The Dig: 13 Days Till UTEP Miner Football Kicks Off Edition

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In The Dig:  The Rush has written the WAC's Tombstone inscription, with a little help from Wes Anderson;  Derrick Caracter is going to wear a motivating jersey number with the Lakers; The Miners lose a veteran tight end for the opener; and all the BYU/MWC/C-USA merger links you need or want.  

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The UTEP Miners

Mike Price is a Good Sport

The Battle of 1-10, our annual rivalry game with New Mexico State, has corporate sponsorship.  It's now the "Sonic America's Drive-In Battle of Interstate 10."  MIke Price and Dewayne Walker attended a joint press conference announcing the partnership at the Sonic in Anthony, New Mexico.  Any time you're head football coach is taking photos with a guy in a Tater Tot costume you have to know he's a good sport.  The game now has a logo too- Click the video to see it- It has snow on the mountains.  You gotta love it.


More Price in the Press

CMP will participate in a live chat sponsored by the El Paso Times.  The chat session will be today at 5:00 pm MST.  

A Very Tough Loss

The Miners have been very lucky thus far in camp, knock on wood, when it comes to injuries.  However, senior tight end Elijah Goldtrap has suffered an ankle injury that should keep him out of the Miners opening game against Arkansas Pine Bluff.  The Miners use two tight ends often, especially in short yardage and goal line sets.  Expect freshman Kevin Perry to replace Goldtrap until he is back to 100%.

UTEP was missing a lot of players at Saturday's scrimmage, though most will be back Tuesday. Only Elijah Goldtrap is expected to miss the opener. The Miners were without both middle linebackers on the two-deep, though both Jamie Irving (ankle) and Jeremy Springer (Tuesday) are probably for the next practice. Alex Solot and Jason Williams should also be back then.

How Awesome is This

UTEP is putting a 25 Foot Pick-Axe sculpture on campus.

No False Sense of Safety

Bret Bloomquist has a nice feature on UTEP's depth at safety.  The Miners Braxton Amy and Deshawn Grayson should be starters with Brandon Miller and company providing senior depth.  That's one problem, only Grayson and Richard Spencer will be around after this season.

Indeed, Wiston Jeune and Americas High grad Austin Contreras are both seniors who contributed a year ago and so phomore Richard Spencer has been working as the top dime back.

Big No. 58:

UTEP's Derrick Caracter will wear number 58 with the Los Angeles Lakers.  Why?  That was his draft number.

Caracter, a second-round pick like Ebanks, will be sporting the number of his overall draft position, while Ebanks will wear the former jersey number of Trevor Ariza. Former No. 9’s include Nick Van Exel, Bryon Russell and Chucky Atkins, while Eddie Jordan wore both numbers five and 15 in his Lakers career.


BYUINDEPENDENCEPALOOZA 

"Here Lies the Western Athletic Conference:  Died tragically at sea heroically rescuing his family from a shipwreck."

The Salt Lake Tribune discussed the state of the WAC with commissioner Karl Benson.  

Knowing that, I asked Benson what's stopping his other schools from leaving in the very near future. "Nothing", was the response. And how right he's turning out to be. Nothing is official yet. But reports are surfacing all over the place regarding the WAC. Hawaii is trying to go independent in football while seeking a home for its other sports.

How is Karl Benson still the WAC's commissioner?  It seems like every 5-10 years his league gets destroyed and he never sees it coming!  When BYU came to him and offered him a life raft, that being BYU's non football sports, and a marquee opponent to get WAC games on ESPN, all Benson had to do was make sure his existing schools signed a $5 million buyout.  They agreed to it.  All he needed to do was have them sign it and put it in a drawer!  What did he do?  Not that.

Benson said a recording error meant that Nevada president Milt Glick didn’t sign the agreement, but that the WAC legal counsel has determined that Glick’s verbal agreement to the binding terms meant the Wolf Pack were bound to the deal. Benson said Glick missed the call on Friday and gave a verbal agreement over the phone Saturday. The deal, which Fresno State president John Welty and the other six schools signed, called for a payment of $5 million if a school left within the next five years. Benson said he has signatures in the WAC office from seven of the eight presidents.

Benson, rather is a master at deflecting criticism.  He's called Nevada and Fresno St. selfish, and it appears his remaining schools president are somehow still with him

Aggie AD McKinley Boston sounded nervous about the future. "Twenty-four hours ago, we were very excited about the possibility of BYU joining the WAC and having eight schools with a five-year solidarity commitment," he said. "We were looking forward to an announcement (about BYU joining in every sport except football) and all the sudden, the landscape has changed. "We go from a very bright future to one that's a little disappointing. The unethical behavior of two university presidents leaves a lot to be desired. ...

More on the Merger

The Idaho Statesman asked the BCS as to whether or not the MWC/C-USA has approached them with their latest proposal.

The leagues have not contacted the BCS about changing their status. "We haven't received any request from them, no," BCS executive director Bill Hancock told the Statesman

the AD's $0.02

Bret Bloomquist asked Stull what he thought about a merger.

"That would be really attractive," UTEP athletic director Bob Stull said. "Probably more attractive than a conference championship game."

The TV Deal

Conference USA is getting closer to signing a new TV deal with ESPN.  The league has already renewed its contract with CBS College sports and is the only conference in the couClippingsntry with agreements with both networks

Conference USA officials have watched and learned from the Mountain West's many challenges. C-USA just extended its television contract with CBS College Sports and is close to renewing its contract with ESPN. The CBS College Sports agreement, which gives the network second choice of C-USA games, is worth about $7-$8 million a year. Since ESPN gets first choice of games, the conference earns more from the agreement. Conference USA members will likely make less money than their peers in the Mountain West, but it should be easier for fans of C-USA schools to watch their teams play.

The key to the deal is it makes it very easy for other cable companies, regionally, to move in and televise games.  Something the Mountain West resists because they are worried that letting local companies broadcasting games will take away the need for more people to subscribe to the MTN.

What Will BYU Do?

The Mountain West Connection says BYU is now on the clock...

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The Houston Cougars

Replacing Sims:  The Cougars are trying to see who will replace last year's breakout star running back Charles Sims.

One position that appears to have sorted itself out to Sumlin's liking is running back. The ineligibility of Charles Sims — the 2009 Conference USA Freshman of the Year - this season left the Cougars in search of depth behind Beall. Junior Michael Hayes, a transfer from Blinn College, turned heads Saturday with a 25-yard touchdown run up the middle. Sumlin also touts the progress of Chris Wilson, who had 24 carries all of last season.

More Coogs:  Double T Nation has compiled a heck of a Houston Opponent Prospectus.

 The only possible dent in the Houston armor would be that offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen has left for Oklahoma St. Personally, I think that Holgorsen was a huge part of why that offense clicked and it's disingenuous to think that losing Holgorsen won't have any effect on the offense. I think Holgorsen was pretty darned good at his job and although the likely scenario would be that the Houston offense doesn't skip a beat. Again, I'm grasping for straws here.


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