Last week was a wild one for Miners athletics. The UTEP men lost by nearly 20 points to Marshall, then turned around and handed Houston a beating of their own. The UTEP women got off to their worst start of the season against Memphis on Sunday, but let's just say they weren't done. There's a ton of news from around Miner Nation, Conference USA, and the country as a whole so let's get to it.
AROUND MINER NATION
Fresh off a blowout loss to the Marshall Thundering Herd on Wednesday, the UTEP men played Saturday's game with a ton of determination, dropping the Houston Cougars by a final of 70-50. Gabriel McCulley had a career high going for 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting, Julian Washburn went for 19 points on 9 of 12 shooting, and John Bohannon put up 14 points and 11 rebounds in a well rounded performance.
Leading scorer Michael Perez did not play in the game against Houston after rolling his ankle in practice earlier in the day. Perez is considered day to day, and is expected to play at Tulsa on Wednesday. The Tulsa game will tip at 6:00 p.m. MT at the Reynold's Center in Tulsa, OK. With a win, the Miners (8-8) would get above .500 for the first time this season.
UTEP Women Storm Back to Drop Memphis
The Lady Miners had a huge Conference USA matchup on Sunday that not only featured arguably the conference's two best teams, but was also televised nationally on the FOX Sports Network. Unfortunately for the Miners, they came out slow and flat, and eventually fell behind 41-22 headed into the locker rooms. But, the game was far from over.
Freshman Jenzel Nash, a former parade all-american, challenged her team in the locker room, and led the way in a charge that featured a 17-0 run to start the second half, and an overall 44-19 half that led to a 66-60 victory in front of more than 3,000 Miner faithful at the Don.
Both Kayla Thornton and Jenzel Nash finished with 17 points, while Thornton also chipped in with 8 boards. Gloria Brown also put up a solid effort with 8 points and 11 rebounds, and Chrishauna Parker finished with 7 points and 8 rebounds. The Lady Miners will take on Tulsa at home on Thursday, before taking on Tulane on the road on Sunday.
Gloria Brown Named Conference USA Player of the Week
UTEP Senior F Gloria Brown was named the Conference USA player of the week today, after leading the Lady Miners to a 2-0 conference start last week while averaging 12.5 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 2.5 steals in only 23 minutes of action. Congratulations to Gloria, and the rest of the Lady Miners on the great start. Keep up the good work.
Washburn Earns Third C-USA Freshman of Week Award
Not quite sure how I missed this one, but UTEP freshman G/F Julian Washburn has been named the Conference USA freshman of the week for the third time this season. In two games last week Washburn averaged 17 points a game on better than 60% shooting. The honor is not only Julian's 3rd, but also UTEP's 4th in the last 5 weeks. Congratulations to Julian.
AROUND CONFERENCE USA
Ex-Texas Tech QB to Transfer to Memphis
Jacob Karam, a former QB at the Texas Tech University, has decided to play football for the Memphis Tigers. Karam, who was rated the 17th best QB in his class coming out of high school, was originally recruited by Texas Tech, Arizona, Stanford, Louisville, and Missouri. Karam saw action in a total of 5 games in 2011, going 9-17 for 104 yards and 2 TDs.
Although he has only been at Tech for 2 years, Karam has apparently already received his degree from Tech, and will be pursuing a graduate degree at Memphis. Thus, he will be eligible to play right away. Karam reportedly took visits to UTEP and Louisiana Tech as well before ultimately choosing the Tigers.
Jeffrey Jordan Leaves UCF Basketball Team
UCF senior G Jeffrey Jordan, better known as the great Michael Jordan's eldest son, has decided to leave the Knight's basketball program. Jeffey, who was a walk on at Illinois that eventually earned a scholarship, transferred to UCF to play ball with his younger brother Marcus before he graduated. The news that he would leave the program was announced Saturday night, but no other details were available. Jeffrey averaged 2.7 points, and 1.8 assists in 13 games this season.
C-USA Gets 3 Bids in Current ESPN Projections/USM Receiving Votes
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has 3 Conference USA teams making the NCAA tournament in his most recent projections. Lunardi has Memphis as an 11 seed taking on the 6 seed Creighton, he also has Marshall as an 11 seed taking on the 6 seed Murray St., and he has Southern Miss winning the conference and checking in as a 13 seed taking on the 4 seed Louisville.
Also, Southern Miss is currently the only Conference USA team to be receiving votes in either poll. The Golden Eagles received 8 votes in the most recent ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll released this morning, ranking them 34th. USM didn't receive any votes in the AP Poll.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
BCS Officials to Discuss Potential Changes in System
After the madness of tonight's national championship games settles just a bit, officials from the BCS will meet to discuss the future of the current system. That meeting will take place on Tuesday, and certain officials have already pledged that there will be some change.
Mike Slive-SEC Commissioner
"There have been too many cracks in the current system, and too many controversies to stand pat. "
Bill Hancock-BCS Commissioner
"Everything you can imagine will be discussed...Everything from format, who plays who, to where they play, to the business aspect of it...it's all going to be on the table."
The current BCS contract with ESPN will end at the conclusion of the 2013 football season, so any change wouldn't take place until after that. Also, ESPN would have the first shot at retaining the rights to BCS games. A s far as options for a new BCS system goes, a few different options have been brought up.
1. One of the most popular models would be the "plus one" playoff format. That, simply put, would match the no.1 team in the BCS standings vs. the no. 4 team, and the no. 2 team vs. the the no. 3 team. Those two games would act as semifinals, with the winners playing for the national championship.
2. Another option is simply having the BCS decide only the national championship game. The current 1 vs. 2 format would still apply, but all other major bowls would not have the same BCS ties.
3. Perhaps the most reasonable option would be to leave the BCS setup the same, but tweak a few components. Such as eliminating conference tie ins, and allowing bowl participants to be selected in an at-large format. That may have allowed teams like Boise St. and/or Houston the ability to participate in a major bowl game in a year like this one.
Who knows what will wind up happening with the BCS. In any case, there will still likely be a ton of people who still feel its unfair, and a ton that feel just fine with it. But, whatever the case, one would have to assume that any change should be able to better the current system in some way or another.