2022 UNLV’s Non-Conference Schedule Breakdown
How tough is the Rebels OOC schedule
Taking a look at the UNLV schedule
UNLV’s non-conference slate is in a set of tiers this year. It has a pair of Power 5 teams with Notre Dame and Cal, both on the road, with the Irish being a projected top 10 team. Then the Bears which are not a great Pac-12 team head coach Justin Wilcox is on the hot seat.
The others are winnable games vs. Idaho State and North Texas which has slipped a little bit under Seth Littrell but are still a bowl team over the past few years.
Our staff ranked all 49 non-conference games and the Rebels FBS games were middle of the pack and the game against the Bengals game came near the bottom of the list for good reason.
Aug. 27 vs. Idaho State (ranked No. 47)
This is a very winnable game and is a game that Marcus Arroyo must win to see if this UNLV team can get to a bowl game for the first time since 2013.
If the Rebels fall in this game then perhaps any leeway that Arroyo has will instantly be gone as he enters his third season. As a reminder to UNLV fans, the 2021 squad lost to Eastern Washington last year. That EWU team is much better than this Bengals squad but UNLV should win this game and not take any FCS team for granted.
Sept. 10 at Cal (ranked No. 25)
The Rebels will not be favored in this road game in Berkely but the Cal Bears are not expected to be a contender in the Pac-12. Win totals have the Bears at 5.5 so a bowl game is in the mix for Cal.
Wilcox’s teams are known for defense and that will make for a challenge for this UNLV offense that is going through a quarterback battle. With Cal’s offense not being good over the past few years, so that could play a factor in the Rebels having a chance if this game is first to 21.
Similarly to UNLV, Cal has a quarterback competition this fall and it will be down to Purdue transfer Jack Plummer or redshirt freshman Kai Millner. The offensive line also has some concerns with just two starters back for the upcoming year with center Matthew Cindric and tackle Ben Coleman as the lone two returning.
Sept. 17 vs. North Texas (ranked No. 28)
Seth Littrell’s is 37-36 and went to a bowl game in each of the past two seasons in Denton, Texas. The offense used to be the main selling point for recruits to come to town but ever since Graham Harrell left as offensive coordinator, the passing game has taken a downturn but late last year they switched to a more run-heavy attack.
The team did win five in a row to cap the 2022 season, so the change to a ground attack is suiting this team nicely. The quarterback room could be more consistent as it completed just over 50% of its passes. Expect for Austin Aune to be the starting quarterback when they face UNLV.
Oct. 22 at Notre Dame (ranked No. 27)
The Irish have a new head coach in Marcus Freeman who was promoted from defensive coordinator when Brian Kelly decided to leave for LSU. Despite the change in leadership and staff shakeup, Notre Dame is a preseason top 10 team and has playoff aspirations.
The Irish do have a new quarterback in Tyler Buchner who saw some playing time as a freshman last year. Buchner used his feet to make plays when he saw time but he needs to be more polished as a passer. He does have help with tight end Michael Mayer who might just be the best tight end in Irish history as a key weapon.
Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden takes over the defense and he has big shoes to fill as Freeman helmed a well above average, if not elite, Irish defense. Golden most recently was the linebackers coach during the Cincinnatti Bengals turnaround which included a Super Bowl run just this past season.