UNLV catches a break on new Mountain West football schedule

UNLV coach Bobby Hauck appeared to have caught a break when the Mountain West released its revamped 2013 football schedule Tuesday.

The Rebels miss Boise State, Colorado State and Wyoming next fall. In fact, they won't play the Broncos until 2015, and that game will be in Las Vegas.

For the 2013 season, UNLV will host Hawaii, San Diego State, San Jose State and Utah State while traveling to UNR, New Mexico, Fresno State and Air Force. The dates for the conference games haven't been announced.

UNLV, which finished 2-11 last season, including 0-6 on the road, opens its season Aug. 29 at Minnesota. But the remainder of the nonconference schedule will be at home - against Arizona (Sept. 7), Western Illinois (Sept. 21) and Central Michigan (Sept. 28).

"It's the luck of the draw. You never know how it's going to shake out," Hauck said. "But obviously Boise is going to be one of the favorites."

How bad could it have been for the Rebels?

Brian Polian, who is replacing coaching legend Chris Ault at UNR, gets a tougher road in his first year. The Wolf Pack will travel to Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State and San Diego State. Along with UNLV, the Wolf Pack will host Air Force, Hawaii and San Jose State.

The last-minute schedule shuffling was needed because the Mountain West added San Jose State and Utah State and kept Boise State and San Diego State, which planned to jump to the Big East. The new 12-team Mountain West was divided into two six-team divisions.

UNLV is joined in the West Division by UNR, Fresno State, San Jose State, San Diego State and Hawaii, which plays football only in the Mountain West. The Mountain Division consists of Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming.

The conference used a computer to generate the rotation for the upcoming schedules.

"I like the format," Hauck said. "The teams we're playing are good, and most of the teams we're going to play we're familiar with. Fresno and San Jose are new to us. But we're still going to have to perform."

Each school will play four home and four road conference games each year. They will play the five schools in their division each year plus three opponents in the other division, skipping the other three teams. The teams will alternate home and away games over two years and cycle through the other teams outside their division.

There is one scenario in which UNLV and Boise State could meet this season. Should they win their divisions, they would play Dec. 7 in the Mountain West's first championship game.

In that case, Hauck said, he'd have no problem facing the Broncos.

"That would be absolutely awesome," he said.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjornal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.