It’s hard to say that coaching UTEP is a better job than Rice or UNT – they’re on nearly as large of an island as UH would be in the ACC, amidst a relatively barren recruiting area. Their big rival (NMSU) is on the verge of being forced down to FCS. Their facilities are kinda awful. They’ve won 2 conference championships in their program’s 100-year history, and neither of those were in C-USA. They’ve had one all-american in those 100 years. Fun fact: They’re the only FBS School in Texas that’s never been a member of the SWC or in the FCS.
Last time UTEP won a conference title, Texas State and UNT were FCS, and UTSA didn’t have a program. At least those 3 can make the argument that they’re building something, and that their program is visibly trending upward. Rice can sell recruits on their history as an SWC member and their academic cachet. What does UTEP have?
If you’re a recruit with an offer from any other FBS school in the state, do the 4,000 extra fans you’ll have in the Sun Bowl each week really outweigh the fact that you have to play at UTEP?