It was maybe the stunner of the year: UNLV football beat UNR football.
And this came after it looked like UNLV was going to get blown out in the first half.
But could that alone save the job of UNLV coach Tony Sanchez?
Moss is still puzzling over how UNLV was able to bring the Fremont Cannon back south.
“It's been almost a week I'm still trying to figure it out actually,” he said, “To come back after trailing by that many points in the second quarter.”
He pointed out that Nevada outscored UNLV 20 to nothing. And UNR was favored to win the game because it has had a pretty good season.
“This is a big deal,” he said, “The battle for the Fremont Cannon. To paint it red or to paint it blue every single year. It's one of my favorite rivalries actually for what they play for in the entire country that cannon.”
Moss noted that unlike other times in UNLV history the Rebels never gave in even though they were down by a lot and he said the fans out at Sam Boyd Stadium didn’t give up either.
“Kudos to Tony Sanchez and the kids and that program for actually doing that,” he said, “I would say a much-needed win for Tony.”
Moss believes Sanchez understood the importance of the game because he said after the game that the game was for more than just the Fremont Cannon. Moss believes the game saved Sanchez’ job as head coach – to an extent.
He thinks the problem for the school could be finding a replacement – if it decided to fire Sanchez.
“Give me the options of people that would actually make sense out here in Las Vegas and people would say, ‘Well, who would not want this job to come here in Las Vegas, a young guy like that?’” he said, “But consider the amount of money that UNLV can pay to some other schools.”
Moss gave the example of a coach at Texas Tech who lost his job and was owed $5.5 million. He started at around $3 million. Sanchez started at around $500,000.
“Las Vegas has no chance to pay a basketball coach. People laughed at the idea of giving Rick Pitino $4 million a couple years ago. What are they going after a football coach?” he said.
Can the UNR Wolf Pack basketball team really be as good as their ranking--fifth in the nation--says they are? Isn't that where UNLV hopes to be?
“They're loaded,” he said, “They got everybody back. [Eric] Musselman is the real deal and I hope Nevada fans feel very fortunate that they have this guy and I actually I hope somehow that he stays there as the coach. I don't want him to go anywhere else.”
Moss said there is a good chance that another school will come along and offer Musselman more money to move and he’s not sure what is keeping the coach in Reno but he does know that UNR won’t be able to match the money that he would be offered.
“They are right now - according to certain metrics - they are the number one offense in the entire country and they are going to absolutely obliterate teams in the Mountain West Conference this year.”
And beyond conference play, Moss believes the team could be a two seed in the NCAA Tournament this year.
As for UNLV’s basketball chance, Moss believes it missed its chance when it didn’t do all that it could have to keep Lon Kruger.
“He wanted to retire here. They should have made that happen. They should have done everything in their power to make that happen. They didn't,” he said… “It's a total mess and I think they just completely botched it with the hiring Dave Rice and they followed it up with hiring Marvin Menzies.”
The Vegas Golden Knights are on a winning streak, bringing their record back to the .500 level. But are they really back in form?
“I guess they found their groove,” he said, “getting [Nate] Schmidt back certainly helped. [Max] Pacioretty has found his niche now with the team and… they still have Mark Andre Fleury which is a gigantic deal. One of the best in the entire game.”
Besides that, Moss pointed out the Pacific Division is a really strong division and the Knights have played well against all of the teams in that division.
“That can go a long, long way into helping the team out at the end of the year, seeding-wise, playoff-wise, and so far they've been great at it again,” he said.
Moss said he thinks the team is catching fire again and playing like they did last year.
Meanwhile, the NFL season is coming to a close. Who would you like to make a deep run in the playoffs?
“Give us Saints/Rams in the NFC title game,” he said, “As long as the Chiefs make the AFC title game you could throw in a bunch of other teams. You could throw in the Patriots, Steelers, maybe the Colts, Texans would be fun, Chargers. The AFC is wide open basically but those teams are really, really good.”
Mitch Moss, host of "Follow The Money" on V-sin, the Vegas Stats and Information Network
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