Schedule Analysis: UTEP Miners

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Scotty Walden won his first offseason in El Paso. He's a human adrenaline shot for a program that's had two winning seasons since 2006, sprinting around UTEP's basketball court in full chest paint and emceeing in front of 4,000 fans at the spring game. There's substance to the spark - in two months, his staff signed the best recruiting class in Conference USA, per Rivals.

But the biggest test begins Aug. 31 against Nebraska. Success won't be determined by the win-loss record in 2024 - a winning record is unlikely with an overhauled roster. Does Walden's energy persist through a daunting early stretch? Do the UTEP fans reciprocate with support at the Sun Bowl? Those questions determine whether or not Walden wins Year One.


2023 record: 3-9 
2024 record prediction: 4-8

BIGGEST GAME – at New Mexico State Nov. 30

UTEP in all likelihood will not go bowling in 2024. The final game of the year against New Mexico State can propel them into the offseason with a positive trajectory, or a letdown. The Battle of I-10 will pit two first-year coaches leading rebuilds against each other. Tony Sanchez coached the Aggies wide receivers last season, but was a slightly puzzling replacement for Jerry Kill considering his 20–40 record over five seasons at UNLV.  

TRAP GAME – vs Southern Utah on Sep. 7

Walden is not overlooking FCS Southern Utah, who dropped 45 points on his Austin Peay team last season. But with the excitement of the home opener sandwiched in between a trip to Nebraska and a bout with reigning Conference USA champion Liberty, he must ensure his players stay focused on the task at hand. Considering this is the second game of the season, UTEP will be far from a finished product transitioning to new schemes.

POTENTIAL UPSET – at Western Kentucky Oct 10

This upset pick depends on UTEP's health after a brutal opening stretch. Western Kentucky boasted Conference USA's best passing offense last season but must replace quarterback Austin Reed and all-conference wide receiver Malachi Corley. The Hilltoppers were offense dependent in 2023, finishing second-to-last in total defense, and Walden is an offensive coach by trade who could exploit that. If the Miners win, they could go on a streak against FIU, La Tech, Middle Tennessee and Kennesaw State.


Aug. 31  at Nebraska
Sep. 7 vs. Southern Utah
Sep. 14 at Liberty
Sep. 21 at Colorado State
Oct. 3 vs. Sam Houston
Oct. 10 at Western Kentucky
Oct. 16 vs. FIU
Oct. 22 at LA Tech
Nov. 2 vs Middle Tennesse
Nov. 9 vs Kennesaw State
Nov. 23 at Tennessee
Nov. 30 at New Mexico State

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