How Hot Is Neal Brown’s Seat Before and After Saturday?

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — There is no sense in speaking around the elephant in the room; Wren Baker kept Neal Brown as Head Coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers after several years of creating a deflated product on the field. During its lowest points, fans stayed home instead of going to the games, not watching them at all, or making their negative opinions available. That didn’t just go away over the spring and summer months.

Fans expect results, and the WVU football program is built on a solid foundation of pride and hard work. While some passionate fans may never ‘Trust the Climb’ again, the majority just needs a spark to show that the team is finally moving firmly in the right direction. If you can take anything away from the situation so far, WVU brass and Neal Brown did not expect the program to be in its current state to have made such fierce non-conference opponents for the next several years. We continue our home and away series with Pitt through the 2025 season; We have a home and away against Alabama in the coming years and more. Perhaps, through some seriously rose-colored glasses, we are merely behind schedule.

The lifespan of a college head coach is incredibly short when the team is not winning. Only some get the tenures of coaches like Nick Saban (Alabama) or Bill Snyder (KSU). The noise is loud, and HC Brown’s seat is hot, leading into the season opener. Fortunately for Brown, the outcome of this game will not impact his position, but the team’s performance within it could influence the fanbase. Here is how this Penn State game can hurt or help Brown’s desire to remain Head Coach.

Worst Case:

The worst thing that can happen is the team heads into Beaver Stadium unprepared to be competitive. There is a reason that Penn State is ranked 7th in the country, but you cannot take a beating like Power Five schools often divvy out to FCS opponents. If Penn State covers the spread and does so handily, it doesn’t matter how talented the Nittany Lions were; Mountaineer fans will need someone to answer for the embarrassment.

Best Case:

The best case is that with a solid front five, WVU can take advantage of man coverage scenarios and edge rushing for significant ground yardage that allows us to eke out a win. Any victory with a horde of fans like this would be hard-fought, primarily due to some calculated risks and a well-designed scheme. This would be one of the most significant victories in Mountaineer history, gaining Brown back substantial favor with fans who are on the fence.

What the Fanbase Truly Needs:

Most can agree that the Mountaineers are – by most accounts – outmatched on the road in a hostile environment. The good news for HC Neal Brown is that the fanbase has long made peace with the possibility of leaving State College with a loss. Supporters genuinely need to see that all phases of the ball have improved, and there is no better scenario to lay that out than against a Top 10 team on the road. If we see improvement and we can hold our own in this game, you’ll have plenty of hype as we rebound against Duquesne. This does not gain the instantaneous favor of an upset win, but fans can see that trusting the climb might not have been a mistake.

See how WVU fares against Penn State on NBC this weekend, September 2, at 7:30 PM.

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Benjamin Gilbert
Benjamin Gilbert here - panhandle resident and enjoyer of Pitt losses. First and foremost, I am a lifelong West Virginia Mountaineer fan and do my best to inspire that passion in my beautiful wife and talented kids. Unfortunately, fandom doesn't always pay the bills. I have been writing for a decade and a half for various professions and multi-faceted franchises, so writing is what I do. Combining my skills with my passion for the WVU teams, I always seek to provide fair and honest takes on our path to finding the top of college athletics. Let's Go.