2021 Nevada Football Record Projection Per SP+
What are the expectations for the Wolf Pack
What do the computers say
Nevada SP+ Overall Rank (74) / Offense 28.7 (70) / Defense 29.8 (83)
Who’s coming back? – Heisman trophy contender QB Carson Strong
*”Super Seniors?” – Reloaded defensive trenches
Who’s coming in? – Jeremiah Bodwin *** OLB/SAF from Texas
What have they done lately? – ( 7 – 2 ) in ’20
Sept. 4 at Cal
Ovr. Rk. (54) / Off. 29.7 (62) / Def. 24.5 (53)
Cal’s final three games of last season were decided by grand total of nine points, including a marquee win to close the season versus a ranked Oregon team. Expect both teams to fill up the stat sheet in an underrated west coast season opener. This could be a whoever has the ball last is the winner type deal here in Berkeley.
Cal 34 – 31 in OT
Sep. 11 vs. Idaho State
FCS (Predicted to finish 11th in Big Sky Conference by Coaches/Media)
Idaho State will be playing a six-game spring season starting on Feb. 27 vs. #4 Weber State. In 2019, the Bengals finished (3–9) overall and (2–6) in Big Sky play against the likes of Eastern Washington, who consistently give the Pac-12’s best a run for their money seemingly every time they get together. Fortunately for the Wolf Pack, Idaho State does not play football to anywhere near the likes of an Eastern Washington.
Nevada 41 – 13
Sept. 18 at Kansas State
Ovr. Rk. (63) / Off. 29.9 (59) / Def. 27.4 (65)
By the time Nevada lands to Manhattan, Kansas to face off with the Wildcats, “Super Senior” Skylar Thompson’s experience will be in unprecedented territory, quantified by his likely 33rd career start for K-State. Thompson’s downhill running style will be a tough test for the Wolf Pack’s 4-2-5 defense, and with victories over Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and TCU, as well as tight losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor by a combined three points, Kansas State’s (4–6) record in 2020 could be a bit deceiving.
Kansas State 26 – 23
Oct. 9 vs. New Mexico State
Ovr. Rk. (130) / Off. 12.2 (130) / Def. 43.8 (129)
New Mexico State decided to opt of the 2020 fall season, but they recently opened the 2021 spring season with a brutal 43 – 17 loss to Tarleton State on Feb. 21st. The Aggies next scheduled game in the spring is March 7 vs. Dixie State. On the bright side, in 2019, the Aggies were at least competitive in losses to respectable programs, Liberty, Central Michigan, and New Mexico, as well as a single victory in a rivalry game against UTEP. On the not so bright side, New Mexico State is ranked dead last in the SP+ rankings.
Nevada 42 – 15
Date TBD at Boise State
Ovr. Rk. (39) / Off. 33.4 (39) / Def. 24.0 (50)
Boise State returns a majority of a disruptive defensive unit that will be crucial if they hope to get back to a Mountain West title game for a fifth consecutive season even as the Broncos change leadership by ushering in new head coach Andy Avalos from Oregon. The two teams have not met since an extremely close victory by Nevada three seasons ago, but this ones on the blue turf, so expect points to be much tougher to come by for the Wolf Pack this time around. Nevada can not leave any ducks on the pond in this showdown of the conference’s cream of the crop.
Boise State 30 – 26
Date TBD at Colorado State
Ovr. Rk. (96) / Off. 21.5 (102) / Def. 28.6 (72)
Colorado State’s offensive production has been abysmal in recent memory, to say the least, and it looks to be more of the same as the Rams enter their second season under Steve Addazio. But, the recipe for success this season in Fort Collins will be simple: the guys on defense need to be flat out dudes, and the dudes on offense just need to be guys.
Nevada 29 – 18
Date TBD at Fresno State
Ovr. Rk. (78) / Off. 30.8 (55) / Def. 32.9 (105)
With trips to Oregon and UCLA within the first month of the season, Fresno State will quickly find out if their defense has what it takes to stand up against a couple of the nations’ more inexhaustible offensive locomotives. Moreover, when Boise State and Nevada come to town the two keys will be: will the defense be able to make those few crucial stops on second half third-downs. Secondly, can the offense handle time of possession to provide said defense with a much-needed rest down the stretch in these major conference battles where the offense will keep you in-game, but the defense will undoubtedly win them in the end.
Nevada 32 – 29
Date TBD vs. Air Force
Ovr. Rk. (93) / Off. 23.9 (92) / Def. 30.1 (86)
The Falcons fared well last season against the rush surrendering only twenty-four (24) total points in four contests against Navy, New Mexico, Utah State, and Army, as well as playing the eventual Mountain West Champions San Jose State extremely competitively in a mid-season road matchup. Expect Air Force to not only compete for a bowl berth, but to contend for a spot in the conference title game in 2021.
Nevada 26 – 24
Date TBD vs. Hawaii
Ovr. Rk. (105) / Off. 24.9 (91) / Def. 35.1 (111)
Hawaii travels to Reno this year after a historic upset of the Wolf Pack in Aloha Stadium in ’20 with the help of a defense that prevented Heisman candidate Carson Strong from throwing for over 200 yards, his only such performance in Nevada’s nine-game season. Expect Strong and company to put on a show against a road Hawaii defense, projected to be in the bottom fourth nationally, this season playing without the friendly winds of Honolulu.
Nevada 47 – 16
Date TBD vs. San Jose State
Ovr. Rk. (81) / Off. 26.6 (84) / Def. 28.9 (78)
The defending Mountain West champs bring back nearly three-fourths of a defense that stymied a productive Nevada offense in ’20, but the Spartan’s offense will be key to a successful follow-up campaign. In a full-fledged 2021 season, be prepared for a Spartans team ready and eager to show the country that their win over Boise State last season was no fluke.
Nevada 23 – 22
Date TBD vs. UNLV
Ovr. Rk. (123) / Off. 19.2 (114) / Def. 38.7 (121)
While the Rebels went winless in a shortened ’20 season, they were definitely battle-tested, playing the conferences’ first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and eight place finishers. That being said, do not expect UNLV’s 121st ranked defensive unit to slow down the Wolf Pack after being diced through the air for 350 yards and two touchdowns by way of a 78% completion rate courtesy of Strong last season.
Nevada 42 – 19
Date TBD at San Diego State
Ovr. Rk. (84) / Off. 17.7 (123) / Def. 20.8 (33)
Heading to sunny Carson, California, for a meeting with the Aztecs may not be the “homecoming” Carson Strong would state as a wish as the Wolf Pack take their offense up against a top 35 defense. Although, Nevada’s defense should have no problems with a San Diego State offense that failed to put up over seventeen points in their three “toughest” contests (San Jose State, Colorado, BYU) last season.
Nevada 24 – 13
9-3 (7-1) – Nevada Football Record Projection Per SP+