Tuesday, July 26, 2011 | 2:40 p.m.
Take away a 48-6 beatdown at the hands of TCU last season, and UNLV was a relatively decent football team on its home turf.
Both of the Rebels' victories in Bobby Hauck's inaugural season at the helm came at home, and they also stayed within three touchdowns — yes, that's doing some sugarcoating — of Wisconsin, Air Force and Nevada-Reno.
And that's what the folks in the UNLV athletic department are hoping will get you coming back for more. Or for some, out to Sam Boyd Stadium for the first time.
The school recently began its campaign to boost ticket sales with a promotional video, including Hauck preaching the importance of rallying around the team and community investment. But, of course, that experience is much more fulfilling when the team is winning.
Hauck had to deal with a brutal schedule in his first season, and UNLV went 2-10. The overall difficulty in terms of opponents drops just a tad this year, but it's balanced out by the Rebels having to go on the road for seven of their 12 games.
The home schedule includes games against Hawaii (Sept. 17), Southern Utah (Sept. 24), Colorado State (Oct. 29), Boise State (Nov. 5) and San Diego State (Nov. 26).
The Rebels will be young. No matter who gets the nod, they'll have a first-time starting quarterback. They're a bit thin on both the offensive and defensive lines. There are plenty of issues heading in, yes. And, let's be honest, optimism around town is a bit minimal right now.
The image of Sam Boyd Stadium in the promotional video shows a venue packed with red. In reality, it's a shot from last year's Wisconsin game, when thousands of Badger faithful helped pack the place.
If UNLV can get its football program on track, there's little doubt that it can look like that almost every week. Even in 2008, when the Rebels got off to a 3-1 start, just that glimmer of hope after an overtime victory at Arizona State briefly boosted attendance.
But right now, it's a team that Vegas oddsmakers have saddled with an over/under win total of 2.5. And it might take more than advertisements — The video, it's worth noting, is very well done — to get people on those aluminum benches.
What would it take for you to buy season tickets — Or just any tickets? A bowl appearance? A run of games that are at least close? Free booze? You tell us below.