Never argue with Math. As much as we may hate the un-sweet science for being the boorish know-it-all who can't resist telling you so, it is always right.
Miner Math has been easy to figure. More often than not over the years, a glance at the numbers on the scoreboard spells out a simple equation: (Opponent's Score) > (UTEP's Score).
Put another way, (Opponent's Score) - (UTEP's Score) = a positive number.
Positive number? If you follow the Miners, what's so positive about Tulane 34, UTEP 24?
See? Math sucks.
But it's the cold, hard, unmitigated truth.
Don't spit your beverage all over your display, but Math also says UTEP is 5-3 and if it wins one more game it will more than likely go to a bowl.
Fans can rant about Mike Price and scream for change, but if the Miners manage to get to that bowl, Price will have put UTEP in more bowl games than any coach in the history of the program save Mike Brumbelow who had three -- a nice little run that began exactly 60 years ago.
Yes, there weren't nearly as many bowls in the 1950's, and Brumbelow won two of them. But to what exotic locale did Texas Western go for all three of those games?
To its own Kidd Field locker room. For the Sun Bowl.
Now it's Math and History doing a tag team.
How about this one -- Mike Price is one of only three men who coached for multiple seasons to never have fewer than four wins. Bob Stull and Bobby Dobbs, considered to be the best coaches UTEP has had, are the only other ones, and Stull was here for just three years.
As for booster bloodlust, calmase. Says here that Price wants to retire after this season.
He won't say so, but there are two reasons for this. First, Price has always been close to his quarterbacks and Trevor Vittatoe is no exception.
Vittatoe is also a senior and there is currently no blue chip signal caller to replace him, though if anyone could find a great juco or high school QB it's Price.
Second, coaching jobs like UTEP wear men down. Price wants to leave the Miners as a winner, but he wants to leave. He's in his 60's, was kissed by Sports Illustrated's swimsuit models -- or by the money they reap, anyway -- and has trod up and down Sun Bowl Road for seven seasons.
You thought the Chilean miners spent a long time in a hole, try the UTEP Miners. Try excavating a program buried for years by a lack of funding, geographic isolation and now -- once again -- apathy.
This is no call to get fans out to games, simply that when Price goes -- retired or fired -- I'm not so sure UTEP finds a better coach for the job.
Not unless fans are willing to shell out five times what they now pay for tickets. Not unless an earthquake swallows up a few hundred miles of I-10 and parks El Paso next to the Governor's mansion.
Fans see the Sun Bowl and the Durham Center and other UTEP facilities and declare, We should not be a losing program!
Really? In what fantasy world? By modern tee-ball standards, where little Billy swings until he hits the ball then gets a trophy?
Sports is about winning and losing; thus it's a tough business, football especially. No other sport demands that every little piece work exactly so over the course of 60 minutes, much less 60 years.
More math: Big-Time Programs = Big + Time.
Like a stalactite, traditional football powers have added layer upon layer of mineral -- money, fan support, on-field success -- over time.
You can't just wish one up. That's ignoring the math.
Would that we could.