UTEP Miners 2023 College Football Preview
June 11, 2023 (AUGUST UPDATES IN BLUE)
Record – 5-7
ATS – 5-7
The Miners looked like they were heading to a bowl game after starting the season at 3-3 and taking down mighty Boise St. Unfortunately for MINER NATION, UTEP dropped three of their final four games to finish at 5-7 and miss out on the postseason. It was an absolute killer to jump out 24-CACK vs UTSA in the season finale only to see the game go GLUG GLUG GLUG on a last-second FG (L 34-31).
Can the scrappy Miners battle back after that total DEBACLE?
UTEP Miners 2023 Outlook
The Miners used a ground-and-pound approach last season (#54 FBS rushing offense, #5 time-of-possession) and it seems like a good bet they’ll be doing the same in 2023. The offensive line is one of the best in the conference despite losing star tackle Jeremiah Byers to Florida St and they’re DEEP at RB. Deion Hankins is a legit #1 option (career 1,792 yards, 18 TD) and they add promising JUCO transfer Mike Franklin. The major issue to deal with on this side of the football is the loss of star WR Tyrin Smith who was one of the deadliest players in the conference LY (71,1,039, 14.6, 7 TD). Smith may end up returning to the team after hitting the transfer portal (again) but we have to assume HE GONE as of press time. Without Smith, the WR group appears very underwhelming on paper. QB Gavin Hardison is a bit of a loose cannon (career 7,016 yards, 53%, 35-26 TD to INT) but he’s started 29 games and provides a veteran presence.
UPDATE – WR Tyrin Smith is no longer HE GONE……HE BACK with the team!
The Miners were stout vs the run LY (136 YPG, #2 C-USA) but they didn’t have much success stopping their opponents’ THROW GAME (#112 FBS pass efficiency D, 23-5 TD to INT, 8.2 YPA). The strength of the stop unit appears to be up front once again this season as DT Keenan Stewart is a handful and senior DE Praise Amaewhule is one of the best defensive linemen in the conference. LB Tyrice Knight is an all-Conference performer and he led the team in tackles in 2022 but he’s one of just a few sure things in the back seven. There are a few decent pieces in the secondary and hopefully they get CB Torey Richardson back in the mix as he missed LY due to injury. They made a nice scoop in the transfer portal by snagging New Mexico CB AJ Odums and he’ll almost certainly grab a starting spot. UTEP took a hit in the PENETRATION department as they’ll be without their top-two sack leaders from a season ago. Jadrian Taylor and Cal Wallerstedt combined for 17.5 sacks in 2022 and nobody else had more than 3.5.
RUH ROH. One of the most underappreciated players in C-USA LY was former PK Gavin Baechle (22/24 FG) but HE GONE. Thankfully, they have a rock solid punter in Joshua Sloan (44.0). They were miserable when it came to PR and KR in 2022.
Overall – It’s not too bad. They have a couple of road games vs Power 5 teams (Northwestern, Arizona) but they draw both Incarnate Word and UNLV at home in non-conference action. FUN FACT. The Miners play SIX (!) games before the end of September. Amaze your PSYCHO EX-GIRLFRIEND with that TRIVIA NUGGET.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Arizona (Sept 16)
This will be their 3rd road test of the season and it’ll only be mid-September. Arizona will be able to SCORE the FOOTBALL.
Season Win Total
Market consensus, June 11
Over 5.5 -120
Under 5.5 +100:
We’re starting to warm up to the ‘over’ and have LEANAGE in that direction as we approach mid-August. It’s great to get WR Smith back on the team and the schedule is favorable.
When students aren’t fighting off hundreds of thousands of human traffickers and hardened criminals bringing copious amounts of FENTANYL across the Texas border without any resistance from law enforcement, they cheer on the Miners with a two-digit salute. It utilizes the pinkie and thumb thrust in a downward spiking gesture, starting by the ear, and moving downward as if a pick is striking the ground.
You know we love ourselves some SWEET “PICKS UP” ACTION but this might be the last season of the Dana Dimel experience. We hope not, but recall that he’s booked a record of 17-40 during his time with the Miners. The good news is that this is one of his better teams on paper and they don’t face a killer slate of opponents by any stretch of the imagination. We’ll call for a bowl appearance for MINER NATION and hope they can GIT ‘ER DONE this time!