(Photo courtesy of WVU Athletics)
Morgantown, West Virginia – In Neal Brown’s 3rd season in Morgantown, no one really expected a Big 12 championship for the Mountaineers, not even Brown himself. Following West Virginia’s loss at Baylor, Brown said the following: “I didn’t expect us to be 2-4 at this point, but I also didn’t expect us to ‘arrive’ in year three.”
Now at 3-4 following an upset victory on the road against TCU, the goals for the Mountaineers are very clear:
1. Win games they should win from here on out. West Virginia should be able to be able to get at least one win at home against Iowa State, Oklahoma State or Texas. The Mountaineers need 3 more victories to become bowl eligible and they have three home games remaining, as well as the Kansas Jayhawks on the road. This is very doable.
2. Upset a ranked team at home. West Virginia will play two ranked teams at home over the next two weeks and they must beat one of them. The crowd for #22 Iowa State at Milan Puskar Stadium next Saturday should be rockin’ and although the Cyclones are very good, they are also beatable, especially with 60,000 rabid Mountaineers making things difficult for them.
Oklahoma State comes to Morgantown the next weekend and they were upset by Iowa State yesterday. Winning one of these games would go a long way in West Virginia getting to six victories this season.
3. Become bowl eligible by winning at least 6 games. West Virginia could potentially lose any of the remaining five games, but they also could win all or most of them. If the Mountaineers want to be a competitive Big 12 Conference team, they have to be able to beat teams like Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Texas at home. Road games against Kansas State and Kansas are also games West Virginia is capable of winning. Remember, they only need to win three of their final five games to earn a bowl berth.
4. Win the bowl game to build momentum for next season. If the Mountaineers win three more games, they’ll be bowl eligible, which would be a huge victory after the poor start to the season. Finishing the season 6-6 or 7-5 after starting the season 2-4 would be big, but going 6-6 or 7-5 in the regular season with a bowl win to end the season would be even better.
Bottom line, there’s still a lot of football left to be played and the Mountaineers can still make the 2021-2022 season a positive one with lots of momentum heading into next season.