Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023 | 2 a.m.
UNLV football hosting the Mountain West championship game? Believe it or not, the Scarlet and Gray have the power to make it happen.
Thanks to some fortuitous results around the conference on Saturday, Barry Odom’s squad now finds itself tied for first place in the standings and controlling its own destiny for the right to host the title game at Allegiant Stadium.
UNLV beat Wyoming, 34-14, on Friday night to improve to 8-2 overall and 5-1 in Mountain West play. On Saturday, second-place Fresno State lost to San Jose State, 42-18, to fall to 4-2 in the conference; the Bulldogs had held the tiebreaker over UNLV thanks to their head-to-head victory on Oct. 28, but their second loss lowered them in the standings.
Also on Saturday evening, first-place Air Force lost a 27-13 shocker at Hawaii, a defeat that dropped the Falcons to 5-1 in the league.
When all the dust settled, UNLV was tied for first place, with a monumental matchup at Air Force set for Saturday. The winner of that game will sit alone in first place with one week remaining in the season.
Since abolishing divisions, the Mountain West championship game is hosted by the team at the top of the standings. So if UNLV can knock off Air Force, then close out the regular season with a home win over San Jose State, Odom’s upstart crew will play for the league title on their home turf.
When asked about being in control of their path to the Mountain West championship in his postgame press conference, Odom said he tries to keep his team from looking at the big picture.
“The one-day mentality, the one-rep mentality for us seems to work,” Odom said. “Now that’ll be the next challenge, to get our team ready to go play away from home against a really good opponent in Air Force.”