Say What? Nope, not a typo.  Allow me to explain.

Might sound a bit over the top to think one game could make or break a season for the UTEP Miners, but I believe the home opener this Saturday could set the tone in Coach Sean Kugler’s first season.

If UTEP is to have any chance at a winning record and a bowl bid, the Miners are in a virtual must-win situation in the home opener Saturday night versus the University of New Mexico Lobos.

One glance at the schedule and you will understand why.

With only five home games (No, at NMSU doesn’t count as a home game) this season and four out of the first six to start the year, UTEP must get off to a fast start and protect their home field.

A win over New Mexico can set the table for a 3-1 and maybe even a 4-0 start before back to back home games against two formidable Conference USA opponents (Louisiana Tech and Tulsa).  A spilt with either one of those to teams and UTEP is sitting pretty at 4-2 or even 5-1 going into the last half of the 2013 schedule meaning they would only have to win one or two games over the last six all but guaranteeing a bowl invitation.

The scenario is much different with a loss to the Lobos, UTEP would be reeling heading into the Battle of I-10 going to NMSU 0-1 and even though most feel the Miners are the better team, anything can happen in Las Cruces and the possibility of a 0-2 start would be disastrous with an up and coming UTSA team (fresh off a win at UNM) heading to the Sun Bowl the following week.

Most years one game doesn’t affect an entire season, however, with a new coach, a new quarterback and new expectations; one game could make all the difference in the world.

Every team gets one shot to start their season on a high note and this week could be the beginning of a promising season for UTEP and the Kugler era.