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National CFB Analyst Ranks WVU Football as ‘Tier 3’ Program in New Big 12



WVU Football HC Neal Brown

As the Big 12 prepares for a new era of the conference, it’s only natural people are going to debate where each programs ranks as far as where they stand in the future of the conference. And one national college football analyst isn’t buy any hype about the WVU football program’s chances to compete in the new Big 12.

CBS Sports’ Josh Pete placed West Virginia in his “Tier 3” of Big 12 teams entering the 2024 season. Pete groups the Mountaineers as on the level with Arizona, Iowa State and Colorado. This puts WVU only ahead of Arizona State, Baylor, BYU and Cincinnati.

Below includes Pete’s full tier breakdown for the Big 12.

Pete’s Big 12 into Tiers 

Tier 1: Utah, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech

Tier 2: TCU, Kansas, UCF

Tier 3: Arizona, Iowa State, Colorado, West Virginia

Tier 4: Arizona State, Baylor, BYU, Cincinnati

“9-4 last year after two losing seasons. They are a classic team versus program argument. So last year’s team gives you hope but you got to take into account last three years … this year will tell the tale ultimately on Neal Brown and the overall direction of the program. Talent’s been okay, talent acquisition is okay by Big 12 standards. Mediocre by national standards,” argues Pete.

While it’s completely fair to argue the 2023 season by itself is not enough by itself to fully believe in Neal Brown, especially considering Brown opened last season with a losing record since arriving at West Virginia in 2019, there are other issues with Pete’s list. Pete is giving more love to UCF, a program who went 3-6 in their first season in the conference and enjoyed an easier Group of 5 schedule prior to 2023. He also put WVU on par with Colorado, a school that failed to reach bowl eligibility after a hot start under first-year head coach Deion Sanders.

To be fair to Pete, he is not the only national media member down on the Mountaineers. Brett McMurphy of the Action Network sent WVU to a mediocre bowl game in his most recent way-too-early bowl projections.

WVU Slated to Face Service Academy in Way-Too-Early College Football Bowl Projection

Obviously, it’s only February and Pete and McMurphy may adjust their thinking based on what happens throughout the rest of the offseason, but their comments are still interesting since West Virginia is coming off a 9-4 season that ended with a bowl victory. West Virginia beat North Carolina 30-10 in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl to cap off their season.

So while fans are dreaming of contending for a Big 12 title and surpassing the nine wins from 2023, WVU’s win total odds also sit at just 6.5, according to FanDuel. In reality, Brown and his staff will just use these projections as extra motivation and reason his team is being doubted once again. That strategy did work out for them in 2023.

The assumption is Pete’s list is based on what he thinks of the actual teams moving forward. Because if he’s talking about the programs historically, WVU football now stands as the winningest program all-time in the new Big 12 and owns double the bowl appearances as most of the conference.

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