Despite having its first winning record in seven seasons, national prognosticators are still undervaluing the UTEP football team for the upcoming 2022 season.

Today, ESPN released the first College Football Power Index (FPI) and the Miners were ranked No. 119 in the country. Per the ranking, the Miners are ranked ninth of 11 Conference USA football programs going into the fall season. To put it into perspective, UTEP is ranked below teams that didn't qualify for a bowl game in 2022, such as Florida Atlantic (No. 87), LA Tech (No. 91) and Charlotte (No. 100). NM State is tabbed as the lowest-ranked team in FBS at No. 131.

Here is how the C-USA breakdown looks for football per ESPN FPI:

  • #63 UAB
  • #65 Western Kentucky
  • #75 UTSA
  • #84 Middle Tennessee
  • #87 Florida Atlantic
  • #91 LA Tech
  • #93 North Texas
  • #100 Charlotte
  • #119 UTEP
  • #121 Rice
  • #123 Florida International

ESPN's FPI was created in 2013 to try and measure team strength and predict game/season outcomes. According to the website, each team's FPI rating is made up of a predicted offensive, defensive and special teams component. For the preseason specifically, the rankings are computed by using data from previous seasons, factoring returning starters, past games, recruiting rankings and coaching rankings.

UTEP is set to return 14 starters on both sides of the ball and the team also brought in 14 mid-year transfers to add immediate help. The schedule shakeup—brought on by the news of Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss leaving C-USA for the Sun Belt—led to UTEP seeing their conference slate soften up a bit. Instead of playing teams like UAB, Old Dominion and Southern Miss, the Miners will face Florida Atlantic, Charlotte and Middle Tennessee. In addition, the Miners will open up the season in week zero against fellow C-USA foe North Texas.

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