(Photo by Dale Sparks – All Pro Photography)
Here we are, folks – the final week of the 2021 College Football regular season.
To say that this year has been a roller coaster ride for Mountaineer fans would be an understatement. Nothing about this team has been consistent, and at times it appeared this thing was going to come off the rails. However, despite starting the season with a 2-4 mark halfway through, Neal Brown travels with his squad to Lawrence, Kansas this weekend with a chance to notch a bowl bid at 6-6.
Had you told me on October 9th, right after WVU took it on the chin from the Baylor Bears, that this team would have the opportunity to make a bowl game I would have taken it. I wouldn’t have thought about it, I wouldn’t have pondered it, I would have taken it right there and then. The team simply looked terrible during the first six games with an occasional glimpse of something to work with, but that’s it.
Going into the October 23rd matchup against TCU, many fans had the feeling that all hope was lost – including myself. When the Horned Frogs returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown during that game, that hope didn’t even exist anymore. From that point on, however, West Virginia has went on to play good football. They rallied and knocked off the Horned Frogs, beat a very talented Iowa State team, and put down the Longhorns (albeit a bad Texas team) in Morgantown this past Saturday. With this sudden resurgence and a 3-2 record since the bye week, all WVU has to do is beat the worst team in the Big 12 and they will be playing in the postseason for the holidays.
Throughout the course of the entire season, social media for Mountaineer fans has been a dumpster fire. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a “Fire Neal Brown” comment on one of the several WVU related pages, I could retire at 23. To me, this is just insane. Though the team has had their fair share of struggles this season, it never crossed my mind once that WVU should make a coaching change, and they shouldn’t.
This crowd that pleads from the top of their lungs to get rid of someone working tirelessly to better the program shows that they don’t understand football. Not only is Neal Brown getting recruits to buy in, putting together a solid 2022 class, but he just saved this team from completely tanking this season. So many times he and the rest of the team could have thrown in the towel, but they remained the course and are on the verge of finishing the season strong. That shows good coaching on behalf of Neal Brown.
For those of us who understand the game of football, we knew this was going to be an uphill climb for Brown. This program isn’t quite where he envisions it to be yet, and he has even admitted that throughout the season. Any team in the midst of a rebuild is going to struggle for some time, especially a program that isn’t a blue blood. This thing was never going to be an overnight fix.
We have seen flashes of what this program is going to be, but as a fan you have to have patience. Neal Brown is working with what he has, and has honestly overachieved in my opinion. The talent hasn’t been there, but he has found a way to keep this program with at least a little glimmer of light.
Pleading to fire this coach that so many around the country would love to have is nothing but pure ignorance. Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but they shouldn’t be afraid to be called wrong when they are completely out of line. To the “Fire Neal Brown” crowd, your assessment of this program is completely wrong and you are showing that you do not understand the sport in the process.
Trust the Climb