Can Neal Brown Survive a 1-2 Start?

WVU will play two of their most bitter rivals in the first three weeks of the 2023 season. Can Neal Brown drop both games heading into Big 12 play and survive?


Morgantown, WV – The West Virginia Mountaineers are set to take on one of the toughest schedules in the nation in 2023. On top of nine Big 12 games, they will do battle with two Power Five schools in out-of-conference play with Penn State and Pitt. A lot will be learned about this team throughout the first month of the season as both the Nittany Lions and Panthers are slated during the first three weeks.

Coming into the season as the worst team in the Big 12 (as selected by the media), it should be expected that WVU will be the underdog in both matchups against their bitter rivals. If the Mountaineers drop both games, the heat will be intensified on Neal Brown’s already scolding seat.

This will then accelerate the question everyone has been asking to the forefront – can Neal Brown survive a 1-2 start to the season?

The simple answer is yes, Neal Brown CAN survive a 1-2 start to the season…but it will be tough.

The out-of-conference portion of the schedule will be followed by two games against Big 12 dark horses in Texas Tech and TCU. Things will not get easier as two of three games in October will be on the road, and the final month of the season will feature away games against conference favorite Oklahoma and Baylor.

There will be no breaks for the Mountaineers in Big 12 play. With their backs already against the wall, it would be an uphill battle to reach bowl eligibility after a 1-2 start. But let it be known that it is not impossible. No team in the Big 12 is invincible, and the separation between schools is minimal.

The Mountaineers could certainly find a way to win five conference games and get to bowl eligibility with one out-of-conference win. Having all four newcomers on the conference slate could help with achieving this feat as growing pains should be expected with those teams.

A 6-6 season after a 5-7 season shows at least some improvement by the team. If the Mountaineers can also win a bowl game, then it is hard to fathom the university firing Neal Brown and paying his hefty buyout.

It will take a lot of bounces to go his way, but a 1-2 start to the season WILL NOT signify the beginning of the end for the Neal Brown era.

(Photo by WVU Athletics)