Rebels football:

Notebook: Gift suite highlights UNLV and North Texas’ bowl swag

Also, the Rebels are near or at the bottom of a couple of lists: One for coaching salaries and another ranking the bowl games

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV quarterback Caleb Herring smiles after defeating San Diego State 45-19 in their Mountain West Conference game Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, at Sam Boyd Stadium.

An NCAA-allowed version of a shopping spree awaits the Rebels on their first night in Texas for the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The SportsBusiness Journal released its annual list of bowl gifts this week, and the main prize for UNLV’s game is a gift suite, which allows players to select a number of gifts up to a predetermined value.

A gift suite is exactly what it sounds like: a room is set up with tables displaying various gifts and the teams walk around selecting what they want. According to SBJ, the NCAA allows up to $550 worth of gifts to as many as 125 participants, although teams may purchase additional gift packages. Bowl game reps are often also granted the prize.

The gift suites are often set up on teams’ campuses before they leave for the bowl, but the Rebels will enjoy theirs Dec. 28. That’s their first night in Dallas.

The game will also give players a Fitbit Flex watch, an ESPN hat and a football. The gift suite and/or a shopping trip is this year’s most popular prize, as 18 of the 30 bowls are giving one out. Other notable gifts include a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (four bowls, including the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl) and a Playstation 4 (Military Bowl).

There are many smaller gifts such as T-shirts and a beach towel, but the most bizarre gift probably goes to the Hyundai Sun Bowl. That game is awarding participants, among other things, a Helen of Troy hair dryer.

UNLV in bottom group of Mountain West salaries

USA Today’s annual list of assistant coach salaries from across the country reveals what most would have suspected: The Rebels rank in the bottom four of the Mountain West in staff salary.

UNLV’s highest-paid assistant is offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach, who earns $140,000 of the program’s $1.05 million spent on its assistant coaches. Three coaches rank right behind Rosenbach at $130,000, and every coach on the staff makes at least $100,000. Overall, the staff ranks ninth out of 11 league teams, with Hawaii's salaries unavailable.

Combined with coach Bobby Hauck, who makes a little more than $500,000 according to USA Today, the Rebels coaches make approximately $1.56 million, or barely more than Colorado State coach Jim McElwain makes by himself ($1.35 million). UNLV is also dwarfed by Boise State’s massive budget, which paid Chris Petersen $2.15 million and its staff $4.59 million before Petersen’s recent departure.

New Broncos coach Bryan Harsin will reportedly make $1.3 million per year, making McElwain the highest-paid coach in the league. Hauck ranks 11th, just ahead of first-year Utah State coach Matt Wells, who just won the league's Coach of the Year award.

The bad kind of bowl hype

At least two lists created to rank the bowl games people should be most excited for have the Heart of Dallas Bowl dead last.

List-makers at ESPN and Crystal Ball Run both numbered the games from 1 to 35 and ranked the battle between the once and future homes of President Neal Smatresk at the bottom. For what it’s worth, Yahoo Sports has the game at No. 31.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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