It WILL be a big game. The Sun Bowl WILL have a better atmosphere for fun and tailgating. The Miners ARE healthy.

But as the Miners kick off against the Sooners this Saturday night in the Sun Bowl,  there was one word you didn't hear from UTEP head coach Mike Price -- "win". 

Not that the coach is into predicting victories over any opponent, but the word "win" was never spoken even in the context of what UTEP needs to do to have a chance at beating the 4th-ranked team in the nation.

Like Fabolous says, "Real talk."

Price did say quite a bit about the importance of the game in trying to revive flagging support in El Paso. He mentioned new tailgating rules and the giant party planned for what should be close to a sell-out crowd Saturday.

Usually, that kind of stuff is fluff -- press conferences are about the team, not the fans.

But after six straight losing seasons, UTEP's game day experience has resembled a wedding reception after the cake and the Dollar Dance.

The Miners are trying to get some mojo back because they know -- No. 4 OU, Ole Miss, and No. 12 Wisconsin comprise the toughest non-conference schedule in the country. With only a third game against its biggest rival, New Mexico State, as a probable reprieve, UTEP stands to be 1-3 before its first conference game at East Carolina wraps up a brutal September.

The Miners' possible record could drive enough fans away, so UTEP hopes accentuating the positives will count come October.

Price also talked about what was important for his team as they start 2012 -- consistency, health, attitude.

But winning?

Like the old coaching cliche goes, Ya gotta take one step at a time.