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Schedule and Odds
Nevada made it to their eighth straight bowl game last year, but only finished with four wins in conference play. With a tougher overall schedule, reaching six wins is going to take an effort this season, especially under a new coach after Chris Ault retired. Not only is this Brian Polian’s first year at Nevada, but his first year anywhere as a head coach. He was previously an assistant at Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas A&M.
The offense will continue to run its pistol formation with coordinator Nick Rolovich guiding the way. The major problem for the Wolf Pack is that leading rusher Stefphon Jefferson left early for the NFL after his 1,883-yard and 24 TD campaign. JUCO transfer Don Jackson has big shoes to fill as he comes in and is projected to be the starter. Another problem is on the line with three underclassmen being first-year starters. Cody Fajardo is still at quarterback which will at least give this offense some familiarity. His passing numbers improved last year while also going for 1,121 yards and 12 TDs on the ground.
Due to their pistol success, Nevada’s offense is usually pretty stout, but where they have trouble is on the defensive end. They allowed close to 34 points per game last year and were the main reason for a couple losses, most notably against weaker teams in South Florida and Air Force. The unit returns just five starters, but they are bringing in coordinator Scottie Hazelton who is coming from USC. He’ll bring a new Tampa 2 scheme with hopes of improving the defense to mediocre levels. The line returns all four starters and will be the strong suit on this side of the ball.
2013 Nevada College Football Schedule
Aug. 31 at UCLA
Sept. 7 vs. UC Davis
Sept. 14 at Florida State
Sept. 21 vs. Hawaii
Sept. 28 vs. Air Force
Oct. 4 at San Diego State
Oct. 19 at Boise State
Oct. 26 vs. UNLV
Nov. 2 at Fresno State
Nov. 9 at Colorado State
Nov. 16 vs. San Jose State
Nov. 30 vs. BYU
With the coaching transitions and a new running back, it doesn’t help that Nevada has a ridiculously difficult schedule. Two of their first three games are on the road at Top 25 teams in UCLA and Florida State. Their last non-conference game comes at the end of the season with a home game against BYU. Remember, they only had four conference wins last year and now play a possibly tougher schedule in the Mountain West.
Things open up nicely for them with home games against Hawaii and Air Force, but don’t forget the Falcons put 48 points on them last year in an upset. Back-to-back road games at San Diego State and Boise State could not be any harder. Plus, they’ll follow those up with a road game at Fresno State a couple of weeks later. Before their matchup with BYU, the Wolf Pack get to play San Jose State who is eager to prove themselves in the conference.
Getting to six wins and their ninth straight bowl game could be a real problem this year and it may come down to their season finale with the Cougars. With a hopefully improved defense, it could be on new running back Don Jackson to keep the running game dominant. Otherwise five wins is a possibility.
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