Stock was rising for the UTEP Miners following a seven-win 2021 season. With much of the team back for 2022, El Paso figured to be bowling for the second consecutive season for only the second time in school history. Instead, a five-win 2022 brought the shares, and the players, back to earth. Head coach Dana Dimel hopes the returned chip to their shoulders, as well as a new-look Conference USA schedule, can propel his Miners back to the postseason.
2022 record: 5-7
2023 prediction: 6-6
BIGGEST GAME – vs. New Mexico State on Oct. 18
UTEP and New Mexico State have played a lot of football games against each other in a rivalry that dates back to 1914 in Las Cruces. The 2023 matchup is the 100th meeting between the two foes, and this one might mean more than any other as the pair square off as Conference USA teams for the first time. The 100th Battle of I-10 will be settled in El Paso on a Wednesday night. The Miners are on a two-game winning streak in the rivalry and figure to be the favorites in mid-October.
TRAP GAME – vs. Incarnate Word on Sept. 2
Ask Texas State if UIW is a guaranteed win. The Cardinals lost most of their production and many of their coaches following a semifinal run in the FCS playoffs last season. Still, UIW has proven to be a perennial contender under multiple coaches. Chris Killough hopes to be the next. This game is in Week 1, but it’ll be the second game of the season for the Miners. They open on the road in Week 0 against Jax State. Returning home after a win or a loss to get hyped for a game against an FCS opponent might prove challenging for Dimel’s squad. UTEP played down to its competition in much of 2022.
UPSET POTENTIAL – vs. Liberty on Nov. 25
The last week of the season could prove crucial for the Miners if a bowl bid is hanging in the balance. The final two home games of the season are against the two betting favorites to win C-USA – Western Kentucky and Liberty. We’ll pick Liberty as the potential upset pick because it’ll be senior day and Liberty might not have as much to play for depending on how the season turns out.
This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.