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WVU AD Wren Baker Explains His Football Scheduling Philosophy



WVU AD Wren Baker

There’s no exact science for how to create a college football schedule, but WVU football’s recent strategy has departed from the norm around the country. West Virginia director of athletics Wren Baker spoke candidly about his philosophy and opinion for how the Mountaineers should operate schedule wise moving forward.

“Almost every program that has ascended from whether it’s back of the pack or middle of the pack to the upper echelon has done so with being very careful with picking and choosing the games that they schedule that allow them to have some success and build some momentum,” Baker said to Tony Caridi, Brad Howe and Hoppy Kercheval during his appearance on their 3 Guys Before the Game podcast.

Baker then explained what he’s alluding to in more detail. “When you’re in a league as good as the Big 12 from top to bottom and have nine conference games, I think that you have to have a Group of 5 opponent in those three non conference opportunities,” said Baker.

That mentality immediately differs from WVU’s schedules of the recent past. In 2022, the Mountaineers were one of just two teams to play 11 Power 5 opponents in the regular season. This has been largely due to the initiative to get West Virginia’s historic rivals like Pitt, Penn State, Virginia Tech and to a lesser extend, Maryland, back on the schedule.

Getting all of those games back on the schedule offered fans nostalgia since the Big 12 fails to offer WVU actual true rivals of its own. Unfortunately, jamming all over of those natural rivalries on the schedule in a home and away series against each school forced West Virginia to have multiple Power 5 opponents on their non conference schedule, often opening up several seasons in a row on the road too.

With the Mountaineers looking at another schedule in 2023 that includes both Pitt and Penn State before getting into conference play, Baker laid out his strategy moving forward. “So I would probably do Power 5, a Group of 5 and/or another Group of 5 or FCS,” he explained.

Baker then detailed why he prefers to always have an FCS opponent on the schedule, saying that it ensures an extra home game and is a benefit financially.

This would obviously mean only being able to fit one historic rival into the out of conference schedule each season.

This isn’t the first time Baker has opened up about what he feels would be the best way to put together a football schedule. He expressed this same mentality while appearing with our Mike Asti on a show for WV Sports Now.

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