With spring football concluded, I thought I would look at the WVU program as it enters its third year under the leadership of head coach Neal Brown.
There was considerable improvement in his second year at the helmet as the team made and won a postseason bowl game against a challenging Navy team. I made a prediction and I was wrong.
Apparently, said second season was enough to impress WVU Athletic Director Shane Lyons to sign Brown to a contract extension. I think it was to keep him in light of some rumored interest from other programs.
It’s early, but I thought that I’d look at the 2021 schedule.
The opener on Sept. 4 will be against old rival Maryland on the road. Maryland is emerging from a controversy from a couple of years ago when the former coach was ruled negligent in the death of a player.
The home opener will be Sept. 11 against Long Island.
The third game on Sept. 18 will be against arch-rival Virginia Tech. A couple of years back, Tech head coach Justin Fuente was regarded as a rising star in the coaching community. Now, after a disappointing year last year, the shine has gone off of him a bit. Regardless, this will be a tough game for WVU.
The Big 12 season opener is Sept. 25 against Oklahoma on the road. This looks to be the biggest challenge.
The Big 12 home opener will be Oct. 2 against Texas Tech.
On Oct. 9, WVU faces Baylor at Baylor. An object lesson in program resiliency can be made in studying the football and men’s basketball programs at Baylor, both of which survived serious scandals to get to or return to good form.
Two weeks later, WVU faces TCU at TCU. It’s going to be the games against the Texas Techs and TCUs which will determine the course of the WVU season.
On Oct. 30, Iowa State comes to Morgantown.
WVU gets many of their tougher games at home. Case in point, Oklahoma State on Nov. 6. A win against OSU could put them on the path to a major bowl.
The phrase “a trap game” could be used for the Nov. 13 game against Kansas State. KSU was on the TCU/Texas Tech level of tough outs but have slid since head coach Bill Snyder retired.
Texas replaced its head coach with former USC head coach and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Texas has played head coach roulette since Mack Brown left, with Charlie Strong, Tom Herrmann and Sarkisian taking the helm. The program has slipped while that went o n, but they should be tough for WVU on Senior Day, Nov. 20.
There has been an underlying theme in this article about coaches. The final verse in this theme is Kansas, which fired Les Miles over incidents which occurred at LSU. Kansas has been a coaches’ graveyard for years. WVU should win on Nov. 27.
I’m thinking that WVU should go 8-4 this year. I think the two Oklahoma teams, Texas, and one of Virginia Tech/Baylor/TCU/Texas Tech will beat them. I’d be happy if I’m wrong in a positive direction.
Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Princeton Times. Contact him at email@example.com.