UTEP gets ready to kick off their 2020 season on Saturday, Sept. 5 against Stephen F. Austin (FCS), as the Miners prepare to maneuver through a quite peculiar college football season.

The Miners managed to schedule a 12-game season despite three cancellations in Texas Tech, Nevada and NM State. Instead, they replaced the lost opponents with SFA, Abilene Christian (Sept. 19) and Louisiana-Monroe (Sept. 26).

Let's take a look at UTEP's 2020 schedule:

vs. Stephen F. Austin (Sept. 5)

2019 Record: 3-9, 3-6 Southland

A rebuilding Lumberjacks team will head to the Sun Bowl for the season opener on Saturday but this shouldn't be a team that the Miners take lightly. They return senior quarterback Trae Self, who threw for 2,550 passing yards last year with 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with his top target in Xavier Gipson (934 yards, seven touchdowns). Defensively, they added FBS transfers to an improving bunch.

Final score prediction: UTEP 17 - SFA 13 

@ Texas (Sept. 11) 

2019 Record: 8-5, 5-4 Big 12

The Longhorns are back with a group of strong returners on both sides of the football. They are led by one of the top quarterbacks across the country in Sam Ehlinger. Tom Herman's bunch, along with a boastful recruiting class, should be a force this year in college football.

Final score prediction: Texas 56 - UTEP 7

vs. Abilene Christian (Sept. 19) 

2019 Record: 5-7, 4-5 Southland

Head coach Adam Dorrel believes in a two-quarterback system for the Wildcats and that's exactly what they'll throw UTEP's way on Sept. 19. Sema'J Davis (621 rushing yards, four touchdowns) and Iowa transfer Peyton Mansell will juggle reps at the quarterback spot. They have a group of returners on defense but will be young in other areas.

Final score prediction: UTEP 20 - ACU 17

@ ULM (Sept. 11) 

2019 Record: 5-7, 4-4 Sun Belt

The Warhawks had an uncharacteristic off-season, even aside from halting practice due to a COVID-19 outbreak among players during camp. Former UTEP defensive coordinator Scott Stoker is now the interim defensive coordinator for ULM after their previous DC resigned. They will be relying on running back Josh Johnson (1,298 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns) to lead the way offensively.

Final score prediction: ULM 24 - UTEP 23 

@ LA Tech (Oct. 10) 

2019 Record: 10-3, 6-2 C-USA

The Bulldogs have been outstanding over the past seasons and have won eight games or less in a season just twice since 2013. That's incredible. Even though they lost a good bit of their depth defensively, they have a strong offense between quarterback Aaron Allen and running back Justin Henderson.

Final score prediction: LA Tech 48 - UTEP 10 

vs. Southern Miss (Oct. 17)

2019 Record: 7-6, 5-5 C-USA

The Golden Eagles have some young players on both sides of the ball and will look to quarterback Jack Abraham to lead the way as their primary gunslinger. Defensively, they have some issues with inexperience, especially their defensive line. Still, they should be able to move the ball against the Miners and capture the win at the Sun Bowl.

Final score prediction: So. Miss 20 - UTEP 7

@ Charlotte (Oct. 24) 

2019 Record: 7-6, 5-3 C-USA

Coming off their first bowl appearance in school history, Charlotte looks to carry on the momentum they earned last year to 2020. They managed to find success with a young team full of sophomores and return their top quarterback Chris Reynolds (2,564 yards, 22 touchdowns).

Final score prediction: Charlotte 35 - UTEP 17 

vs. North Texas (Oct. 31) 

2019 Record: 4-8, 3-5 C-USA

Last year was really disappointing for Seth Littrell and his team that high hopes under quarterback Mason Fine, who regressed in his senior year. This year will be about finding a new identity for North Texas, using a group of returners at defense and running back Tre Siggers.

Final score prediction: UNT 24 - UTEP 9 

vs. FIU (Nov. 7) 

2019 Record: 6-7, 3-5 C-USA

Butch Davis and the Panthers expected a lot more in 2019 than how they finished up. With a ton of newcomers and a tough east division in C-USA, they will need to try and create more momentum going into 2021. However, the Panthers could also be on a downward spiral and the Miners could their first C-USA win at home.

Final score prediction: FIU 20 - UTEP 17 

@ UTSA (Nov. 14) 

2019 Record: 4-8, 3-5 C-USA

New head coach Jeff Traylor will have a lot to clean up with a UTSA program that has struggled in recent years. Sincere McCormick will lead the way offensively at the tailback spot, coming off a 983 rushing yard season.

Final score prediction: UTSA 28 - UTEP 27 

vs. UAB (Nov. 21) 

2019 Record: 9-5, 6-2 C-USA

The Blazers have been one of the most consistent teams across the league since they returned to the FBS ranks. Quarterback Tyler Johnston III will lead the way for the Blazers along with their six All-Conference defensive players. UAB has a chance to win the conference this year.

Final score prediction: UAB 28 - UTEP 0

 @ Rice (Nov. 28) 

2019 Record: 3-9, 3-5 C-USA

The Owls closed out the 2019 season by winning three straight games to give them more confidence moving forward into the upcoming season. TCU transfer Mike Collins will be the signal-caller this year for Rice and hopes to bring some consistency to the Owls offense. They have an underappreciated defense with returning players across the board. Expect this team to take a step forward this year.

Final score prediction: Rice 38  - UTEP 14

Final UTEP record: 2-10

Dana Dimel's third season with the Miners is still part of the rebuilding process that is part of a five-year plan. While wins won't come easy for this group, seeing improvement by the newcomers and hoping for growth on both sides of the ball will be the key for 2020. Problem is, will the fan base have patience with a long rebuild like this program is undergoing? We will soon find out.

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