What the UTEP Miners did to the Rice Owls was impressive enough. What they have done with themselves is even more amazing.
UTEP dominated in all three facets of the game -- offense, defense and special teams -- en route to a rout of Rice, 44-24, setting records along the way while setting off a lot of thought as to just how good this team really is.
The meat of the Miners schedule is coming, but perhaps the slow build-up in confidence was just what the doctor ordered for a team that has found more than one way to fold a tent over the last few seasons. That includes a real muck job last season against this same Rice squad that included two fumbles in the final minutes of the game that allowed the Owls a come-from-behind win.
UTEP is now 5-1 and on the porchstep of bowl eligibility. That cannot and should not be overlooked, in part because of this stat: in the entire history of the program, only one coach has taken three Miners teams to bowl games. That was Mike Brumbelow in 1953, 54 and 56; and he only took them to their own Kidd Field locker room for the Sun Bowl game.
Sure, there were fewer bowls back then and Conference USA has tie-ins to seemingly half the games that exist today.
But if the Miners can win one more game, Mike Price will have equaled the pinnacle of post-season coaching accomplishment in UTEP's record book.
Call that sad if you want, but this is El Paso, not Austin; and it's still UTEP, not UT.
UTEP will take the small victories, hoping to turn them into bigger ones.