UTEP Picked 24th in the Nation By Athlon Sports
Athlon Sports has pegged the UTEP football team 24th in the nation in its preseason magazine, scheduled to hit newsstands on June 7.
The Miners are projected to win Conference USA in their first year in the league. UTEP officially becomes a member of C-USA on July 1.
UTEP, coming off an 8-4 season and EV1.net Houston Bowl appearance in 2004, returns 44 letterwinners and 12 starters.
"UTEP is coming to Conference USA from the WAC and is ready to announce its presence with authority," the magazine says. "The Miners are coming off an eight-win, bowl season in 2004 and are looking to win the league title in their first season in C-USA. Coach Mike Price has done a nice job turning around a program that had just six wins in three years prior to his arrival."
Athlon Sports picked UTEP WR Jayson Boyd, DL Chris Mineo and LB Thomas Howard as preseason first team All-Conference USA players. QB Jordan Palmer, RB Tyler Ebell, WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, Jr., OL Josh House and DB Quintin Demps were second team All-League selections.
Additionally, QB Brandis Dew is listed as the second-rated incoming freshman in C-USA.
UTEP's quarterbacks are rated No. 1 and its running backs and receivers are rated No. 2 in C-USA.
The Miners open the 2005 season on Sept. 3 at New Mexico State. UTEP's home opener will be on Friday, Sept. 16 versus C-USA opponent Houston.