Neal Brown Ready to Fight Tough Schedule
MORGANTOWN, WV—West Virginia head football coach Neal Brown is wondering if he will be able to keep his job after this season (or even during the season) especially when the schedule makers handed him the third toughest Power 5 slate in the nation!
Even if WVU went into the season ranked No. 25, it would be a challenging schedule. Instead, the Mountaineers were predicted to finish last in the Big 12 Conference in a 14 team league. How challenging is that? The only place to go is up! The only other teams with tougher schedules are South Carolina and Michigan State.
WVU will face two Power 5 non-conference foes (Penn State and Pitt) in addition to a grueling Big 12 schedule. The Mountaineers face No. 10 Penn State at PSU to open the season on national TV. They will face No. 7 TCU at home. TCU played in the national championship game. Also No. 11 Oklahoma (never an easy task), No.22 Texas Tech and No.23 Baylor.
The only break for Neal Brown is not playing No. 5 Texas. During the recent Big 12 Media Day Brown said, “First of all, my philosophy is not on this schedule. We have 11 of 12 Power 5 teams.”
“You look at our first five games and they really are challenging. This is one of the toughest schedules in the country.”
“Going to Penn State is a tremendous challenge but also a great opportunity. It’s a prime time game, as well. It’s an opportunity to show we made improvements we talked about in the off-season, he said. The only problem Brown isn’t thinking about is the fact they play Pitt two weeks later, then a trip to Texas Tech and then playing at home against TCU! What a lineup! The only “easy” game will be at home against Duquesne.
“It’s not a schedule I would necessarily make, but for us, we talk about it being a 12 round fight. In the Big 12, there’s no days off. You have to be ready to go every single week,” he added.
Realistically at this point the Mountaineers could start the season at 1-4. The Big 12 is very talented this year. There is a lot of depth. The only thing going for WVU is the O-line which will be a big strength this year. Former Mountaineer Brian Jozwiak said the O-line wins games. The Mountaineer O-line is drawing national attention. The O-line is anchored by Zach Frazier, maybe the best in college football. Wyatt Milum is a rising star at left tackle, Doug Nester is an all Big 12 caliber talent at right tackle and Thomas Rimac is a very stout left guard.
Garrett Greene is a real dual threat quarterback and CJ Donaldson is ready to run. Donaldson had 526 yards and eight TDs in just seven games.
Maybe just maybe the Mountaineers could conceivably surprise everyone and start the season 4-1! Let’s GO Mountaineers!