The UTEP Miners have a lot of history with about half of the current Mountain West teams, as they were in the WAC up until the league broke apart in1999. In the current realm of conference realignment, the Miners are an after thought to join the Mountain West.
Their football and basketball programs have been just so-so over the past few years, and their market is not all that big, but the history is why they keep getting mentioned as a possible member.
In a recent editorial El Paso Times, the way to get UTEP into the Mountain West is to try to make the Miners an attractive option:
Again, there are rumors, rumors, rumors. And it's time to put that lipstick on that UTEP football program that is no great shakes, but is better than before.
UTEP's name is on all rumor lists, but so are SMU and Houston. Those two already bolted C-USA for the Big East -- now will they ricochet-bolt to the MWC?
UTEP needs a lasting home. And a real home is being in the MWC with old rivals New Mexico, Colorado State, Air Force, Wyoming, Hawaii -- along with the newbie members of Western states.
Geographically, UTEP makes complete sense and should be considered, but since college football realignment is more about success and what type of market they bring to a new league. While UTEP does have better facilities, and improving basketball and football, but overall they have not had too much sustained success.