The easiest way to win college football games is to outrecruit other schools in your home base. That may well be possible in a decade or so for UTEP, but while El Paso high school football is rapidly improving, the Miners can't yet win 10 games a year by devoting a significant number of scholarships to local players.
To win, they have to recruit Southern California, Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. That means outrecruiting SMU and TCU in the Metroplex, outrecruiting the University of Houston in Houston, outrecruiting San Diego State in Southern California and outrecruiting schools like UNLV in Arizona.
UTEP can sell some things those other schools can't. Sun Bowl crowds were dismal by UTEP standards this year, but SMU would be elated to draw 25,000 a game. Houston was crowing when they were getting 32,000 early in the year. The same people who come on message boards and complain about UTEP going 6-7 are ultimately a long-term strength of the program -- there is a passion here that is lacked in other places.
Still, El Paso is a remote place and most people in Dallas or Houston think their city is 10 times after than El Paso, not the exact opposite. UTEP's best hope for the future is for the continue improvement of El Paso high school football. Until that happens, this is not going to be a 10-win program on a consistent basis.