EL PASO, Texas - As it has been our tradition for three years now, it's time to get down on paper our staff predictions for the 2012 football season. This might be one of those years where we have all talked about the games in length and after analyzing statistics, matchups, talent and all the stuff you can't find a number for, we have probably put together our most honest and realist out look for the season.
Here are our predictions for games 1-6 with the second half of the season coming tomorrow.
Chris Avila, Publisher I'm glad to finally be writing this down because I've probably tossed and turned about it way too much. I'll keep this simple: I think UTEP can go 2-2 non-conference getting wins against NMSU and the upset against Ole Miss while we all know Oklahoma and Wisconsin are losses. The losing streak across two time zones will continue at ECU and in the 50/50 tossup with SMU, it's going to be about health at that point. IF UTEP is healthy at this point and IF the fans decide to show up after back-to-back losses, then there's a chance the Miners will win because that will be the boost the Miners need at that point. I just don't think that's going to happen. It's too many if's.
Record: 2-4 Wins: Ole Miss, NMSU Losses: Oklahoma, Wisconsin, ECU and SMU
Sal Guerrero, Staff Writer and football beat writer The road not yet travel is sure to be a bumping one for the Miners as they open up the first month of the season with the toughest schedule in the Mike Price.
UTEP opens up the first game of the season at home against the Bob Stoops and his Oklahoma Sooners. Although the boomer Sooners have lost a handful of players to injury and suspension, I doubt this will be much of a contest resulting in the first loss of the season.
In week two the Miners head to Oxford Miss. to face the Ole Miss Rebels. I think this could be a competitive contest for UTEP. The Rebels are not up to the caliber with the rest of the South Eastern Division, but they are still an SEC team. Look for this to be a close game, but the Miners still lose this one.
The New Mexico State game should be the Miners first win of the year. The Aggies are simply terrible. Unless UTEP decides to no show up, this should be an easy win in the Sun Bowl.
The week four matchup against Wisconsin will be the toughest of all the games in the first half of the season. UTEP lacks the size to shutdown the Badgers and running back Montee Ball. This will be an easy loss for the Miners.
The Miners come back from one long road trip and turn around and face another. Week five has them pitted against the East Carolina Pirates. If this was any other year I would call this game a win, but the Miners must travel to the east coast, a time zone they have never won in.
The final game of the first half is against Conference USA rival SMU. Last season the Mustangs beat the Miners 28-17 in a game that that saw quarterback Nick Lamaison go down with a shoulder injury. This season will be much different. UTEP will come away with its first C-USA victory.
Josh Puga, Staff Writer After a season opening loss to Oklahoma, UTEP will have two winnable games before heading to Camp Randall to meet up with Wisconsin. If UTEP can somehow come out of the Oklahoma game with minimal injuries there is a more than decent chance the Miners can knock off Ole Miss in Oxford before a home matchup with NMSU. Following a loss to Wisconsin, UTEP must regroup quickly before heading to Greenville, NC to face off against a tough East Carolina before heading back home to meet up with an SMU team that looks to contend for the C-USA title. Needless to say the first half of the schedule is brutal and it may not seem like much but going 3-3 would be a huge victory for this team and any bowl aspirations. Not what Miners fans want to hear but the Ole Miss game could turn into a must win game if they end up splitting with ECU and SMU which isn't a guarantee.
Record: 3-3 Wins: Ole Miss, NMSU, and SMU Losses: Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and ECU
Angel Luna, Staff Writer As much as I would love to see UTEP beat Oklahoma and Wisconsin, I have to recognize that they are the best teams on paper. UTEP has a better chance to upset Ole Miss, but they always have a tough time winning on the road. If they can survive those games three without major injuries they should win against NMSU, @ ECU and SMU.
Record: 3-3 Wins: NMSU, ECU and SMU Losses: Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Ole Miss
Chad Middleton, Staff Writer The first six games of the Miners schedule is arguably the toughest in school history and possibly all of C-USA. To be honest, Oklahoma and Wisconsin should be losses. I believe the Miners can go to Oxford and get the victory in what only can be deemed an upset because Ole Miss is in the SEC. NMSU, win. ECU will be tough on the road but the Miners played SMU tough last year and if they are healthy come game six, I can see a Miner win at the Sun Bowl.