UTEP's 2013 football schedule was released on Wednesday. The Miners have a stout non-conference schedule with rivalry games versus Colorado State, New Mexico and NM State, and a date with perennial national power Texas A&M. UTEP's eight-game Conference USA slate is a mix of old foes (Louisiana Tech, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa) and new acquaintances (Florida International, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, UTSA).
"I'm looking forward to renewing rivalries in back-to-back games versus New Mexico and New Mexico State to kick off the season," first-year UTEP head coach Sean Kugler said. "Those games have always been a staple for this program. We have an outstanding non-conference schedule with UNM and NMSU joining Colorado State and Texas A&M.
"We are excited about the additions to Conference USA. Our focus will be on winning conference games. It doesn't matter when or where we play teams. We'll be ready for everybody."
UTEP will play five home games for the first time since 2002, but fans will have a sixth opportunity to catch the Miners in action when they travel up the road to face NMSU on Sept. 14.
The Miners will christen the Kugler era at home versus New Mexico on Sept. 7. It marks the 77th meeting between the Southwest rivals, and the first in El Paso since 2007. The Sept. 7 start date is the latest for the Miners since the 1977 season, when they opened on Sept. 10.
UTEP and NMSU will square off for the 91st time. A week later, the Miners will take on new league member UTSA in the C-USA opener in the Sun Bowl. The Roadrunners were eight-game winners last season under the direction of former National Coach of the Year Larry Coker. UTEP will observe the 50th anniversary of the Sun Bowl Stadium on Sept. 21 versus UTSA.
After tangling with Colorado State in Fort Collins (Sept. 28), the Miners will leap back into C-USA play versus Louisiana Tech (Oct. 5) in the Sun Bowl. UTEP, in fact, will play its first three league games in the stadium, including hosting defending C-USA champion Tulsa on Oct. 12.
Beginning on Oct. 26, the Miners will play five of their last six games on the road, battling Rice (Oct. 26), Texas A&M (Nov. 2), North Texas (Nov. 9), Tulane (Nov. 23) and Middle Tennessee (Nov. 30). UTEP will complete its home schedule versus Florida International on Nov. 16.
The Miners will face FIU, Middle Tennessee and UTSA for the first time in 2013, and will meet North Texas for the first time since 1980.
The matchup with Texas A&M - fronted by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel - is the third all-time and the first since 2000.
The 2013 C-USA alignment will feature seven teams in both the East and West Divisions. East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss and UAB comprise the East Division, while Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP and UTSA make up the West Division.
Each school will play every team in its division once for six games, while playing two cross-over opponents from the opposite division. The league's ninth annual Championship Game, pitting the champions of the East and West Divisions, is scheduled for Saturday, December 7 and will be televised by ESPN or ESPN 2.
UTEP football season tickets will go on sale this Friday, Feb. 1 by calling 747-6150. For more information on season tickets, go to utepathletics.com this Friday!
2013 UTEP Football Schedule
Sept. 7 New Mexico
Sept. 14 at NM State
Sept. 21 UTSA*
Sept. 28 at Colorado State
Oct. 5 Louisiana Tech*
Oct. 12 Tulsa*
Oct. 26 at Rice*
Nov. 2 at Texas A&M
Nov. 9 at North Texas*
Nov. 16 Florida International*
Nov. 23 at Tulane*
Nov. 30 at Middle Tennessee*
* Indicates Conference USA game
Source: UTEP Athletics