The full 2020 schedule for the Miners football team was released on Wednesday, featuring tough non-conference opponents and a challenging C-USA slate.

“We're excited about entering our third season and putting a team on the field that more closely reflects the style of play that we want to see,” head coach Dana Dimel said in a release. “We'll have a new quarterback in 2020, which is also exciting. We have a great home schedule this fall. We can't wait to show off our new-look Sun Bowl Stadium in September with games versus Texas Tech from the Big 12 Conference and our long-time rival NM State. We have another state rival, North Texas, coming to El Paso as well as the defending Conference USA West Division champion UAB.”

2020 UTEP FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

  • Sept. 5 TEXAS TECH
  • Sept. 12 at Nevada
  • Sept. 19 at Texas
  • Sept. 26 NM STATE
  • Oct. 3 BYE
  • Oct. 10 at Louisiana Tech*
  • Oct. 17 SOUTHERN MISS*
  • Oct. 24 at Charlotte*
  • Oct. 31 NORTH TEXAS*
  • Nov. 7 FIU*
  • Nov. 14 at UTSA*
  • Nov. 21 UAB*
  • Nov. 28 at Rice*

Home games in BOLD

*Conference USA game

Three takeaways from the schedule:

Non-conference will be an uphill battle

With the likes of Texas Tech, Nevada and Texas on UTEP's radar in non-conference action, the Miners will face some really tough teams in the early part of their schedule. Texas Tech wrapped up 2019 with a 4-8 record under first-year head coach Matt Wells. They will have high expectations to turn their program around in year two of Wells' regime. Facing Nevada and Texas on the road are a pair of bowl teams from 2019, where Nevada has been a consistent winner in the Mountain West and Texas continues to battle for Big 12 championships.

UTEP's only favorable non-conference game will come against NM State at home. But if the three games before become too overwhelming for the Miners, the Aggies will pose troubles for UTEP. Dana Dimel has not yet beaten NMSU during his first two seasons but getting the Aggies at home could be his best chance yet.

C-USA road/away proves to be challenging

The Miners will be hosting three C-USA teams that made it to a bowl in 2019, while facing a pair of bowl teams on the road in league play action. Three out of the four opponents in October will be against teams coming off winning records, including Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and Charlotte. North Texas, who was 4-8 in 2019, is the only team coming off a losing record that UTEP will play in October.

UTEP has underperformed on the road in the past four years and will play some of the bottom-barrel teams in C-USA, such as UTSA and Rice, in November.

Nonetheless, the conference is shifting in power. Teams like Charlotte, Rice, LA Tech and UAB continue to trend upward, while the only teams that have either plateaued or declined are UTSA and North Texas—along with UTEP.

Could UTEP go 0-12? 

This is a tough question.

But the 2020 schedule is unfavorable to a UTEP team that has only won just one game against an FBS opponent in two years (Rice, 2018). Knowing that this is still a rebuild under Dimel, it continues to be an uphill battle for this team to learn how to win games. They will be showcasing a new quarterback next year, Gavin Hardison or TJ Goodwin, and their success could be hinged on how the new signal-caller performs.

Seven of the 12 opponents UTEP will face are coming off a bowl appearance. This is a really challenging schedule for a Miners team that needs all the help they can get.