Great fan base. Good tradition. A remote location in the great state of Texas. A mascot that craves gold, or any source of wealth for that matter.
In a lot of ways UTEP is very similar to Texas Tech.
However unlike Texas Tech, who has had a tough time competing with college football's biggest heavyweights such as Texas and Oklahoma for conference titles in the Big 12, UTEP has spent a majority of the time competing with also-rans in the WAC and CUSA with minimal success.
For a school in Texas who has been playing football since 1914, UTEP's resume is pretty disappointing. The Miners have won two conference titles in their entire existence. None of them as a member of CUSA.
But despite their underwhelming success UTEP is the only member of CUSA who seems to always be involved in expansion talks. A lot of that is centered on location but at least some it is what UTEP can potentially bring to the table.
Being in Texas will always give UTEP the benefit of the doubt even if history suggests otherwise.
- El Paso, Texas, is extremely west so you are far from just about everything but you still are in Texas and Dallas isn't too far. Texas recruits may have a tough time getting there but once there the city of El Paso is beautiful. It also helps that UTEP is often the biggest show in town.
- Unlike many CUSA schools UTEP has some tradition.
- The fan base is very passionate.
- The Sun Bowl may be old but its an historical venue and a plus for UTEP football.
- An outpost in CUSA.
- They do have tradition, but not a lot of winning tradition despite playing football since 1914.
Making the case for why UTEP should be higher: Alex Nichols, site manager at MinerRush.com.
Personally, I think UTEP is ranked just right. Although UTEP's potential under Kugler is certainly high around UTEP fans and boosters in El Paso, that doesn't make the UTEP job any sexier to folks in other CUSA cities.
I think the only reason UTEP deserves to be in the top-10 of the C-USA rankings is because Mike Price showed that if you win, UTEP has the chance to be a "G5 Power," but doing that consistently is the toughest task a UTEP head football coach has. It's hard for a coach to consistently bring in Texas recruits on campus for official visits during the season like a North Texas, UTSA, or even Rice.
One could argue "UTEP is trash," "Haven't had a player drafted since '08," but potential, and a rabid fan base keeps UTEP in the top-10.
If this was based on potential alone, UTEP could have an argument for a top-5 ranking, but once again the lack of consistency not only in the win column, but the athletic department's feet dragging during the latter part of Mike Price's tenure accurately justifies UTEP's current standing among their current CUSA peers.
If you're playing NCAA Football in an online dynasty...
You choose UTEP because Aaron Jones is a beast and you want to see how many rushing records you can break in a season in the Mountain West Conference.
That's right. Screw CUSA. You feel like UTEP can battle with the likes of Boise State and San Diego on a yearly basis.
Eventually you dominate the Mountain West Conference and parlay an invite to the almighty Big 12 where you feel like UTEP deserves to be: A place at the table with the rest of the P5 schools in Texas.
If you're choosing this job in real life...
You see that the UTEP football program is a goldfield waiting to be mined (I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself). The days when Mike Price roamed the sideline are the only days you care about as you embark on a total rebranding of the UTEP image hoping to reclaim those glory days.
If UTEP is going to be unique in its location, why not go all the way and create a unique style of football too. You have ties to the state of Texas and its definitely going to be needed as you try to find talent in a state with plenty to go around.
Not to mention you would be the first to build a real consistent winner in El Paso which would go a long way on the legacy charts.
Similar to Western Kentucky, UTEP was all over the place when I asked for other opinions about their place in CUSA. They have tradition but haven't won much. Their fanbase is as rabid as they come in the G5 but administrative support has known to be sketchy.
A ton of schools in CUSA West are a lot closer to Texas' premier athletes than UTEP. The fact that it is easier for Dallas and Houston recruits to make a drive to Ruston than to go to El Paso shows just how far UTEP is to everything else.
Add in the fact that UTEP has never displayed a consistent period of winning for more than two years and it's easy to see why this job can be forgotten in CUSA circles. But despite the lack of a winning history UTEP can easily become one of the top jobs in CUSA because of their fan support, a willingness by the athletic department to support the Miners head on, and the double-edged sword that is their location.
After all, its still in Texas.
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