Published Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 | 7:33 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 | 11:13 p.m.
Sports Illustrated is the latest magazine that’s bullish, or at least positive, about the upcoming UNLV football season.
In its college football preview issue, which hits the newsstands Monday, SI tabs UNLV to finish 8-4 and in fourth place in the nine-team Mountain West Conference.
TCU, Utah and BYU are all picked to finish 7-1 in the league. The Rebels are in the next spot, with a 5-3 conference record, followed by Air Force (4-4), Colorado State (3-5), San Diego State (1-7), Wyoming (2-6) and New Mexico (0-8).
The magazine has SDSU above Wyoming due to overall records; it says the Aztecs will go 4-8 and the Cowboys 3-9.
The only MWC players mentioned as players to watch by SI are BYU quarterback Max Hall and defensive end Jan Jorgensen, and TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes.
SI rated UNLV No. 50, just ahead of Minnesota and just behind Wake Forest, on its overall ranking of 120 Division-I programs. It ranked TCU 17th, Utah 19th and BYU 22nd.
In his preview magazine, prognosticator Phil Steele picked UNLV to play in a bowl game this season for the first time since 2000. He has the Rebels playing Louisiana Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, on Dec. 30.
"The Rebels continue to improve under head coach Mike Sanford," Steele writes, " ... (and) they have a great shot at bowl eligibility."