It's been a dream start to the year for UTEP. They've won 4 of their first 5 games for the first time since 2010. Their only loss this season has come against the always tough Boise State. Now they have a chance to win 5 of their first six, as they take on the 1-4 Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Southern Miss' one win this season came against FCS Grambling State. Of their 4 losses, only one was a one score game. So, they haven't exactly been competitive for much of this year. Yet, the public seems to think they will be tonight.
UTEP is the slight favorite headed into this one. The Miners are 2 point favorites, and they're given -125 odds to win the game outright. That's an implied 55.6% chance to win the game. Meanwhile, Southern Miss is given +110 odds, or an implied 47.6% chance to pull off the upset.
So, it's clear that oddsmakers don't see this as a matchup of a 4-1 team versus a 1-4 team. No, this is a game between equals in their eyes.
UTEP and Southern Miss have played each other 12 times in their history. UTEP has won just 4 of those games. Even worse, UTEP is on a 5 game losing streak against Southern Miss. They haven't beaten the Golden Eagles since 2014. They haven't beaten them on the road since 2012.
This may explain why the odds are so tight, even though UTEP has been the clearly better team early this season.
UTEP has a real chance to go to their first bowl game since 2013. A win over a 1-4 Southern Miss team gets them just 1 more win away. It's always easy to say that a team should win a game, especially against a team they've struggled with in recent history. However, this is a game UTEP should win, putting them at the doorstep of bowl season.