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March 04, 2009


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Toasted Whitebred

We have a better chance at going bowling in CUSA.

Conferences W-L
Pac-10 5-0
SEC 6-2
Big East 4-2
C-USA 4-2
Mountain West 3-2
Big 12 4-3
Sun Belt 1-1
ACC 4-6
WAC 1-4
Big Ten 1-6
MAC 0-5


Both NMSU and Utep went into the WAC and C-USA at the same.
However, Utep is still trying to find that conference rivalry while, NMSU has few heated rivalries!!

Thank you Joe for making me look like an ESPN analyst! Hard to believe I do this for free, huh?


The only rivalry the Aggies have in the WAC is in volleyball [NMSU V. Hawaii] come on. Go back to the Sun-Belt.

The move to C-USA was the brain child of Bob Stull so blame that genius. He thought it would've lead to more exposure. Should have keep ISP out of it an maybe we might have. The one positive would have been if Louisville and Cinci would have stayed maybe then we’d actually get to see more then one televised basketball game...


Well I also agree with Joe but I take a different perspective than Aggietude. The move to C-USA makes more sense on a regional level (the west division) and on a recruiting level.

And UTEP has no real rival in the WAC outside of NMSU. Staying in the WAC just to play the Aggies just doesn't make much sense (especially because the Miners and Aggies play every year already)

Plus, I do have to Agree with Aggietude that NMSU has developed a great rivalry with Nevada, and maybe with Utah St. to a lesser extent. But those are basketball
rivalries. The Aggies still have no rivals in football.

Like Aggietude mentioned in one of my previous posts, you actually have to beat teams for it to be considered a rivalry.

UTEP on the other hand, DOES have rivals in C-USA.

Tulsa and Houston. UTEP has played these teams close, and beat them during their time in C-USA. And aside from Tulsa's thumping last year, all the games have been competative. Many of the games have been the best in UTEP football history.

UTEP's rivalry with Houston and tulsa have also crossed over to basketball, unlike NMSU's rivalry with Utah St. and Nevada.

But its the football games that have brought some of the best Miner memories..

Who can forget when Vittatoe threw a game winning touchdown to Joe West with a mintue left to upset Tulsa in 07.

Or what about the beautiful side line catch by Chris Francies which tied the game and set up the game winning field goal by Schnieder in 05.

Or the amazing come from behind game against Houston that went into overtime the very same year.

Even many of the games UTEP has lost against Tulsa or Houston have come down to the last drive. Like last years game against Houston.

Those are rivalry caliber games.

The problem is not that UTEP has no rivals in C-USA (because it does) the probelm is that UTEP has lost its competative edge the last couple of seasons. They haven't been winning and thats caused people to lose interest regardless of who you are playing.

Just look at the UTEP/NMSU rivalry, attendance rates in those games have even dropped off.


good call on the houston/tulsa rivalries jon. ive been saying that to deaf ears for awhile now.

to lesser extent you can count rice as well. like when q.demps intercepted that pass in double or triple overtime and when we went to crush rice in houston only to blow a HUGE 4th quarter lead.

Grease Fire

I agree w/ Joe and Aggietude. Utep is still searching for that C-USA rivalry.

You can say Houston, SMU, Rice, etc. but it's not close to being a rivalry...it's just another conference game.
Maybe it's true that El Paso is more of a New Mexico suburb than a part of Texas?

The WAC schools are a bit jealous that the "new kid on the block" has twice hosted the WAC tourney, won the WAC tourney and won a share of the WAC title, all in years 2 & 3 of the WAC.

Heck, Nevada spear headed a failed effort to take the WAC tourney away because they felt NMSU fans would harm opposing team players!

Thus, NMSU is not very popular in the WAC and rivalries have developed pretty quickly. As a a fan, you have to love these rivalries!


Wow, this argument never seems old...

Bottom line, i seriously doubt UTEP evers gets invited to the Mountain West unless some weird shake up happens, i.e Pac-10 invites BYU and Utah.

I even think the MWC would even take Boise St. now over UTEP because of its FB program.

And give me a break aggie bloggers... rivalries? have you looked at ur attendance for these so called rivalry games? 7k for Utah St. 7k for Nevada, Boise? Hell Utep gets that when we play Marshall...I will give credit when credits due, the WAC tourney in Cruces was a success, but that excitement hasnt rolled over into this year.

But i'm not ready to throw NMSU to the wolves yet, My dream situation for UTEP would be for us to break off CUSA with the other West division schools to form a new Southwest Conference with *NMSU.

That would give us 7 teams, maybe try and get Nevada and Utah State to give us a solid 9. Teams can even make the old WAC style road swings.

But back to reality, I think CUSA is just fine for us right now, I think fan interest isnt there because whatever TV deal we have restricts fans in El Paso to see Utep on the road.

But it takes time, I like us playing Tulsa and Houston twice every year. I like us playing them in football every year. Check other UTEP blogs, fans from those schools dont like us, Its not BYU, but its still pretty interesting.

I get the argument for the non-interest in the East schools, but I counter with the fact that our highest attended games this year in BBall have been against UAB and Memphis. And we dont play those east schools every year in FB.

I am probably biased because I can see Utep play more now because I live in DFW, but I dont see the point of us leaving CUSA.

And when it comes down to it, when UTEP is good in either FB or Bball, the fans will show up no matter who it is, The Don used to get packed during the Fili years when La Tech rolled into town!


Just another conference game?

Have you been to any of the Houston/Tulsa games? Those games are full of intensity and drama. They have been some of the best games in UTEP's history.

Even this past season against Houston, when Fergeson intercepting the two point conversion, giving the lead back to UTEP, forcing Houston to put together another games winning drive.

Thats a rivalry game. plus those schools don't like us. Trust me, tulsa and houston know exactly who, and where UTEP is because we keep exchanging blows with them year in and year out.

And UTEP's history with Tulsa dates back to their days in the WAC. They have history with each other.

Oh and RJ makes a great point that I had completely forgotten about. The majority of UTEP Alummni do not live in El Paso. The vast majority of them have moved to DFW, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. there is a huge Miner fan base in east Texas.

There are hardly any fans in the areas of the current WAC schools.


Nice win last night. One more before conference.


If we're talking basketball, the only rivalry I see with lots of potential in Conference USA is Houston.

Now if we're still talking basketball and if I had the power to do so I would make a new conference similar to the old WAC.

These would be my teams:

Arizona State
New Mexico
Texas Tech

Each team has a potential big "Regional Rival" as well as many potential rivalries.

Anyhow, I think this conference would turn out to be a pretty good one. Many of these teams are already rivals and/or have a traditioned rivalry with one or more schools.


you know who would make a great rival...santa clara
its been months since the shady game(my conspiracy theory is at least one ref had his hand in the pot) and i still get angry everytime that game gets brought up

Tom Avila

There is no way that the MWC would invite UTEP. Heck they didn't even invite UTEP the first time during that secret meeting at the Denver airport. I despise the MWC. They have devised a football playoff format that includes only the MWC and no other non-BCS conference. I think UTEP is fine being in the C-USA. I believe that it is good exposure for the East Coast. We do have rivaleries with Tulsa and Houston.

Toasted Whitebred

You know, Boise St. doesn't have a lot to offer the Mountain West.

Ok, let me splain. The have a very good football program - granted. But they don't have a baseball team (sound familiar), they don't have a very good basketball program and did you ever try to recruit in Idaho. Great fries but not much else out there.

Fresno St. has good programs all around.

Houston same

Tulsa - more or less

UTEP??? Decent football and basketball programs, good womens' basketball, great air-rifle team - hey Airforce would appreciate the competition.

What do we have to offer? Well, when the MW split from the old WAC there was talk about the MWC wanting to strike a deal with El Paso for the Sun Bowl.

At that time, it didn't make sense for Sunny to change for the sake of UTEP and a new conference but after 4 or 5 Oregan v Missouri Sunnys and a few BCS appearances by the MWC later, it makes MORE sense now.

MWC has a TV deal with CBS. Are the MWC and CBS happy with the MWCs bowl tie-ins. They currently are associated with the Ft. Worth, Las Vegas, New Mexico and Poinsettia bowls. OUCH!

How much longer can Sunny parlay their good luck with CBS into a network bowl telecast? Could Sunny suggest that the MWCs best team play in the Sun Bowl new year's day?

Just food for thought.


So what makes a rivalry? Here's my personal criteria.

1). You have to win a game to be in a rivalry. Playing a team close every time and losing doesn't count.

2). If UTEP and NMSU are traveling and Houston, Tulsa, Nevada, Utah St. etc. fans show up in big numbers.

I saw the game at Houston and the Arena was pretty bare. I can't comment on the Tulsa game since I did not see it.

I did see the Nevada game on ESPN and the Utah St. game and those places looked pretty packed!

The easiest way to determine if it is a rivalry is if opposing fans show up to see the miners and the Aggies because, they really get up for these games, right?

What do you guys think?


Toasted Whitebred,

I disagree on Boise. They recruit a bunch from the West Coast in football. They get excellent players, equal to Washington and Washington State because of their proximity to the region. Their basketball team hasn't done anything, but they did go to the NCAA tournament last year and are near the top of their conference this year.

The MWC would love to have the Sun Bowl, only without UTEP. The Miners bring nothing to the mix for them. The only thing the Miners have is a basketball championship won so long ago that the people who saw that game are all graying grandparents now. Really, does anyone care that Army won a football championship in 1944 or that Chicago Loyola won the basketball championship three years prior to Texas Western? A championship won 43 years ago means squat to the MWC and everyone else except those in El Paso desperate to hang onto some little bit of glory that will never ever happen again.


The reality is the problem with TV coverage. What NMSU is doing is great for the program. You can watch most of their away and home games on cable. While the Miner fans don't really get to see their team on the road like it used to be back in the 80's when they preempted regular TV to show them play at BYU, UNM, etc. The team was out there. Everything revolves in a circle. Maybe the powers that be should look back to past.


I don't know how much TV coverage has to do with it, but I do see the Aggies on TV every week, and that's by accident. By the way, that freshman kid, Gilenwalter, I think that is his name for the Aggies, can flat play. He's better than any of our freshmen.

I almost never see the Miners on TV. It's too bad because if the fans in the city were more familiar with the Miner team, they actually might attend more home games.


I don't think that Gillenwater is better than Arnette Moultrie


Gilenwater scores 12 points a game and gets 4 rebounds. Moultrie scores 7 points and gets 7 rebounds. A slight edge statistically to Gilenwater.

My point was really about television coverage. Even the Aggie women's team gets in on the action. They are on comcast cable tonight.


Well UTEP beat USM for a 19-11 record to end the season and a 4th place finish in C-USA and a first round by the conference tournament.

Not bad for a team that...

Runs no offense

Can't play defense

Has a coach who can't coach

does not have a talented point guard

No talented freshman

only one legitimate scorer

Are there any other complaints I'm missing? I swear with all the complaining I have heard this season i would have thought this team was somewhere near the bottom of the conference.

NMSU barely finished over .500 and they haven't complained and whined about their team anywhere near as much as Miner fans.

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UTEP sports blog: Joe Muench has been a sports writer and a sports editor in El Paso for decades, but he’s best known as the columnist everyone loves to talk about. His UTEP athletics blog starts up the conversation again.

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