FROM LAS VEGAS — When you think of this city, you do not think of Sam Boyd Stadium. There is a reason for that. First of all, it's about a 25-minute drive from the strip, ensuring that otherwise semi-interested visitors won't bother attending games here. Secondly, Google Maps estimates that it's about a 17-minute drive from UNLV's campus, making it an unappealing trip for students, too.
Oh, and the football team's never any good, either.
All of which should make for a pretty weak atmosphere when the Cougars and Rebels kick off at 6 p.m. before a national ESPN audience.
In many ways, this probably won't feel like a true road game for WSU. You didn't need to look too far on the strip last night to find crimson polo shirts and Cougar hats, and from my seat in the press box I can see a pretty substantial WSU-only tailgate party just beyond the parking lot.
There should be a pretty healthy contingent of Texas Tech fans here, too. I talked to a couple from Lubbock last night who said a group of them took a private plane down here for the game, to cheer for WSU and Mike Leach.
Heck, the folks on that plane might outnumber the UNLV fans here.
There is no official word on WSU's quarterback situation. Jeff Tuel is listed as the starter on the depth chart given to reporters in the press box, but that's simply based off WSU's official release early in the week. Tuel was out earlier taking part in some very light, informal warmups.
Our official pick in Thursday's newspaper for this game was WSU 38, UNLV 10, in case you missed it. Assuming Connor Halliday makes the start, I think he'll be too much for the Rebels' secondary. I also think defending the run is the strength of WSU's defense, so I expect the Cougars to contain UNLV running back Tim Cornett.