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The Dig: Beat the BYU Cougars & Texas Tech Red Raiders Edition

In The Dig:  This week absolutely flew by- and it feels like Christmas Eve with two huge UTEP athletic events coming up tomorr..  Tomorrow, the UTEP Miners will have a chance to play in their third bowl game since Mike Price came to El Paso.  Coach Price has accomplished a lot in El Paso, but he's never been able to win a bowl game.  Trevor Vittatoe has rewritten the UTEP passing record books.  But he's never led UTEP to a bowl game or a winning season.  Will UTEP's season end like so many in recent years?  Or, does Coach Price have one more trick up his sleeve?  

After the New Mexico Bowl,  Pat Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders basketball team is headed to the Don for a Saturday night contest.  The game will be televised by CBS College Sports.  

The New Mexico Bowl

Lovin It:  Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel thinks UTEP will beat BYU behind a big game from Donald Buckram.

When it comes to bowl predictions, there's a key question: Which team wants to be there more? For BYU, this season has been a letdown. For UTEP, which is making its first bowl appearance in five years, this might as well be the Super Bowl. Running back Donald Buckram, one of several key players limited by injury during the regular season, returns to lift UTEP to the upset.

Survey Says?  The above video captures some of the highlights of the week including a serious round of Family Feud between UTEP and BYU players.  

CSTV has a new photo gallery covering UTEP's week in Albuquerque.

Eager Bronco?  The BYU Cougars are "really eager" to get on the football field against UTEP.  

Same Old Price:  The Salt Lake Tribune has a really nice article up on Mike Price and his sometimes unorthodox practice methods.  Price can bring the laughs...

And he’s always been good for a laugh or two. Like the time he had two students dress up like Mormon missionaries on bicycles during a practice at Washington State before a game against BYU. Or the time he wore a bright orange wig to practice. Or the time he had Weber State practice in the parking lot of the Dee Events Center because that week’s opponent had horrible turf and he wanted his players to get acclimated to it.

I Tend to Agree:  Jeremy from Mountain West Connection has a New Mexico Bowl Preview up.  He thinks BYU will win but UTEP will cover.  

A Good Read:  One of the BYU writers at Vanquish the Foe used to play football for the Cougars.  He has a nice piece up on what bowl games are really all about and it's not about gift bags.

I had the opportunity, along with many of my teammates to go to a home/school for less fortunate youth and we repainted their buildings and got to interact with the young men over the course of an afternoon. 

Get Him in the Senior Bowl, Please:  CBS Sports has a nice article up highlighting the players in the various bowl games with NFL potential.  Kris Adams makes the list. 

Seventh Rounder?  At least watch him play a few games first.  CNNSI has a similar post but they thing KA is at best a 7th rounder.  

UTEP: WR Kris Adams -- Adams has been productive throughout his college career, displaying big play ability and a nose for the football. He possesses NFL size and speed and projects as a fifth receiver at the next level. Grade: Seventh-round prospect.

Buckeye's Chime In:  These Ohio State writers all think BYU will beat UTEP.

Check this site for preview of all the Bowl Games- I Did a Q& A for for the New Mexico Bowl here.  

Not a Bad Crowd:  As of Thursday, 30,000 fans had purchased tickets for the New Mexico Bowl.  Here is a local Albuquerque report on the game.  

Double B With the Quote of the Day:  Bret Bloomquist notes that UTEP lost to BYU in a chili cookoff.  Still- good notes here.

The bad news is the men from El Paso were defeated by a team from Utah in a green chili cookoff. The good news is that the team that has won the chili cookoff is 0-4 in the game. UTEP's entry was made by lead chef Trevor Vittatoe and Jonny Moore insisted it "tastes like Cougar."

Fresh Start:  Bloomquist also has a feature on UTEP's two starting freshman defensive tackles, Germard Reed and Marcus Bagley.

"It's pretty exciting," Reed said. "At the first of the year it was surprising, but throughout the year it started being expected of me. We're a young group and we've improved so much. It will be a good thing to see next year. As sophomores we'll be even better."

Lastly, here's a follow up article on Josh Fely- the JC middle linebacker who signed with UTEP this week.  Also note that UTEP lost a recruiting battle for offensive tackle Taylor Reich. He's headed to SMU.

Remember: Complete New Mexico Bowl Coverage is Here.

On to Hoops:  Beat the Red Raiders

A Visit to DoubleT Nation:  Seth from DTN was nice enough to do a preview here for us, and I returned the favor over at DoubleT Nation.  Check it out here.  Note that Red Raider fans are starting to lose faith in Pat Knight.  Who do they want?  Billy Gillispie.

Knight Time:  Bill Knight has a nice basketball feature here and notes Randy Culpepper is second  on UTEP's all-time scoring list.

I Respectfully Disagree:  The Dagger, a college basketball blog on Yahoo! Sports, has a C-USA basketball preview up.  They like UTEP but don't see the Miners competing with UCF, Memphis, and others.

We'll close up shop with UTEP (6-2), which has the preseason Player of the Year pick in Randy Culpepper. The problem with Culpepper is, while he's a great highlight reel, he doesn't lift the team around him. And there isn't too much on this roster to like, offensively. When a team averages more than 70 possessions per game, as UTEP does, that's not a fruitful combination.

Memphis?  Really?    Is it too early for an "overrated" chant?  Memphis just escaped with an 80-78 overtime win against..... wait for it..... Austin Peay!   Seriously.  To make matters worse, ESPN notes that Memphis was lucky to escape.

Memphis was lucky to escape, particularly after a scoring drought in the middle of the game. Austin Peay scored 21 straight points spanning halftime to take a 35-24 lead 3 minutes into the second half. The Governors had steals on the first four Tiger possessions of the second half to fuel their rally, and hit their first seven shots. The lead eventually reached 43-28 after consecutive 3-pointers from Edmondson and Blake

More from the League:  Tulsa just barely beat Weber State by 2 in overtime.....   Rice knocked off Arkansas-Little Rock.... Despite Tulsa's and Memphis close calls, the C-USA is 7-0 this week.....

Go Miners!