UTEP Adds Northwestern to 2023 Football Schedule
With NMSU moving into Conference USA next summer, UTEP has to replace one football game each season. Director of Athletics Jim Senter took care of 2023 with the Miners scheduled to play Northwestern on Saturday, September 9th. FB Schedules reports that UTEP will make $1.2 million for the road game at Ryan Field.
Northwestern is currently 1-6 overall including a 1-4 record in the Big 10. Their only win was in the first week of the season, when they defeated Nebraska 31-28. Since then, the Wildcats have lost to Duke, Southern Illinois, Miami (Ohio), Penn State, Wisconsin, and Maryland.
The scheduling strategy is a smart move for Senter and the UTEP Athletic Department. Instead of getting paid seven figures for a road contest against a Top 25 opponent, the Miners should do everything in their power to get guarantee games against weaker Power 5 schools like Northwestern. The Huskies have struggled in three of the past four years under long time head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
The biggest challenge for UTEP is that most Power 5 programs have already scheduled their non-conference games for the next 5-10 years. The Miners 2023 and 2024 schedules are already full, but they only have one current non-conference game on the calendar for 2025 (Texas 9/13). Courtesy of FB Schedules, here is UTEP's current schedule for the next two years:
09/02 - UIW
09/09 - at Northwestern
09/16 - at Arizona
09/23 - UNLV
08/31 - at Nebraska
09/07 - Southern Utah
09/21 - at Colorado State
11/23 - at Tennessee
Next season, the Miners could face former star receiver Jacob Cowing in a big week three road matchup if he chooses to return to Tucson for his final season of eligibility. First glance, all four of UTEP's non-conference games in 2023 are favorable compared to the more difficult 2024 schedule.
UTEP is currently 4-4 this season after a big 24-21 win over Florida Atlantic this past weekend. The Miners need two more wins to qualify for the postseason for the second straight season and they host Middle Tennessee Saturday night at the Sun Bowl.