How Long Could UTEP Go Before They Win a Game?

UTEP football has the potential to make history, but not history they’d be happy about. They have the chance to break a record set by Northwestern, a team that lost 34 straight games between 1979 and 1982.

According to FPI this coming season UTEP’s best chance to win a game comes against FCS Northern Arizona, and that chance is only 49.9%. If I was a UTEP fan, I would be insanely upset that my team is an underdog to an FCS team(Northern Arizona is 8 point favorites as of 7/6), but we’ll get to that a little later.

After that their schedule goes like this:

  • @UNLV 10.5%
  • @Tennessee 2%
  • NMSU 25.8%
  • @UTSA 16.2%
  • North Texas 13.4%
  • @LA Tech 5.5%
  • UAB 18.6%
  • @ Rice 35.3%
  • MTSU 12.9%
  • @WKU 16.7%
  • So. Miss 23.1%

O.K., so maybe FPI is being a bit harsh on UTEP’s odds, what about some other metric like S&P+?

Date

Opponent Proj. S&P+ Rk Proj. Margin Win Probability

1-Sep

Northern Arizona NR 1.8 54%
8-Sep at UNLV 105 -14.5

20%

15-Sep

at Tennessee 79 -21.3

11%

22-Sep

New Mexico State 100 -10.2

28%

29-Sep at UTSA 104 -14.5

20%

6-Oct

North Texas 86 -14.2

21%

20-Oct

at Louisiana Tech 70 -22.4

10%

27-Oct

UAB 91 -12.8

23%

3-Nov at Rice 128 -6.6

35%

10-Nov

Middle Tennessee 83 -14.9

19%

17-Nov

at Western Kentucky 90 -18.2

15%

24-Nov

Southern Miss 94 -11.8

25%

Yeah, that still looks like “if they’re lucky they’ll win their opener, and that’s it.”

In all likelihood, UTEP will go winless again this year, pushing the losing streak to 24. To me this all starts with the Dana Dimel hire; it was somewhere between an odd hire and a bad hire. The guy has a 30-39 record as a head coach and hasn’t held the position since 2002.

In Dimel’s short time in El Paso, he has brought in a recruiting class that is ranked 129th out of 130 teams. The guys UTEP are getting are ranked dead last in C-USA, so the product on the field isn’t going to get much better. If I was a UTEP fan I’d be frustrated with this hire; Dimel is the kind of guy to maybe keep the bottom from falling out, but that already happened. He’s unlikely to turn this program around, and more likely keeping them where they are, and that’s winless.

Now you might be saying, “Going 0-12 this season only makes it 24 in a row; they’d at least have to start 2019 0-10 to tie the record.”

They will have one chance to end the streak in 2019, and that is week one against FCS Houston Baptist who has gone 5-17 in the last two seasons. After that, they have two road games against Texas Tech and NMSU and then a home game against Nevada before conference play starts.

I know I’m really down on a team to already be pessimistic about them beating Houston Baptist a year or more from now, but it’s hard to see signs of light right now. They were so far behind the rest of CUSA last season that they could make numerous improvements and still go 0-12. Those improvements have to continue to avoid the streak going even further.

If they can find a way to beat Northern Arizona week one then there is no need to worry about this record; but as weird as this might sound, but that’s a big “if.” UNA was much higher than UTEP in the Sagarin rankings lasts season, and they return most of their offense this season. There’s a very good reason UTEP is picked to barely win.

The streak should end when they face Houston Baptist at the latest, but if it doesn’t; watch out coaching carousel.

5 thoughts on “How Long Could UTEP Go Before They Win a Game?

  1. Great analysis. I respect your informed opinion, but fortunately for UTEP, games are won and lost on the field. The game has a long history of underdogs winning unexpected games. I would argue that the odds are in UTEP’s favor to upset one of 12 teams this season. It’s going to happen.

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    1. I respect your respect.

      You’re right about the odds, but this was a team that was so far behind the rest of the conference that they’ll need a good bit of improvement just to be a team with a regular chance of pulling an upset.

      BUT we’ll see.

      Like

  2. Analytics analytics!! After my hometown team wins week 1, I and the rest of the Miner fans, will expect to see a follow up article!!! Respectfully, HS95!!

    Like

    1. I mean, analytics exist for a reason. We aren’t saying we DON’T WANT UTEP to win that game, just that based on what we know about the team we’re NOT CONFIDENT they can, and if they don’t then it’ll be a long season. (Though, spoiler, as a staff we collectively do think they’ll win that game)

      Like

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