Mission Possible; Miners Must Win Friday in Central Florida to Go Bowling
UTEP players and fans are well aware what Friday's game in Orlando means. The Miners must win to have enough wins to be considered for a bowl game. There are no playoffs in college football, but this is the closest thing to a playoff game the Miners have faced in a long time.
The odds are certainly stacked against them. UTEP has only won one season finale in the last 22 years. The Miners are 0-16-1 all time in the Eastern Time Zone.
The silver lining is that UTEP's opponent is having a disappointing season and might be ripe for a home loss. Central Florida won eleven games in 2010, and capped their season with an impressive Liberty Bowl win over Georgia. UCF had high hopes for '11, but have been on the wrong end of a lot of close games.
There is some talk that Knight head coach George O'Leary might be on the hot seat if his team doesn't beat UTEP in the finale. O'Leary's players play hard for him, and that could be some added incentive for a 4-7 team that has no shot to go bowling.
Athletically, many of the matchups favor UCF, but UTEP quarterback Nick Lamaison has been progressing nicely since suffering a groin injury in the East Carolina game. Mike Price has yet to name a starter, but I'd be willing to bet Lamaison will get the start unless the groin injury flares up in the pre- game warmups.
As much as the deck seems to be stacked against the Miners making their second straight bowl appearance this squad has played with a ton of heart and resolve all season. I wouldn't put it past them to 'steal' a victory in Orlando.