The Vanderbilt Commodores announced Wednesday that they will play a home-and-home series with the UNLV Rebels. The Rebels will come to Nashville on October 12, 2019, with the return game to be held in Las Vegas on September 16, 2023.
This likely completes the 2019 non-conference schedule for Vanderbilt: the Commodores are set to play Northern Illinois, Purdue, East Tennessee State and now UNLV in that year. Vanderbilt also now has three non-conference games scheduled for 2023, with UNLV joining Hawaii and Wake Forest on the schedule. The fourth game will likely be against an FCS opponent.
UNLV went 4-8 in 2016 and has gone 7-17 in two years under current coach Tony Sanchez. The Rebels have had just four winning seasons in the last thirty years and have made just three bowl games in that stretch, but they are scheduled to move into the new Las Vegas Stadium (being built for the NFL’s Raiders) in 2020.
While I’ve voiced my opinions about home-and-homes with smaller programs, there’s at least some rationale here: under Derek Mason, Vanderbilt has been recruiting the West fairly often and scheduling a game against a beatable team in that part of the country is probably not a bad idea from a recruiting standpoint. This appears to be the logic behind a 2022-23 home-and-home with Hawaii, as well as upcoming four-game series with Stanford and Colorado State.