Morgantown, West Virginia – Make no mistake about it, if the West Virginia Mountaineers don’t beat the Virginia Tech Hokies and bring back the Black Diamond Trophy on Thursday night, Neal Brown might as well not board the bus back to Morgantown.
Losing and potentially falling to 1-3 on the season with losses to Pitt, Kansas and a really average Virginia Tech would be game over for Neal Brown.
Game. Set. Match. His days as the head coach of the Mountaineers would be over.
That’s why Thursday night’s game in Blacksburg is an absolute must win.
Not only would West Virginia fall to 1-3, they would then face their grueling Big 12 Conference schedule with games at Texas, at home against Baylor and on the road in Lubbock, Texas to play Texas Tech.
Nothing is easy in the Big 12 Conference and unfortunately for the Mountaineers, there just aren’t many games that they’ll be expected to win for the remainder of the schedule.
Virginia Tech is not going to be an easy win, despite the fact that they are not a particularly good team. Winning in Blacksburg at Lane Stadium at night in a rivalry game would be a massive challenge for the Mountaineers, even if Virginia Tech was fielding a high school team.
Unfortunately, Neal Brown has shown that he just doesn’t get it done in close games. Whether it’s because he’s too cautious or because he’s not good at closing games out or because strategically he’s just out-coached by the opposing head coach, Brown has fallen short multiple times too many times in games that mean too much.
That can’t happen Thursday night. Brown has the more talented team and losing just isn’t an option for the Mountaineers. Everything that has happened over the past three seasons and three games has led up to this point, and it’s a make it or break it moment in Neal Brown’s coaching career.
Win and he lives another day and gets another chance to fix this season.
Lose and that’s it. Every bit of trust and hope that the West Virginia fan base has put in him will be lost and Neal Brown’s time in Morgantown will be over.