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Is Thursday a “Must-Win” For Neal Brown

Virginia Tech vs West Virginia University Set Number: X71944 TK1

The West Virginia Mountaineers are nearing the end of their non-conference slate and looming ahead is a mid-week, road, night game against a traditional rival and a game that could potentially turn the tide of the 2022 season either in favor or against the embattled head coach. So, is Thursday a “must-win” for the head coach?

What’s At Stake?

7 wins, if we are being honest, is going to be almost impossible if the team is unable to find a way to beat the Hokies this coming Thursday. If West Virginia falls to 1-3, they would need to finish the season 6-2, with at least two wins coming from the ranked teams currently left on the schedule: #22 Texas Longhorns, #17 Baylor Bears, #6 Oklahoma Sooners, #9 Oklahoma State. That assumes that the team takes care of business against the remaining unranked teams on the schedule: Texas Tech, TCU, Iowa State and Kansas State.

Why 7 wins - well for me its been my benchmark for the season. If this team truly was better than it has been, given the fact that we believed we upgraded the quarterback, we were better at running back, the receivers and offensive line were more experienced and better equipped to handle the rigors of college football, the defensive line was supposed to be stout, we got bigger and faster at the linebacker and cornerback spots, then 7 wins should be expected, given we finished with 6 last year.

What’s Not At Stake

Neal’s job. I don’t see Brown being fired for losing to Virginia Tech. He very well could lose the support of the fan base with the loss, but I doubt Athletic Director Shane Lyons will release Brown from his contract following the game. For one, there is still a quick turnaround to the next game (Texas). If you were going to make a mid-week change, I’d think following the Texas game would be the point to do it, yet still, making a mid-season change means you think you have a candidate in-house who is ready to take over or you just have to get rid of a guy before he takes the whole ship down. I don’t think Brown is in the latter camp, and I’m not sure who would be in the former camp.

Consequently, a loss at Virginia Tech doesn’t kill bowl chances, though it makes it very difficult. Currently ESPN has the Mountaineers ranked as favorites in three remaining games: Virginia Tech, TCU and Kansas State. That comes after a win against Towson that the Mountaineers were favored to win by 95%. Even at 1-3, the Mountaineers only need to find 5 wins on the schedule and could potentially alternate wins to get to a bowl game.

Poll

Is Virginia Tech A Must-Win Game?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Yes
    (884 votes)
  • 7%
    No
    (75 votes)
959 votes total Vote Now