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March 03, 2009


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I wonder with all the poor home attendance IF someone has done a study as to how we benefit FINANCIALLY from being a member of C-USA... Just wondering IF being a member of the WAC would make a difference in interest



Maybe it would make a difference in interest. HOWEVER, UTEP administration made the decision to go CUSA, and a move back to the WAC would be an acknowledgment that they made a big mistake.

We already see that it has done nothing for us in football. The WAC generally gets more PR for being in the BCS series two of the last four years. In basketball, Memphis gets noticed in CUSA, and that's good, but that's it. Like the WAC, CUSA is a one league bid league. And we already see the Aggies on TV two out of three games they play, like last night on a local and also on another regional channel, so we know what the TV contract has done.

It kind of comes down to the fans. Who do we identify with? The teams east of us, or the teams west of us? I, like the late, great Don Haskins, prefer a move back to the WAC. It will never, ever happen.


I know people feel that the WAC is the conference UTEP should be in but am I the only who sees that the WAC of today is not UTEP's WAC?

I mean outside of NMSU (who we play every year anyway) what team in the conference is a rival? Idaho? Nevada? SJSU?

I know some of you will say Boise St. or Fresno St are rivals but we are just an after thought to those teams. On top of that both those teams joined the conference only a few years before UTEP left. So when fans are having flash backs of the good old rivalries, those two teams can't be a part of it because they didn't play against each other long enough to develope any rivalry.

The only real rival left in the WAC is Hawai'i and even then they were a stretch because of the distance. In reality, UTEP's rivals the last few years in the WAC left to C-USA with UTEP. Thats right, SMU, Rice and Tulsa are all bigger rivals to UTEP than any of the teams currently in the WAC. (Aside from NMSU)

Again, aside from NMSU, UTEP has no history with any of the current teams in the WAC. 6 of the 9 Current members have been in the conference less than 10 years. And UTEP left 4 years ago. So the arguement that Fans are more familiar with the teams in the WAC is another one of those Myths that has been created.

And people keep talking about all this great exposure that UTEP is missing out on because of the BCS success of Boise St.
Drury is right about the great exposure BOISE ST. is getting. But like the point he made about Memphis basketball in C-USA, nobody cares about the other teams in the WAC. And if you bring up Hawaii, people around the country say "what a big mistake it was to put them in a BCS game." and they have fallen into obscurity once again.

People, lets get real here,

UTEP won't benefit from any national exposure Boise St. recieves in football if the miners were still in the WAC. NMSU hasn't. Just like UTEP hasn't benefited from the national exposure Memphis recieves in basketball. Same principals apply.

It's Boise St...... and the WAC

It's Memphis...... and C-USA

Nobody cares about the other teams.

So please stop this "we were better off in the WAC" talk because we wouldn't be.

Just come out and say it people, UTEP does not want to be in the WAC, and the Fans don't want to be in the current WAC.

They want to be in the old WAC.

They want to be in the Mtn. West!


Sometimes you have to gamble.
NMSU sold $2 tickets for it's last FB game and it helped the attendance numbers. It was something that was needed after Hal Dumme alienated the community!!!

However, what does Utep have to gain with increased attendence? It's not like they are going to lose their D-1 status, right?
Maybe they are trying to improve attendance to host the C-USA tournament some day?

As far as the WAC. You guys should have stayed.
NMSU has a real nice WAC rivalry with Nevada, and Utah St. in FB and BB.
If Utep were in the WAC, Utep/ NMSU would be the biggest, baddest rivalry in the WAC!!

But, who is Utep's real conference rivalry?? ECU? UCF? Tulane?

Sorry guys but the C-USA move has been a bust and an expensive one (travel) too.


Disclaimer: anything I am about too say about the WAC does not include NMSU.

Aggietude, I have to disagree with you, although Nevada and Utah St. make great rivals for NMSU, those schools, Historically, mean nothing to UTEP. NMSU has never really had any conference rivals before coming to the WAC. So naturally it is easier for NMSU to develop new rivalries in their new conference.

UTEP on the other hand has had great conference rivals, but none of them remain in the WAC. Maybe Hawai'i but only because they were the senior members of the conference after everybody else left.

I mean UTEP and Utah St? SJSU? Idaho? Boise St? Fresno St?

UTEP has no geographical rivalry with these guys or historical rivalry with them.

And to answer your question about who is UTEP's rival in C-USA. Easy, two big ones

Tulsa, which dates back to both teams time in the WAC and especially their basketball history.

Houston, both teams have a rich basketball history and the rivalry was just a natural thing. Plus both are Texas schools.

On top of that the rivalries, unlike NMSU's rivalries with Utah St. and Nevada, cross both Basketball and football lines. UTEP has been competative in football with these schools and when these teams meet up you never know who will win even with how bad UTEP has been the last couple of years. Every game with these schools have been nail-bitters.... Thats a rivalry.

UTEP has also developed a rivalry with memphis in basketball because of all the connections the teams have with each other.

Unlike when Boise St. plays NMSU in football (where nobody on Boise St. really cares about NMSU) when Memphis plays UTEP, there is so much more of a connection and respect for each other and Memphis really wants to beat UTEP.

But for it to really become a rivalry, UTEP has start winning some games in the series.

But like I said before, nobody really cares about the current WAC at UTEP.

SJSU is like ECU to UTEP
Idaho is like UCF
Utah St. is like Tulane

Outside of NMSU, there is nothing in the WAC for UTEP. At least in C-USA UTEP gets to play their Texas rivals, and thats were their recruiting base is. So it makes more logical sense.

Once again, UTEP does want to be in the WAC,

They want to be in the Mountain West
They want...

UNLV not Nevada
Utah not Utah St.
BYU not Boise St.

UNM, TCU, Air force.... those are UTEP's rivals, not these replacements that are currently in the WAC.


Oh and to answer the question of why UTEP is 17-11, I think its because of the inconsistant play due to the lack of experience and youth of the team at both the player level and coaching level.

Both will get better with time.

Toasted Whitebred

Thank you Jon. At least someone sees the light.

As for the WAC. Nothing exciting about it. If we're recruiting in Texas, how are our recruits families going to watch them play or keep up with them? We'd have to schedule more non-conference games against the likes of TCU and Texas Tech. And what happens when Boise bolts to the Mountain West. Their one trick pony is gone. The conference we should strive to be in is the Mountain West. They have more natural rivals ala BYU, UTAH, UNM, TCU...soon Boise state. It will be a true power conference. They won't have us though.

So...seeing as how Rice, Tulsa, SMU and Houston give us some visibility in Texas along with the occasional game against Big 12 powers and the fact that CUSA has more juice than the WAC, we have to stay. But what happens when Memphis bolts???

just a thought

Jon is mostly correct except that I still think we have a little history with Fresno and San Jose St. or maybe it's just me. I can remember being heckled so badly by Fresno St. fans that the players were actually biting their lips trying not to laugh during time out huddles. Good times.

Football-wise fans still get up from playing the big boys and we don't have any in C-USA -- at least any that El Paso cares about. UTEP fans don't identify with C-USA football stud teams right now. UCF, East Carolina, and Southern Miss (all three played in the last few Championship games)? Give me a break. 90% of UTEP fans couldn't find these Universities on a map with a 50-50 lifeline and an "ask the audience".

Football would definitely be more interesting with Boise and Fresno St. around. Imagine Pat Hill coming to town? Hawaii loves El Paso for some reason. The Nevada Wolfpack are pretty darn good. NMSU could be scheduled the last weekend of the season like Michigan/Ohio State and other rivalries. Then it would REALLY count for something due to conference standings. Jon is correct that UTEP would rather be in the Mtn. West to play our old buddies but if given the opportunity to take C-USA or the new WAC -- umm I'll take the WAC.

With regards to recruting base, I'm not so sure we're not a melting pot. MP likes Cali and Arizona while Barbee loves Memphis. We aren't coming very close to winning C-USA Championships in football/basketball and attendance is nose-diving faster than the economy. Why not?


You say Utep and Memphis have developed a rivalry in BB. Sorry my friend but, you need to win a game in order to be a rivalry, right? Playing a close game doesn't count.
Last I heard, Memphis has won 50 some conference games. It's more a domination than rivalry.

On to Football:
So you would rather play no names like, Tulane, Marshall, Memphis over BCS watchers, Fresno St. Hawaii, Boise St?
C'mon, man! C-USA is not sexy enough and the local fans know it. They would rather watch the current WAC teams on Saturdays vs. C-USA teams.

Also, If you guys are so in love with the Mountain West. Maybe you should ask them to make you a conference member?

As for me (and maybe JAT), I love the current Wacky WAC!!

Note to self:
I said all that and never mentioned NMSU!!

just a thought

Lose to teams you hate or lose to teams you could care less about -- that is the issue. Passion sells tickets, not strange teams closer to the Atlantic Ocean than us. Don't say C-USA talent is better. All things being equal go with what you know.

2009 NFL Combine invitees by Conference:

SEC … 55
Big Ten … 45
Pac-10 … 43
ACC … 42
Big 12 … 41
Big East … 25
FCS … 19
WAC … 16
C-USA … 15
MWC … 12
MAC … 7
Division II … 7
Sun Belt … 2
Independents … 2
Division III … 1

just a thought

The talent is about even so that is not the issue:

SEC … 55
Big Ten … 45
Pac-10 … 43
ACC … 42
Big 12 … 41
Big East … 25
FCS … 19
WAC … 16
C-USA … 15
MWC … 12
MAC … 7
Division II … 7
Sun Belt … 2
Independents … 2
Division III … 1


Interesting argument about UTEP and the WAC, but pointless. The Miners will never join the WAC or the MWC. MWC didn't want UTEP then and it doesn't now. The WAC might, but admin would never do it.

The Miners, for good or ill, belong where they are in CUSA. Let's hope that Memphis continues to like being the top dog of the conference.


All this can be settled with one word:
WIN! Once the Miners produce winning football and basketball teams, you will see rivals galore, regardless of the conference they are in.


Aggietude, if you read my post I specifically said for Memphis and UTEP to really be a rival, UTEP has to win some games. So I beat you to the punch in your own arguement against me.

As for your BCS watchers, Boise St. is a legitimate BCS threat every years.

Hawai'i was a one year wonder and proved that they didn't belong in the game when Georgia destroyed them. Plus the have fallen back to reality and are no longer a threat to even win the WAC, much less a BCS bid.

Fresno St. has never threaten the BCS. They are always in the Pre-season talks but always lose their non-conference games.

C-USA has something going with ECU, Tulsa and UCF when it comes to BCS watchers.

But back to the point, C-USA is just a better fit for UTEP with all the Texas schools and Tulsa in OK. Even though UTEP does recruit some players from Arizona and Cali, about 75% to 80% of the team is from Texas. And most of these players come from the Houston or Dallas areas. (UH, Rice, SMU)

Even if the fans don't feel a rivalry to these teams, the players do because these are their home town schools.


Am I confused or was this blog's title "UTEP's bad gamble"? Because all I see are post about WAC this C-USA that. UTEP is fine where they are at rivalries are gimmicks that don't work. If a UTEP fan can even show up for a "rival" a couple of miles down I 10 they are not going to show up for any one else. Unless it's the Longhorns then El Paso becomes margarita-ville with all the flip-flops.

The $6.50 ticket purpose is to diagnose the problem which no one seems to know whether it is the cost, coach, players, fans, opponents, atmosphere or marketing. By eliminating one (cost) it makes it easier to blame the rest.


Five dollar gamble paid off, Joe. More than ten thousand fans.


Oh, I forgot to say. Wrong again, Joe.

Toasted Whitebred

Great effort by the Miners last night. Great atmosphere. Stephon Jackson is really a class act and we might not see anyone like him again in a long time.

UAB which is having a season not much better than the Miners started 3 seniors and 2 Juniors. Miners started 1 freshman, 2 sophs and their only two seniors and dominated a good team.

Joe you were wrong on another count. Miners will finish better than 17 and 13 this year.

Tom Avila

Stop with the MWC and WAC talk. When MWC expanded they looked at UTEP but only for a tie-in to the Sun Bowl game and that was the only way they would take UTEP. But the Sun Bowl game does not belong to UTEP so MWC looked elsewhere. When UNLV came here last season or the season before the Don was not even packed. As for the current WAC I think it is boring. The only team only team of importance is Boise St. Being in the C-USA exposes us to the rest of Texas and we are able to play the other Texas schools. With June Jones at SMU in two years he will have them flying and it should be interesting to see them and UTEP.

Raymond Gonzalez

Coach Joe
I could not find a way to get you a note so I using this part of the blog... I am frustrated the way UIL treats El Paso High Schools...the earlier Bi-District and out of town games...the teams met half way...commendable. Now El Dorado and Andress advance and what does UIL do...Send Duncanville a skip and a hop from South Dallas to Ft. Worth...El Dorado? ...a forever trip. The same holds for Andress' opponet...down the block... and Andress? a forever trip to Abileen. Why? These guys (UIL)have never been challenged! The El Paso area school districts have to complain. My son does not attend either of these schools (Hanks), but I feel it was unfair for both of these EP schools.

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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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