Schedule and Odds
UTEP’s record has been falling for the last few years as they finished with only three wins in 2012. Something had to change and it has with new head coach Sean Kugler coming in. He’s the Pittsburgh Steelers former offensive line coach, and he’s a former Miner as a player and assistant. The problem for him will be trying to find some new pieces to help out as only 10 starters return.
At quarterback, Jameill Showers transferred in from Texas A&M and looks to be the No. 1. He doesn’t have much college experience as the Aggies have been stocked at QB in recent years. Showers will look to WR Jordan Leslie as much as possible. Leslie was a top receiver for the Miners last season and should be able to improve as a junior. Nathan Jeffery also returns in the running Game which should help. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry to go with seven TDs last year. The offensive line has three returnees so the pieces are there to succeed as long as Showers shows he can play.
SCott Stoker comes in as the new defensive coordinator from Sam Houston State. The unit only returns Four starters which doesn’t help. Marcus Bagley is a stud up front, but the questions are around him. The good news is that eight of the projected starters are all seniors. To make things even harder for the team, UTEP doesn’t have a scholarship kicker or punter.
2013 UTEP College Football Schedule
Sept. 7 vs. New Mexico
Sept. 14 at New Mexico State
Sept. 21 vs. UTSA
Sept. 28 at Colorado State
Oct. 5 vs. Louisiana Tech
Oct. 12 vs. Tulsa
Oct. 26 at Rice
Nov. 2 at Texas A&M
Nov. 9 at North Texas
Nov. 16 vs. Florida International
Nov. 23 at Tulane
Nov. 30 at Middle Tennessee
UTEP has a considerably easier non-Conference Schedule this year which should automatically boost them over the three-win mark. Although playing at Texas A&M at the beginning of November is going to be a monumental task.
The Miners will have to capitalize on their early C-USA Schedule because they start with three straight home Games. Wins against UTSA and Louisiana Tech would be nice to gain some confidence. However, five of their last six Games are on the road. If they can grab one or two road wins (North Texas and Tulane) and win their final home Game against Florida International, we could see close to five wins from UTEP, if not more.
That’s best-case scenario, though. If Showers struggles and can’t move the ball, it will be a long season because we already know their defense isn’t going to win them many Games.