When it comes to the college football landscape, things have changed. Big time. With the introduction of the College Football Playoff, it seems that programs and coaches are constantly reshuffling as the months go on. UTEP finds itself on the outside looking in being in Conference USA. Also, it doesn't help that UTEP is not a member of the group billed the Power 5. With that said, the chances of UTEP making the playoffs are bleak unless the Miners reel off an undefeated season in dominating fashion.
With conference realignment come big changes. News has come out of the Mountain West Conference that Hawaii is in serious talks about discontinuing their football program. A once proud program, the Warriors have been 4-20 in Head Coach Norm Chow's last two season and the athletic department knows it's a problem. A bigger problem seems to be the athletic department's current state of budget. Seats are not filling up, merchandise sales are down, and football revenue is bringing the department budget down as a whole.
With all this said, it begs the question, if Hawaii shuts the door on football then who can replace the Warriors? Well...How about UTEP? A case can be made that the Miners would a great fit.
In my opinion here are a few things play into their favor:
- The MWC will have a Texas presence once again
- The MWC provides more bowl opportunities
- A stronger conference can help boost UTEP into the spotlight
- More TV deals and more money mean more visibility for the program
- Lastly, it opens up more and newer states to recruit talent
Some concerns I foresee with the move are:
- Travel could put a strain on the athletic department
- Possible loss of rivalry games (NMSU)
- El Paso isn't a desirable market size for the MWC
- Alignment with Texas schools helps everyone