I don’t like writing what I’m about to write. I’m not doing it because I want to, but because I have to.
The Neal Brown era at West Virginia has been a failure. And unless something drastically changes, which seems impossible to foresee right now, he has to go at the end of this season.
I got heat, and even mean heat from those within the program, when I said Brown had be on the hot seat entering this season. But now, that hot seat is officially on fire.
Some may tend to have too high of expectations for a program like WVU at times, but expecting better than a 17-20 record in the midst of year 4 isn’t unreasonable by any means. This is especially true when it’s also in the aftermath of one of the worst Mountaineer losses in years.
It’s also not just about the record. There are no legitimate big wins that can stand the test of time. Yes, WVU beat then number 15 ranked Virginia Tech in the return of “the Black Diamond Rivalry” and that felt like a big moment at the time. The way that season ended for the Hokies showed they were never deserving of that ranking and exposed that “big win” as overrated. WVU also almost blew a 24-7 lead in that game, holding on for a 27-21 victory.
Brown did win a bowl game – the Liberty Bowl over a good Army team in 2020. At the time, that felt like a step in the right direction and that the program was actually climbing. The 2019 season appeared to be excusable based on the what Brown inherited after leaping to a bowl win a year later. The Mountaineers did lose tons of key talent like quarterback Will Grier prior to Brown’s first season. That caused some to give him a pass right away.
Fast forward two years and WVU is starting a season 0-2 for the first time since 1979. They are doing it to follow a season that finished with a 6-7 record and a loss in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
While there were some positives to take from the Backyard Brawl loss to Pitt as an underdog, there’s nothing good about losing to Kansas at home. Losing to Kansas at home. An improved Kansas team is still a Kansas team.
Brown defenders will point to the fact he repaired a divide between the program and some distinguished alumni. People can even point out the strong recruiting classes he has headed to Morgantown in the coming years. But the program feels like it is regressing, not progressing now, and that’s despite bringing in a former top tier recruit like JT Daniels. The buck has to stop somewhere.
Moral of this story is simple. Enough is enough. No matter the buyout, which is hefty. The standard has to be higher than this. Something has to give. And if Neal Brown can’t put lipstick on the pig that has become of this Mountaineers team, he just has to go.