The football season is a mere 38 days away. It's time to dust off the old keyboards and get hyped (or morose) about the upcoming season.
Here's some quick thoughts on the Miners' 2010 season.
UTEP will not win a game in November. Awaiting the Miners during the last stretch of their slate will be SMU, my pick to win Conference USA’s West Division; Arkansas, a dark horse to win the Southeastern Conference and perhaps be ranked in the top five nationally by November; and a road finale against Tulsa where UTEP has not won since a 40-7 rout in 2000.That means the Miners have to win six of their first nine games to be bowl eligible.
Give UTEP wins in its opener against FCS school Arkansas-Pine Bluff as well as the sweep of New Mexico schools (NMSU, Sept. 18; UNM, Oct. 2). Sandwiched between these three games are what should be losses at home against Memphis and on the road against Houston. The Cougars have all-world quarterback Case Keenum and revenge on their minds in a Friday night game in front of ESPN cameras. Tough environment for the Miners. Memphis ran all over UTEP in 2009, and with its offensive line returning intact, it’s difficult not to expect the same result. The game will be in the Sun Bowl though.
Given all that, a four-game stretch in October becomes key for the Miners — Rice, Oct. 9; at UAB, Oct. 16; Tulane, Oct. 23; at Marshall, Oct. 30. UTEP must win three of those games, including at least one on the road to become bowl eligible.
We’ll know by Halloween if the Miners are in for a scary year.