Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009 | 11:08 a.m.
During a 3-minute ESPN segment on Thursday morning, analyst Mel Kiper Jr. tapped UNLV as one of his sleepers for the upcoming college football season.
Along with teams such as Miami, Cal and SMU, Kiper singled out the Rebels as a team that could potentially make some national noise.
"I know it's all about TCU, BYU and Utah," Kiper said of the Mountain West. "If Omar Clayton, their quarterback, can stay healthy and get the ball to Ryan Wolfe -- Ryan Wolfe is a senior wide receiver, one of the best clutch performers in all of college football with those great hands -- UNLV, I think, can go bowling for the first time in a long time and be a factor in the Mountain West Conference."
The Rebels opened up fall practice on Thursday, and will have 7 home games on their 12-game slate this season, starting with a Sept. 5 contest against Sacramento State at Sam Boyd Stadium.
In 2008, UNLV finished 5-7, coming within one win of a potential bowl berth after starting the season 3-1 with victories over Arizona State and Iowa State.