He's entering his fourth year as a head coach and the heat is on. He has only six wins to show for his efforts after the first three years and boosters are growing impatient.

His team was picked to finish last in the conference and is rated as one of the worst programs in the country by a coffee table full of national publications.

And when Utah State visits UNLV on Saturday, he might be looking at the season-opener as a "must-win" game.

His name, however, is not Brent Guy. Rather, it's Mike Sanford and he is every bit as much on the coaching hot seat as his counterpart in Logan.

"It's huge," Sanford said. "It's very important. I really believe that we are a better football team than we were, and we have to show that."

Like Guy, who is under pressure to produce more wins, Sanford expected more success than he's experienced. UNLV won only two games last season — against Utah State in the opener and a shocking shutout of Utah a few weeks later. After that, the Rebels lost eight straight games.

"We feel a sense of urgency to win," Sanford said.

The same feeling is making the rounds in Logan. Though USU has two consecutive wins to draw confidence from, the general state of the program has Guy and his staff looking for a win to get the season started properly.

"Mike and I inherited some pretty similar situations in personnel and lack of scholarships," Guy said.

Utah State at UNLV

Saturday, 8 p.m.

TV: None

Radio: 1320 AM (SLC),

610 AM (Logan)


E-mail: [email protected]