El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The countdown to kickoff has begun.
The start of another UTEP football season is now just two days away, and while fans love watching the action on the field, many agree the experience just wouldn't be the same without the pre-partying beforehand.
But as the university also gets ready for its centennial and plows forward with all the construction around campus, many are wondering if those tractors and cranes will get in the way of tailgates and parking.
According to UTEP, not only will the construction not affect game day activities, this year's experience will be better than ever.
For the first time, UTEP is offering free parking for football fanatics in the parking lots directly across from the Sun Bowl garage and bookstore.
There is also paid parking available in the structures along Sun Bowl Drive.
The old RV lot that used to be south of campus has been moved to the old Rudolph lot, next to the Village Inn, giving those fans much more access to nearby restaurants and grocery stores.
Those parking in the RV lot will need to purchase a permit for $40 through the UTEP Ticket Center.
But perhaps most exciting of all for tailgaters this year is what UTEP is calling "Miner Alley."
"It's a big alley-way located directly behind the parking garage and the bookstore, and we're going to have a bunch of great local vendors, a dance-floor type thing, the student tailgates are going to be in there, and it's going to be open to the public to walkthrough," said Daniel Veale, Director of Marketing and Promotions for UTEP.
This year, UTEP expects thousands of tailgaters for the season kickoff game against I-25 rival, University of New Mexico.