(Photo by WVU Athletics)
That didn’t take long.
After Neal Brown took over a Mountaineer Football team with a mostly bare cupboard in 2019, I personally believed it would take at least four seasons to fix. The fifth season would have been when the true excitement finally arrived in Morgantown. However, as he did at Troy, Brown has turned the fortunes of the Mountaineers around in a hurry.
Going into 2021, it will be hard for many fans to contain their excitement. The Mountaineers are bringing back virtually everybody on the offensive side of the ball, and will only have to deal with two significant departures on defense. Both units were solid in 2020, particularly the defense who led all Power Five institutions in total defense.
The schedule will also be favorable for West Virginia. Not only will they draw bitter-rival Virginia Tech in Morgantown, but Iowa State, Texas, and Oklahoma State will all have to make the long and winding trip down the Country Roads. This is where I believe WVU will find the most success, in the luck of the draw.
With the plethora of returning talent, as well as a schedule that is laid out for success, it is hard to see WVU as anything other than a top 25 team in 2021. It has been a quick “climb,” but everything has seemingly been building to this opportunity for Neal Brown in Morgantown. He has the experience and leadership on his roster to be successful, and the competitive advantage is now there.
If the offense can find their groove consistently in 2021, and should the defense keep up their intimidating ways, there is no reason to believe this team will not be competing for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game by season’s end. While that would be ideal, we will stick with being a regular in the top 25 just to keep our expectations realistic.
The 2021 season is shaping up to be a fun season in Morgantown, and we should all be eager for it to finally arrive.