The UTEP football team broke through with a win on Saturday, their first in over a month. They dropped the Tulane Green Wave 24-20 in the Sun Bowl on Homecoming. Hopefully they can keep that going as they head to Houston this week, but it won't be easy. As usual though, there's still plenty more to talk about. Here's what's going on around UTEP sports, Conference USA, and the rest of the country as well.
AROUND MINER NATION
Jeff Van Gundy Helps Lead UTEP Basketball Practice
The Miners continued to prepare for the upcoming season last week, and they had a couple of high profile guests in attendance on Friday. Famed coach Jeff Van Gundy was around, and helped out a bit with the UTEP practice. The other guest, was 4/5 star prospect Isaac Hamilton who took his visit to El Paso over the weekend. Hamilton has the Miners in his final 5, along with Baylor, San Diego State, UNLV, and Washington.
The UTEP soccer team hit the road last week to take on both Rice and Houston on Friday and Sunday. Unfortunately, the fell in both matches, losing 1-0 to Rice, and 3-0 to Houston. The losses drop the Miners to 10-9 overall, and 3-7 in Conference USA play with only 1 regular season game to go.
The worst news in all of this, is that the losses mean the Miners are no longer in the running for a spot in the Conference USA championships that will take place right here in El Paso. Colorado College, Rice, UCF, East Carolina, Tulsa, Memphis, and SMU have already secured spots while Marshall and Houston are the only ones still alive for the final spot.
The Miners will wrap up the 2012 season with a home game against conference leader Colorado College Friday night at University Field. Seniors Tess Hall and Brittany Kindzierski will be honored in a special ceremony before the game.
The UTEP volleyball team was also in action against both Houston and Rice this weekend, playing matches Friday and Sunday here in El Paso at Memorial Gym. The Miners dropped Houston in straight sets Friday (25-13, 25-16, 25-19), but fell to Rice on Sunday in 5 (25-20, 29-31, 13-25, 25-19, 15-11).
The Miners have now lost 4 of 6, and sit in 6th place in the Conference USA standings with 5 regular season contests still to come. They are currently in the middle of a 5 game homestand and will see Tulane at Memorial Gym next Sunday, before finishing up that stand with matches against SMU and Tulsa.
AROUND CONFERENCE USA
After hovering right around 1 or 2 votes in both the USA Today and AP Polls over the last few weeks, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane are finally starting to move up a bit. They received 6 votes in the AP poll, landing them in 36th position, and they received 21 votes in the USA Today Poll, good for 32nd. The Hurricane, who are now 7-1 overall and 5-0 in conference play, are still the only team receiving any votes.
With 8 weeks down in the college football season, its time to start taking a serious look at where some teams may land in this year's bowl games. Check out where ESPN's experts say Conference USA teams will land in their bowl tie ins.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
The week before the initial BCS poll was released, it seemed like the Oregon Ducks were the hands down number 2 team in the nation. When the initial standings were released, they were number 3 behind Alabama and Florida. Now, despite continuing to absolutely dominate their competition, they continue to fall in the rankings. This week, they land at 4 behind Kansas State who is quickly gaining steam in all polls. Who knows, if they win out, the Wildcats might just find themselves in the national championship game.