Poster RJ is right on. Coach Mike Price needs to put a good football team on the turf so UTEP stands ready when "going-bigger" opportunities arise.
Case in point: Boise State.
But, no, I don't think the MWC is doomed if BYU leaves to play independent football - if it even does. It's really hard for a BYU - or a TCU - to schedule 12 games when crowd-drawing opponents are concerned with their conference play. After Sept. 30, who wants to play a non-conference game, especially if its a game that's not of national interest, or a game that a team might well lose.
Back to UTEP: Get good. Stay there. Be ready!