Rebels have nowhere to go but up

We at Leftovers believe it’s never too early to talk football, and thankfully we are not alone.

So even faster than it will take for Tim Chambers to become UNLV’s next baseball coach, Sporting News sent out its college football preview magazine. But UNLV fans, giddy though they might be over the hiring of coach Bobby Hauck, might not want to pick up a copy.

The Rebels were picked last in the nine-team Mountain West Conference. The magazine cites a schedule that includes nonconference opponents Wisconsin and West Virginia as a reason UNLV will struggle.

Hauck is a realist and knows what he’s up against, unlike predecessor Mike Sanford, who would’ve insisted the team could go 13-0. After a disappointing performance in the spring scrimmage, Hauck questioned whether the Rebels would win a game.

Lucky’s sports book director Jimmy Vaccaro posted an over/under win total for the Rebels at four victories. UNLV went 5-7 each of the past two seasons but against softer schedules.

"The team may be better than last year, but I think that coach is walking into a hornet’s nest," Vaccaro said. "If you look at it closely, how many games are they going to be favored in? Obviously, the guy gets a hall pass for this year."

■ EVENTFUL OFFSEASON ­– If UNLV’s season is anything like the offseason, it won’t be boring.

First, assistant coach Ty Gregorak was let go because of a legal run-in in Colorado. Strange, though, that a night involving alcohol, a strip club and a gun didn’t take place in Las Vegas.

Now, defensive tackle Malo Taumua is gone, if even alcohol, a strip club and a gun aren’t factors in the decision.

Hauck sent a text message that read, "As of 2 weeks ago, Taumua is a graduate of UNLV. He also had knee surgery which will prevent him from playing this fall." So, Hauck said Taumua was off the team without saying he was off the team.

This is the best decision for Taumua. The three-year starter slid off the two-deep depth chart before his injury in spring practices, and his impact would’ve been limited after sitting out next season. Now he can get on with his life.

And maybe stay away from nights involving alcohol, a strip club and a gun.

■ MARRIAGE BOOST — The idea, in Bleacher Report, at first seemed silly. But let it set in, and it makes sense.

Maybe the Blue Jays, forced to play a "home" series at Philadelphia from June 25 to 27 because of the G20 Summit in Toronto, should move those games to Cashman Field and home of their Triple-A affiliate.

Such a move has precedent. Stadium renovation prompted the Oakland Athletics to play their first six games of the 1996 season at Cashman.

The awkward forced marriage between the 51s and Blue Jays could use the boost, and the chance to watch Ryan Howard hit it out of Cashman’s hitter-friendly yard should draw large crowds.

But because this is baseball and it makes too much sense, you know it won’t get done.

COMPILED BY MARK ANDERSON LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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