mean anything.
UNLV fans know disappointment. Having a winning season three times in 20 years doesn’t give you much to get excited about. But this season was exciting. It gave diehard fans something to hope for and people who had never given UNLV a second thought a reason to get interested in the program.
A 7-5 season doesn’t mean UNLV is suddenly a “football school.” But it’s enough to be happy about this year.
Ultimately, all the ups and downs — the 4th-quarter losses, statement wins, empty stadiums, broken records — no matter which way you order them, they add up to one thing: A bowl game. The Heart of Dallas Bowl.
It’s not the Rose Bowl, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves: You have to start somewhere. And this is the first time UNLV has played in a bowl other than the Las Vegas Bowl or its predecessor, the California Bowl.
UNLV fans can look forward to next year, but what they should really be celebrating are the moments that made up a season to remember: Davis’ record smashing, Herring at UNR, painting the Fremont Cannon, stomping on Air Force despite the horrible weather. They’re the moments that make up the most successful season in 13 years.
As part of our own celebration, we’ve been counting down the 10 days of UNLV football. Check out the stories and enjoy the game on ESPNU. Kickoff is at 9 a.m.