CFB Win Totals: UTEP Looking For Bowl Berth With Favorable C-USA Schedule

UTEP and college football success do not exactly go together.

The Miners entered the 2021 season with five victories in four years, but then everything changed. They went 7-6 and earned a spot in the New Mexico Bowl.

UTEP all of a sudden has expectations going into the 2022 campaign inside Conference USA, a league that is in flux with three departures to the Sun Belt this season and six more to the American Athletic Conference in 2023.

UTEP is staying in its place in C-USA and it could make a run toward the top of the league because of the schedule in front of it, starting with a Week 0 showdown with North Texas.

UTEP 2022 Schedule

August 27: vs. North Texas

September 3: at Oklahoma

September 10: vs. New Mexico State

September 17: at New Mexico

September 23: vs. Boise State

October 1: at Charlotte

October 8: at Louisiana Tech

October 22: vs. Florida Atlantic

October 29: vs. Middle Tennessee

November 3: at Rice

November 19: vs. Florida International

November 26: at UTSA

The Bet: Over 5.5 (-125)

UTEP is widely considered to be in the second tier of Conference USA programs going into the 2022 season.

The top tier features some combination of UTSA, UAB and Western Kentucky. Look above at UTEP's schedule and try to find that trio of programs.

That is the first important point to make when discussing UTEP's win total. The Miners only play one of the top three teams in C-USA and that contest comes on November 26 against UTSA. The all-Texas clash with the Roadrunners could be irrelevant to the win total bet and UTEP's bowl eligibility.

UTEP's most important game before the clash with UTSA is the opener in Week 0 against North Texas, who is also expected to be in the second tier of C-USA. UTEP gets North Texas at home. The Miners fell to the Mean Green by three points last season.

A win over North Texas would be a massive boost to UTEP's quest for a second straight postseason berth, but a loss does not kill the Miners' hopes.

The Week 1 payday against Oklahoma is an obvious loss, but after that, the Miners should have a chance to win every game on their schedule.

UTEP should beat both New Mexico schools and being at home on a Friday night could help it beat Boise State. Then the Miners embark on an easy schedule in Conference USA.

UTEP's in-league road trips are against Charlotte, Louisiana Tech, Rice and UTSA. Charlotte, LA Tech and Rice are all projected to finish in the bottom half of the C-USA standings.

Florida Atlantic, FIU and Middle Tennessee all come to El Paso in the heart of the season. UTEP should benefit from that stretch with three home games and an extra bye week built in between the road trip to Rice and the home clash with FIU.

The schedule presents a clear path to six games before the season-ending clash with UTSA in which the Miners should be competitive.

The Miners will stay notable in C-USA for a second season behind quarterback Gavin Hardison, who threw for 3,218 passing yards last season. Hardison lost his top receiver, Jacob Cowing, to Arizona, but he does have two key returners from last season in Tyrin Smith and Trent Thompson.

The Hardison-led offense was 42nd in the FBS in yards per play and it had a penchant for creating big plays in 2021. That could be a difference-maker in 2022, as well as its defense. UTEP ranked inside the top 30 in yards conceded per game last season.

UTEP checks my key boxes with a returning quarterback and a favorable schedule. If you combine those factors with a decent defense, you have a nice path to six wins and a bowl berth.

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