All any coach's successful teams played good defense, Mike. But we get the point. And it's an important one for UTEP because it's defense has been ... undefensive? Like almost last in the land the last couple of years or three.
Sometimes you can figure how a team will fare in the coming season. Florida will be good. We know Texas and Oklahoma will both be close to 11-1. We know New Mexico State will still be awful, except when those Aggies play UTEP...
But UTEP (I know I'm not saying much so far in this blog) is a total question mark on defense. Yah, there were injuries galore last year. And it's not usually great shakes that a veteran defensive line returns. That can be as bad as it can be a plus. Same old guys.
I don't see UTEP getting good on defense this year. Maybe better, but not good. Haven't been in the past. No signs are being shown that these same guys can hit harder, and be in the right place on the field, with any more proficiency than last year.
Early won-lost prediction: 5-7.
Oh, and did you take note that UTEP's first opponent, Buffalo (Here Sept. 5) is picked to win its division of the MAC? Eh, with a new quarterback and a road game, I still have UTEP over Buff in the opener ... en route to a 5-7.