There are going to be two ways the Baylor win will be viewed years from now by West Virginia fans. It will either be that elusive big win under Neal Brown and the catalyst for a season that turns itself around to reinstall some trust in the program’s climb, or it will be just another blip on the roller coaster ride that has been this recent stretch.
It’s now up to Brown and his team to write that narrative. The Mountaineers have the opportunity to control what outlasting Baylor in a wild game on a brisk Fall Thursday night in Morgantown ends up meaning to those who care about the program the most. The good will of playing Pitt tough in the return of the Backyard Brawl to open the season was quickly dashed by turning around and losing to Kansas at home the next week. Any good faith earned by winning two in a row, which was highlighted by successfully defending the Black Diamond Trophy in front of a national audience, was then destroyed by failing to even be competitive against Texas.
But then WVU beat Baylor. And while some may argue that Baylor is overrated, the Bears are the reigning Big 12 champions and one of their two losses prior to facing WVU come against a top 10 team. They also posed a significant challenge for a struggling defense due to their extreme aggressiveness. WVU needed to win, and WVU found a way to get the job done.
Even though this year’s team is different and it’s not always fair to hold what happened in the past against this current group, it’s only natural to also look beyond just this year for this roller coaster trend. So much of the focus is on the decline of Virginia Tech following their loss to WVU last year, but the Mountaineers were exposed as well. WVU lost 3 straight games after that win, which at the time was viewed as big cross roads moment. In the mix of those losses was a 23-20 defeat at the hands of Texas Tech, who is now next up on the schedule.
Texas Tech is an opponent that has 3 straight wins over WVU and Brown has never been able to beat. The Red Raiders are all that matters right now. Keep the positive momentum and good vibes going is all that matters right now. It’s also a must for a program at a cross roads. A win and the feelings of heading on the right track will intensify. A loss and the reaction of “same old Mountaineers” are guaranteed to permeate around the program once again.