Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Return of the Friends of Coal Bowl is Now Possible

With Neal Brown’s recent comments on scheduling at WVU, could this open the door for the return of the Friends of Coal Bowl? Morgantown, WV - Neal Brown is no fan of playing 11 Power Five programs annually. In a recent interview with The Voice of College Football’s Mike Rogers, Brown spoke at length about his disapproval of WVU’s current scheduling structure. Being in favor of playing “one FCS, one Group of Five, and one regional opponent,” the days of the Mountaineers playing ridiculously difficult schedules are likely in the past. Beginning in 2025, West Virginia will play under the aforementioned schedule structure with home games against Robert Morris and Pitt, while traveling to Athens, Ohio for a matchup with the Ohio Bobcats in-between. This strategy will then carry over into 2026 and 2027 as WVU is scheduled to play against Alabama, UT Martin, VMI, East Carolina, and Ohio. With the return of Group of Five schools on WVU’s schedule, this will open up a plethora of opportunities for the Mountaineers to play teams they have never met on the gridiron. On the other hand, however, it could open the door for some potential rematches with schools that the Mountaineers have not played in over a decade. One school in particular being Marshall. The Mountaineers and Thundering Herd have not met on the football field since September 1, 2012. It was a 69-34 blowout in favor of WVU, moving the school’s record against Marshall to a convincing 12-0. With the induction of the College Football Playoff, and teams that play challenging schedules assumed to be favored by the committee, this series was shelved in favor of other regional rivalries. What we have since learned, though, is that the committee does not always punish a team for scheduling below their level of competition. Combine that with Neal Brown’s desire to play a Group of Five school at home, and this could easily lead to a revival of the Friends of Coal Bowl. While this seems intriguing in theory, there are a number of things that would have to happen first. Both teams would need to have openings on their future schedules - which they do. Marshall and West Virginia both have dates open in 2028 and beyond. The Herd would also have to agree to a 2-for-1 series (two games in Morgantown, one game in Huntington). This was the agreement set in place between Ohio and West Virginia. The two will first meet in Athens in 2025, followed by matchups in Morgantown in 2027 and 2029. If Marshall would refuse to agree to these terms, then a deal would likely not be met. Lastly, there would have to be interest in the restoration of the series. Marshall fans have made it clear that they would like their team to have another shot at WVU. Mountaineer fans, on the contrary, are not so keen on the facing the Herd. So that aspect will take some work. The dominoes are in line for WVU and Marshall to once again meet on the football field. Whether or not they fall into place remains to be seen. Take it as you will, but this conversation is not as far fetched as you may think. Do not be surprised if you see some rumblings on Marshall-WVU sometime in the foreseeable future.  

Neal Brown on Scheduling at WVU

Neal Brown was recently interviewed by The Voice of College Football’s Mark Rogers. The WVU Head Coach had a lot to say regarding the scheduling situation in Morgantown.   Morgantown, WV - West Virginia University is in a peculiar situation when it comes to their football schedule. They are one of only a few programs that have played 11 Power Five schools consistently over the last several seasons. The Mountaineers will once again play a grueling schedule in 2023 with games at Penn State and against Pitt in Morgantown, all before the end of September. Though this may be a great way to prove your case to the College Football Playoff committee, it more often than not ends up hurting WVU. Neal Brown, the Head Coach for the Mountaineers, recently spoke out against the current scheduling structure of the program. In a conversation with The Voice of College Football’s Mark Rogers, Brown stated that while it is good that the Mountaineers are playing regional rivals, he does not agree with playing two in one season. In his ideal season, WVU would play “a regional rival, an opponent from the FCS, and a Group of Five opponent.” He also stated that the Mountaineers should add one more home game per season, citing that it would be good for “the State of West Virginia, and Morgantown.” Fortunately for Brown, the Mountaineers only have two more seasons of 11 Power Five opponents left on their schedule - 2023 and 2024. Starting in 2025, West Virginia will have one Power Five, one Group of Five, and one FCS opponent on their non-conference schedule (Robert Morris, at Ohio, Pitt). Extremely tough non-conference schedules seem to be heading towards a “thing of the past” status in Morgantown. It may just be for the best, honestly. (Photo by WVU Athletics) 

WATCH: WVU Welcomes Big 12 Trophy to Morgantown

The West Virginia University Baseball team won a share of the 2023 Big 12 Regular Season Championship. They welcomed the trophy home today.   Morgantown, WV - Following a Big 12 Regular Season Championship, the WVU Baseball team finally had the opportunity to welcome the conference’s trophy home today in a moment the team shared on social media. https://twitter.com/wvubaseball/status/1663268289135476736?s=46&t=cXIQ4JQG-pp-P6qrRwLwjw Watch the Mountaineers celebrate their incredible accomplishment in the tweet above. WVU takes on Indiana in the Lexington, Kentucky Region to begin the NCAA Tournament. They finished the season 39-18. (Photo by WVU Athletics)

Opponent Set for WVU’s Tournament Appearance

WVU Baseball has been selected to the NCAA Tournament. Who will they face in the Lexington, Kentucky region?   Morgantown, WV - The WVU Baseball team is set to compete in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. Earlier today, it was announced that the Mountaineers will be the 2nd-seed in the Lexington, Kentucky region Kentucky, the region’s 1st-seed, will take on 4th-seed Ball State to get things started. West Virginia will do battle with the 3rd-seed Hoosiers from Indiana. https://twitter.com/ncaabaseball/status/1663217582902583296?s=46&t=cXIQ4JQG-pp-P6qrRwLwjw The Lexington region will face-off against one another from June 2nd to 5th. Stay tuned to The Voice of Motown for updates. (Photo by WVU Athletics) 

WVU Secures Spot in NCAA Tournament

After a successful 2023 season, WVU Baseball is set to compete in the NCAA Tournament.   Morgantown, WV - After winning a share of the 2023 regular season Big 12 championship, the Mountaineer Baseball team has officially been selected to compete in the NCAA Tournament. Moments ago, the team announced that they will be competing in the Lexington, Kentucky Regional. https://twitter.com/WVUBaseball/status/1663218016169996291?s=20 The Mountaineers finished the season 39-18. Stay tuned to The Voice of Motown as we will bring you updates on WVU’s opponent in the Bluegrass State. (Photo by WVU Athletics) 

Garrett Greene Gets Pat McAfee’s Stamp of Approval

Former Mountaineer Pat McAfee shares his excitement for the potential of Garrett Greene. Morgantown, WV - WVU quarterback Garrett Greene is in the midst of a quarterback battle, but this hasn’t kept fans and media members from becoming excited about his potential. One media member and former Mountaineer in particular, Pat McAfee, is high on Garrett Greene. He took to his daily broadcast, The Pat McAfee Show, to share his enthusiasm. https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1662541147875442689?s=20 Here are some of McAfee’s quotes on Greene: - “Happy Valley is about to be GG valley!” - “He’s a dog! He can run, he can throw, he’s unbelievable!” - “Garrett Greene is a guy, that when he plays football, everybody notices!” - “He was electrifying! The fans loved him!” Needless to say, McAfee expects big things from Greene in 2023. Should Garrett Greene win the quarterback battle, his first challenge will be against Penn State in Happy Valley. Kickoff is set for 7:30 on September 2nd. The game will broadcast on NBC.

Colorado’s Potential Move to the Big 12 Picking Up Steam

(Photo by Colorado Athletics)  With the Big 12’s expansion talk being louder than usual, Colorado is the school garnering the most attention. Athletic Director Rick George spoke on the topic with Buffs Wire earlier this week.   Boulder, Colorado - The Colorado Buffaloes are hot on the expansion trail as of late. With the Big 12 rumored to expand with several additions, many expect the Buffs to be the first team to receive the invite - and accept. Many random social accounts have reported that Colorado will be making the move any day now, but that has yet to come to fruition. However, Colorado Athletic Director Rick George recently spoke with Buffs Wire about the subject, and many of his quotes were quite…interesting. https://twitter.com/BrianHowell33/status/1662204013054689282?s=20 Rick George on Colorado’s potential move to the Big 12:  “We’re members of the Pac-12, we’re proud members of the Pac-12 and we’ve got to see where our media rights deal lands and where our conference goes. In a perfect world, we’d love to be in the Pac-12, but we also have to do what’s right for Colorado at the end of the day. We’ll evaluate things as we move forward.” There it is, folks. While Colorado certainly hopes that their athletics can remain in the Pac-12, George does leave the door open for their potential exit. According to Justin Walker of Couz’s Corner, Colorado currently has two “Special Board Meetings” scheduled for next week. This will be something to keep an eye on for fans and media of the Big 12. https://twitter.com/couz206/status/1662264912142368769?s=46&t=cXIQ4JQG-pp-P6qrRwLwjw Stay tuned to The Voice of Motown for updates.

Athlon Sports Predicts Miserable Season for WVU

(Photo by WVU Athletics) Athlon Sports recently released their 2023 College Football preview magazines. With four additions to the Big 12, where does the outlet have the Mountaineers finishing in the standings? Morgantown, WV - Coming off of a 5-7 season, the West Virginia Mountaineers will be looking to rebound in 2023. Neal Brown and his staff will be relying on a slew of inexperience and transfer additions to save their jobs. Unfortunately for them, there aren’t many people giving them a chance to improve, or even return to bowl season. Athlon Sports, an outlet known for their preseason magazines, released their 2023 College Football previews on May 21st. The Mountaineers, who open their season at Penn State on September 2nd, were ranked as one of the worst Power Five teams. The preview has West Virginia finishing with a 4-8 record overall, and a 3-6 record in Big 12 play. This will be good enough for dead last in the Big 12 - 14th place. Should this come to fruition, it can certainly be expected that Neal Brown will not be retained for a sixth season in Morgantown. Hopefully the staff will be using this as motivational material going into the season. Today marks 100 days until the return of Mountaineer Football. WVU will kickoff the 2023 with a primetime game against the Nittany Lions. The season opener is slated for a 7:30 start, and will be televised on NBC.

Wetherholt Named Big 12 Player of the Year

WVU baseball player JJ Wetherholt wins conference player of the year.  MORGANTOWN, WV - According to the Big 12 social media pages, WVU baseball player JJ Wetherholt has been named the Big 12 Baseball Player of the Year. https://twitter.com/Big12Conference/status/1661117088117960705?s=20 This is the first time in WVU Baseball’s history that they have had a player win the Big 12 Player of the Year.   He tallied a .447 average, 15 home runs, 56 RBIs, and 35 stolen bases. Congratulations, JJ!

Potential Neal Brown Replacements to Keep an Eye on in 2023

After compiling a 22-25 record, Neal Brown will be on the hot seat when the 2023 season begins. MORGANTOWN, WV - With Neal Brown squarely on the hot seat going into 2023, fans and media will be keeping their eye out for his potential replacement all season. While there are some obvious candidates, there are several Group of 5 coaches that could be a worthy successor to the former Troy head coach. While this may not seem very enticing to many, there are plenty of lower-level coaches that have more experience than Brown possessed when he arrived in Morgantown.   Here are FOUR potential Neal Brown replacements fans should keep a watch on in 2023: Curt Cignetti - James Madison While he may not be a popular choice for many WVU fans, Cignetti has won at all of his head coaching stops. During his 12 years leading programs, he has never had a losing record. Granted most of that time was at the FCS level, he did help the Dukes transition to the FBS with relative ease. Being a former Mountaineer quarterback, Cignetti also has WVU ties. His father, Frank Sr., served as West Virginia's head coach from 1976 to 1979. Tom Herman - Florida Atlantic This is a familiar name to Mountaineer fans. Herman last coached the Texas Longhorns in 2020, and has just recently accepted the head coaching gig at Florida Atlantic. Though he is still relatively fresh coming off of a two-season hiatus, he has proven that he can win in the Big 12. If he can put together a successful season with the Owls, it's feasible to imagine Wren Baker and WVU taking a chance on him. Jamey Chadwell - Liberty Another first-year coach at his new school, Jamey Chadwell now takes on the Liberty Flames. His southern charm and offensive identity will make him an attractive target for the West Virginia Football program. During his time at Coastal Carolina, the Chanticleers were one of the hottest teams in the Group of 5. If he can recapture that magic with the Flames, there's no reason that West Virginia should not take a chance on him. Tony Gibson - NC State (Defensive Coordinator) If there is anyone in College Football that understands the Mountaineer program, it is Tony Gibson. The 50-year old served as WVU's defensive coordinator for five seasons under former head coach Dana Holgorsen. He was interviewed for the position after Holgorsen's departure, but it would ultimately end up going to Neal Brown. Will Wren Baker and WVU give Gibson a second chance should they move on from Brown? Only time will tell, but his solid performance at NC State bodes well for him.

Post Spring Game-By-Game Predictions for WVU Football

It is now or never for the Neal Brown era in Morgantown. After posting a 22-25 record through four seasons, the former Troy head coach will be coaching for his job when the Mountaineers kick things off in September. Many outlets have West Virginia at the very bottom of their power rankings, and rightfully so. The Mountaineers are coming off of their third losing season in four years, and Brown has shown little to prove he is capable of leading WVU to new heights. However, despite all of the negativity surrounding the program, I have a hard time believing that the Mountaineers will not turn some kind of corner in 2023. The team looked solid in their spring game, and they will now have a worthy successor at quarterback in either Garrett Greene or Nicco Marchiol. Though the schedule will be one of the most difficult in the nation, I expect the Mountaineers to navigate it better than many believe.   Here are our Post Spring Game-By-Game Predictions for the Mountaineers in 2023: 9/2 - at Penn State This is not a game that anyone will have the Mountaineers winning - including me. But this does not mean that I believe that West Virginia will not keep it interesting deep into the game. The Nittany Lions will ultimately pull away in the end, but West Virginia will put up an inspirational fight. Prediction: Penn State 33, WVU 20  9/9 - Duquesne The Dukes travel to Morgantown for their first FBS contest of the young season. West Virginia will be licking its wounds, and hungry for a victory. The Mountaineers get young players a lot of playing time late in this blowout. The game will start slow, but the depth of West Virginia will prevail in the end. Prediction: WVU 48, Duquesne 7  9/16 - Pitt This is the game that everyone has circled going into the season. After losing 38-31 to the Panthers in 2022, Neal Brown must win this game to keep anybody on his side. A loss here and things could quickly come off of the wheels. I do not see that happening. West Virginia uses an electric home atmosphere to knock off Pitt for the first time since 2011. Prediction: WVU 23, Pitt 21 9/23 - Texas Tech The Mountaineers have dropped four straight to the Red Raiders. Things got ugly in Lubbock last season, so the gap between these two teams is obvious. Things will not get as out of hand this season, but the Red Raiders win their fifth-straight in the series, and third-straight in Morgantown. Prediction: Texas Tech 35, WVU 27  9/30 - at TCU The Horned Frogs are coming off of a National Championship appearance in 2022. They will not be as good in 2023, but they will still be solid. Garrett Greene has his best game of the young season, but it isn't enough to topple the Frogs in Fort Worth. The Mountaineers drop to 2-3, and Neal Brown's seat is now scorching. Prediction: TCU 34, WVU 17 10/12 - at Houston Arguably the most important game on the schedule, WVU can absolutely not lose to Dana Holgorsen and the Cougars - and I don't think they will. Neal Brown pulls the plug on Greene and gives Nicco Marchiol his first start of his career to try to give the team a spark. The Mountaineers seal it with an Aubrey Burks interception late. Prediction: WVU 27, Houston 24  10/21 - Oklahoma State Now sitting at 3-3, the Mountaineers can turn around their season with a victory here. High off of a solid performance against Houston, Nicco Marchiol has the game of his life in a huge home victory. West Virginia pulls away in the fourth quarter and takes this one by double-digits, moving to 4-3. Prediction: WVU 26, Oklahoma State 16  10/28 - at UCF UCF is new to the Big 12, and will not know what to expect from their conference opponents in 2023. I think the Mountaineers use this to their advantage, and fend off a comeback attempt by the Knights. Marchiol moves to 3-0 as a starting quarterback, and the Mountaineers improve to 5-3. Prediction: WVU 31, UCF 24  11/4 - BYU  The Mountaineers and Cougars meet up for the second time in the history of their programs, and the first time since 2016. West Virginia can claim bowl eligibility with a victory here today, and should be able to get it done against inferior talent. Marchiol continues his hot streak. Prediction: WVU 31, BYU 14  11/11 - at Oklahoma The Sooners should be improved, and will be looking for revenge against the Mountaineers. For the first time since September, the Mountaineers add one to the loss column. I expect Oklahoma to have this one in hand come the fourth quarter. Prediction: Oklahoma 41, WVU 20  11/18 - Cincinnati  Cincinnati will likely struggle during their first year in the Big 12. I don't believe Scott Satterfield was a good hire, and Neal Brown will exploit him here. The Mountaineers win on Senior Day, and finally reach 7 wins under Neal Brown. Prediction: WVU 28, Cincinnati 17  11/25 - at Baylor  Waco is never a place that the Mountaineers perform their best. The Bears will have a good game-plan, and will keep the solid WVU rushing attack in check. It will be close, but Baylor makes the stop that matters in the end. Prediction: Baylor 33, WVU 28  Final Record Prediction - 7-5 (5-4 Big 12) Neal Brown keeps his job.  

Predicting Kickoff Time and Network for All of WVU’s 2023 Season

(Photo by WVU Athletics)  WVU has already learned the kickoff time and network for their September 2nd game against Penn State. The Mountaineers and Nittany Lions will battle it out in front of a national NBC audience in a prime time slot of 7:30. With the season fast approaching, we can expect to see most of WVU’s early-season matchups to receive time slots and networks soon. Today, we are taking a look at their season, and predicting the kickoff time and network for each game. PREDICTIONS FOR KICKOFF TIMES AND NETWORKS: Duquesne at WVU - 2 p.m. on ESPN+  The usual time slot for WVU’s FCS opponents. Expect this game to be thrown on ESPN+. No way the Big 12 wastes a cable slot on this blowout. Pitt at WVU - Noon on ESPN If WVU and the Big 12 have shown anything over the last few seasons, it’s that they don’t like giving the Mountaineers night games. This matchup won’t be any different. Nonetheless, Milan Puskar Stadium will still be rocking. Texas Tech at WVU - 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2  No noon game for the Mountaineers here. When WVU and Texas Tech square off, it is more often than not placed in the 3:30 slot. The crowd at this one will depend on how the Mountaineers have performed in their first three games. WVU at TCU - 3:30 p.m. on Fox  TCU’s appearance in the national championship game last season will make them a hot commodity for networks. We don’t expect this one to be a night game, but the national audience will be there for the Mountaineers and Horned Frogs. WVU at Houston - 7 p.m. on FS1 The Mountaineers and Houston will meet up on a Thursday night in mid-October. The FS1 slot on Thursday is usually where mid-week Big 12 games land. Expect the same here. Oklahoma State at WVU - 3:30 on ESPN2 Another 3:30 kickoff in Morgantown. We almost put this one at noon, but the last two games between these teams in Morgantown have kicked at 3:30. ESPN2 seems like a likely landing spot. WVU at UCF - Noon on ESPN The Big 12 will be trying to sell UCF all season. I don’t see these two squads getting a night game, but I believe a national time slot on ESPN is feasible. The Mountaineers and Knights kickoff early in Orlando. BYU at WVU - 4 p.m. on FS2  This has all the makings of a weird matchup, and the Big 12 and networks know it. We will see this game getting dumped on FS2 at an odd 4 p.m. slot. It will be the first time since 2016 that the two sides have met (WVU won 35-32), and only the second time in history. WVU at Oklahoma - 8 p.m. on ABC The Mountaineers and Sooners always provide quality matchups. Oklahoma should be much improved, and ranked at this time in the year. A primetime slot on ABC sounds about right for this one. Cincinnati at WVU - 2 p.m. on ESPN+ The Bearcats will likely struggle in their first year in the Big 12. With the Mountaineers likely to be a team in the bottom-half of the league, we don’t see the Big 12 wasting a major time slot on this one. Expect this one to be dumped on ESPN+ for WVU’s one conference home game of the year on the streaming service. WVU at Baylor - Noon on ESPN2 Neither of these teams will be contending for the Big 12 Championship, so it will receive another noon time slot. If both teams are battling for bowl eligibility, then it will likely garner viewers. Expect kickoff times and networks for WVU’s early season games to be announced in the coming weeks.

WVU Receives Highest Power Ranking Yet

(Photo by WVU Athletics)  Coming off of a 5-7 season, many expect WVU to struggle once again in 2023. Neal Brown, who has compiled a 22-25 record in four seasons, will be coaching for his job under new athletic director Wren Baker. If he hopes to be retained in Morgantown, he will have to have his team ready to go each and every Saturday. Many outlets have revealed their Big 12 power rankings following spring ball, and the Mountaineers have been featured at the very bottom in almost all of them. SG1 Sports, a College Football based channel on YouTube, recently revealed their Big 12 Post-Spring Power rankings. West Virginia was given a surprising rating by the channel, making it the highest ranking for the Mountaineers by anyone going into 2023. https://youtu.be/5Dp_GTk84hY The Mountaineers come in at 10th, above Houston, Iowa State, BYU, and Cincinnati. Given that the program has had it much worse than those as of late, this may come as a shock to many. Here are SG1 Sports’ Post-Spring Big 12 rankings: 1. Texas  2. Oklahoma  3. Kansas State 4. TCU  5. Texas Tech 6. UCF 7. Kansas  8. Baylor 9. Oklahoma State 10. West Virginia 11. Houston 12. Iowa State 13. BYU 14. Cincinnati    The channel also predicted WVU’s record for 2023 in another video. They have the Mountaineers finishing at 5-7 for the third time in five seasons. https://youtu.be/Khr9exssOcA  

WVU Lands Tight End Commitment

(Photo by WVU Recruiting)  Neal Brown and the Mountaineers added to the 2024 class with the addition of Jack Sammarco, a tight end from Ohio. https://twitter.com/SammarcoJack/status/1659255492336656394?s=20 A three-star prospect according to 247Sports, Sammarco stands at 6’6” and weighs 235 pounds. He currently holds 13 offers - Akron, Army, Bowling Green, and Connecticut among others. Sammarco becomes the 3rd player to commit to WVU in the 2024 class, joining Richard James Jr. and Keyshawn Robinson.

Players to Be Featured in NCAA Football Revival

(Photo by WVU Athletics) Sports and video game fans everywhere are ecstatic for the return of the beloved NCAA Football game in 2024. Following a decade hiatus, NIL now gives players the opportunity to profit off of their own likeness, paving the way for the franchise's return. Many have wondered if the players we see on the field will be exactly who are featured in the game. Past versions of NCAA Football used the player's likeness, but were not able to use their exact names due to NCAA rules. According to a report from Michael Rothstein of ESPN, every FBS player will now be eligible to appear in the game in light of a new deal struck with EA Sports. https://twitter.com/mikerothstein/status/1658813777922367496?s=46&t=cXIQ4JQG-pp-P6qrRwLwjw Players who wish to have their likeness in the game will receive a compensation check for doing so. Those who choose not to opt-in will receive a random name and likeness in their places on the rosters. EA Sports College Football has yet to receive an official release date, but will arrive sometime during the summer of 2024. The game is expected to be available on "next-gen" consoles only.