(Photo by WVU Athletics)
The West Virginia University Mountaineers will kickoff their 2023 football season on September 2nd against Penn State. Despite being heavy underdogs against the Nittany Lions, there will be a lot of excitement surrounding this game as it will be the first time since 1992 that the two sides have squared off. It will also present a chance for WVU Head Coach Neal Brown to prove himself and silence his doubters that he has accumulated over the last four seasons in Morgantown.
Should he find a way to knock off the Nittany Lions, then the Mountaineers are likely looking towards a successful 2023 season. This would almost certainly cool his seat down. Even if they compete against Penn State, there should be some relief from the pressure he has been facing. However, should West Virginia find themselves getting blown out, then this could pose trouble for Brown’s time at West Virginia University.
Though it will not be the deciding factor on his fate with the Mountaineers, a big loss should certainly be taken into consideration when making the decision. If Wren Baker wants to prove to Mountaineer Nation that he is taking winning seriously, the final decision on Neal Brown needs to come just two weeks later when West Virginia takes on Pitt.
With a loss to Penn State, the Mountaineers must defeat Pitt to avoid having a losing record in out-of-conference play. Heading into Big 12 play with a 1-2 record will not give fans much hope that West Virginia can even return to bowl contention in 2023. The best way to avoid Neal Brown having his fourth losing seasons in five years is to not give him the opportunity to do so. Should West Virginia lose to both Penn State and Pitt, two traditional rivals that Mountaineer Nation EXPECTS to contend with and even defeat, then it will be time to pull the plug starting at the top with Brown.
Nobody wants to head into October without a head coach, but this will give the Mountaineers an ample amount of time to find the right man for the job. With likely either Chad Scott or Jordan Lesley at the helm, either of those two could navigate West Virginia through the rough waters of conference play and help the team limp to the finish line – probably just as well as Neal Brown could at this point.
It would not be a decision that everyone will agree with or even necessarily like, but it is one that must be done early if West Virginia hopes to turn this sinking ship around. Losing is not acceptable, and it absolutely is not acceptable against rivals. Wren Baker and West Virginia University must make the final decision on Neal Brown prior to game four.