UNLV Rebels

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 31:  Wayne Gallman #9 of the Clemson Tigers scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners during the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

2016 Las Vegas win totals think highly of Clemson, FSU, Sooners and Vols

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The top two teams in the ACC, Clemson and Florida State, are widely expected to once again lead the way in the ACC and the first batch of season win totals from Las Vegas outlet The Golden Nugget back that up. The initial 2016 win totals for a handful of college football programs were released by The Golden Nugget this week, and it would appear the sportsbook expects a big season from the defending ACC champion and national runner-up Clemson.

As noted by The Sporting News, The Golden Nugget gave a regular season win total of 10 to Clemson and Oklahoma, both coming off an appearance in the College Football Playoff last season. Florida State also gets a double-digit win total, as does Tennessee. Defending national champion Alabama has a line of 9.5 for its win total.

Tennessee having a higher win total than Alabama? Well, consider the divisions each play in. The SEC West is still arguably a stronger division than the SEC East, suggesting Tennessee will have an easier path to hitting 10 wins during the regular season. Tennessee opens the season on a neutral field against Virginia Tech in Bristol, while Alabama hits the big stage in Arlington to take on USC. The Trojans have a win total of just 7.5. There was no number available for Virginia Tech.

Defending Big Ten champion Michigan State has a win total number of 8, which is half a game lower than the 8.5 given to Ohio State (take the over now while you can) and 1.5 games lower than in-state rival Michigan (9.5). Defending Pac-12 champion Stanford has to get to eight games to break even. The Golden Nugget set UCLA’s win total at nine, the highest among Pac-12 teams.

Clemson 10 (over -120)
Alabama 9.5
Florida State 10 (over -120)
Oklahoma 10 (under -130)
LSU 9.5 (over -140)
Michigan 9.5 (over -120)
Houston 9 (under -150)
Notre Dame 9 (under -125)
Ohio State 8.5 (over -115)
Tennessee 10
Baylor 9 (under -125)
Michigan State 8 (under -135)
Stanford 8 (under -130
Ole Miss 7.5 (under -115)
Georgia 8.5 (over -145)
Auburn 7 (over -120)
UCLA 9 (over -120)
USC 7.5 (over -120)
Oregon 8.5 (under -120)
Florida 8 (under -125)
Louisville 9
TCU 8.5 (under -125)
Oklahoma State (under -130)
UNLV 4.5

Clemson is No. 1 in spring game attendance (for now)

Part of a record crowd of 50,500 watches Clemson's spring football game Saturday, April 9, 2016, at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. (Ken Ruinard/Anderson Independent-Mail via AP)
Ken Ruinard/Anderson Independent-Mail via AP
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Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, the Clemson Tigers saw the largest crowd attend its spring game during the second weekend of April. With an estimated 50,000 fans coming out to see the defending ACC champs in action, Clemson narrowly edged division rival Florida State for the top spot in the early going of the spring football game attendance leader board.

If history is any indication, Clemson will not remain on top for very long unless Mother Nature gets involved. Ohio State set the record last year with nearly 100,000 coming out to see the defending national champions. Urban Meyer is hoping to cross the 100,000-fan barrier this year. Alabama, Tennessee, Nebraska and Penn State are all traditionally big draws for spring football games as well, and they each have spring games still to be played.

When evaluating spring game attendance it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, every school handles the number differently. Some keep an actual count, while others merely give a rough estimate. Some do not even bother to keep track at all, which is why not every spring game attendance can be accounted for. Second, some spring games are held in a different venue than the football stadium. For example, Stanford held a spring scrimmage in a soccer stadium with a much smaller capacity. So take some of these numbers for what they are with all of that in mind.

Here are the most up-to-date spring game attendance numbers as of April 12, 2016 as provided by each school (note: schools with no attendance tracked are not included, as are schools that did not respond to College Football Talk via email on the subject);

  1. Clemson – 50,000
  2. Florida State – 49,913
  3. Florida – 46,000
  4. Auburn – 45,723 (read more about Auburn’s attendance)
  5. Oklahoma – 42,436
  6. Michigan – 35,000
  7. South Carolina – 32,916
  8. Texas A&M – 27,412
  9. BYU – 18,000
  10. Boise State – 6,100
  11. Colorado – 5,100
  12. UNLV – 2,800
  13. Stanford – 2,500
  14. Wake Forest – 2,100
  15. Nevada – 600
  16. Air Force – 500

All updates to this year’s spring game attendance database can be viewed HERE, and you can break the data down by conference.

UNLV hires Tony Samuel to coach defensive line

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER  7:  New Mexico State head coach Tony Samuel during the game with the California Golden Bears on September 7, 2002 at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. (Photo By Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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Tony, meet Tony.

On Wednesday UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez announced the hiring of Tony Samuel as the Rebels’ new defensive line coach. Samuel spent the 2015 season in a similar capacity at Georgia State, helping the Panthers jump from 121st nationally in yards per play allowed all the way to 43rd en route to the program’s first-ever bowl appearance.

“I’ve known Tony Samuel since 1997 and we have had a long-lasting relationship,” Sanchez said in a statement. “He’s a tremendous football coach with a proven track record of success and we are fortunate to have him at UNLV.”

Samuel jumped into coaching at Western Michigan in 1982 but made his name in the business during an 11-year stint as outside linebackers/rush ends coach for Tom Osborne at Nebraska. From there he deposited head coaching stints at New Mexico State (1997-04) and Southeast Missouri State (2006-13).

“I have stayed in touch with Tony since we first met when I was taking over at New Mexico State and there is a lot of familiarity with a lot of people on the staff,” Samuel said. “I am excited about the potential of what can happen at UNLV and looking forward to being a part of it.”

In 2015, UNLV finished 107th nationally in yards per play allowed, tied for 126th in tackles for loss and a dead last 128th in sacks.

UNLV losing an assistant to Arizona State

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Todd Graham of the Arizona State Sun Devils stands with his team before taking the field for the Territorial Cup college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 28, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Instead of losing an assistant as has ofttimes been the case of late, it appears Todd Graham is gaining one for his Arizona State coaching staff.

According to a report from the Arizona Republic, Graham is set to hire Joe Seumalo as the Sun Devils’ defensive line coach.  Seumalo would replace Jackie Shipp, who left earlier this month for the same job at Missouri.

Seumalo spent the 2015 season as the line coach at UNLV.  The Las Vegas Sun notes that Seumalo is the first assistant to leave the Rebels staff since Tony Sanchez took over the football program in December of 2014.

Prior to his time in Sin City, Seumalo spent six seasons as an assistant at Oregon State.  He was an assistant at Fresno State for one year before that.

The last six months, Graham has seen six assistants leave for various reasons.  The latest was Kodi Burns, who was hired as ASU’s running backs coach a month ago but left Monday for a job at his alma mater Auburn.  According to the Republic, and with Seumalo’s pending hire, “ASU’s defensive staff appears set.”

That leaves Graham with needing to find a replacement for Burns at running backs coach to complete his staff.  For now, at least.

UNLV would benefit from push to bring NFL, Raiders to Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip casinos are seen from the 550 foot-tall (167.6 m) High Roller observation wheel, the tallest in the world, in Las Vegas, Nevada April 9, 2014. The wheel is the centerpiece of the $550 million Linq project, a retail, dining and entertainment district by Caesars Entertainment Corp. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: TRAVEL BUSINESS SOCIETY CITYSCAPE)
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The St. Louis Rams are heading to Los Angeles. The San Diego Chargers may be joining them. While that may lead to some temporary overcrowding in the Los Angeles Coliseum for three seasons, the long-term picture sees a fabulous new football venue that could easily become a destination for college football on a regular basis, from neutral site early-season events to the possible relocation or alternating host site for the Pac-12 Championship Game to hosting College Football Playoff national title games. There is much to be excited about the NFL’s move to Los Angeles for college football fans. The same could eventually prove to be the case in Las Vegas, much to UNLV’s delight.

On Thursday reports surfaced about the push by Las Vegas Sands to work out a deal to work with UNLV to build a new “special events stadium” costing up to $1 billion on land owned by the university. UNLV reportedly owns 42 acres of land and that land is being called a “prime location” by Las Vegas Sands Corp., a giant name in the casino business. The company ideally would like to build a 65,000 seat stadium in southern Nevada, which would then be used as a sales pitch to lure the Oakland Raiders to the desert. Like the Rams and Chargers, the Raiders had contemplated a move out of Oakland, but the possible relocation to Los Angeles seemed to fall apart. The door for relocation, however, was not officially shut by the NFL franchise.

Andy Abboud, senior vice president of government relations and community development for Las Vegas Sands, says the stadium project will advance regardless of being able to get a franchise from the NFL.

“We are moving forward with the stadium concept with or without an NFL team,” Abboud said Thursday. “We see a lot more opportunities — conference championships, bowl games, NFL exhibition football, boxing, soccer, neutral site games, and music festivals. There is an entire segment out there.”

You would have to figure one of those segments would include UNLV football, since this would be on UNLV’s property. And that would be fantastic news for the Rebels. Sam Boyd Stadium has had a good run, and UNLV purchased the land with the intent of building a new home for the football program anyway. With a large backer like the Sands picking up the bulk of the tab for the new stadium, that is a pure win for UNLV football.

There are a few things worth noting here that should not be overlooked. Despite what is being said, it is very much a possibility the extent of the plans to build a stadium would be dependent on the NFL voting to allow the Raiders to move to Las Vegas. Given the NFL’s recent history against gambling (see daily sports leagues in New York), it is fair to say moving a franchise into the country’s gambling epicenter would be a long shot. But the NFL is in business for one reason and one reason only, and that is making money without ever really having to pay for it when possible. A commitment to build and fund a stadium project that could cost as much as $1 billion might seem attractive, and it would almost certainly spark interest. If Las Vegas can’t get an NFL team, the plans to build a top-of-the-line stadium probably get filed away for another time down the road.

With or without the NFL, if Las Vegas Sands is committed to building a new stadium for events, then UNLV will benefit as a result.