clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Neal Brown must exceed 8th place expectation

“Prove them right or prove them wrong” must come true this season

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 23 West Virginia Spring Game Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ahead of the upcoming Big 12 Media Days next week, the preseason Big 12 poll has been released and the Mountaineers find themselves being picked 8th out of a possible 10 teams this season.

2022 Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll

1. Baylor (17), 365

2. Oklahoma (12), 354

3. Oklahoma State (9), 342

4. Texas (2), 289

5. Kansas State, 261

6. Iowa State (1), 180

7. TCU, 149

8. West Virginia, 147

9. Texas Tech, 119

10. Kansas, 48

First-place votes in parenthesis.

The poll offers a look at the minds of the writers and its clear that there are tiers in the groupings. Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are expected to vie for a conference title with Texas and Kansas State possible land-mines each team will need to navigate. Iowa State is the loaner, sitting behind 4/5 but well ahead of 7/8. TCU and West Virginia look to be trying to knock someone off just to reach bowl eligibility while Texas Tech is hoping to show some respectability. Kansas continues to bring up the rear, hoping to top 4 wins.

The Mountaineers selection at 8th may surprise you as a fan, but when you look nationally at West Virginia, it shouldn’t. The Mountaineers gained a talented, yet injury-prone quarterback who has never taken a snap at West Virginia. They lost their leading running back and the big-time transfer they brought in from Clemson has left the program. The wide receivers have never topped 700 yards in a season and they just lost their leading receiver to Florida State.

On the defensive side, while Dante Stills returns, the Mountaineers lost his sidekick Ahkeem Mesidor, linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo and and several cornerbacks. All in all, the Mountaineers are greener than the valleys in April and national writers aren’t known for believing all of the smoke blown their way by all of the teams.

The eighth place selection is the third time Brown’s team has been picked at that spot, with the lone exception being last year’s selection at fifth. The Mountaineers finished the season sixth. At 17-18 in his three seasons, this year is pivotal for Brown both inside Milan Puskar Stadium and his perception nationally.

The Mountaineers will get a chance to start the season with a old-time rival when they taken on the Pittsburgh Panthers, and could start the year 4-0, which would buy a lot of goodwill for the fourth year coach. A run at 8 wins should be expected by fans this far into the regime and to echo the coach’s own words, this team must “prove them right or prove them wrong”.