Skip to content

Brown: West Virginia's lack of preseason fanfare 'doesn't make sense'

Brian Bahr / Getty Images Sport / Getty

West Virginia head coach Neal Brown thinks his team deserves more respect from the media after it won nine games in 2023.

The Mountaineers ranked seventh in this season's Big 12 media preseason poll - up from No. 14 in 2023 - but aren't considered a consensus top-25 team in the nation.

"I'm surprised, and I'm not surprised," Brown said Wednesday, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg. "A lot of these top 25s came out, and we're not in it. When I look at it - winning nine games last year and looking at what we have returning - it doesn't make sense to me."

Brown entered last season under pressure but helped West Virginia finish the campaign with a 9-4 record, up from 5-7 in 2022. Key starters, including quarterback Garrett Greene and offensive tackle Wyatt Milum, are returning.

"I think (Greene's) got a chip on his shoulder, maybe more so than a year ago," Brown said, according to team reporter John Antonik. "There are a lot of quarterbacks that are getting talked about in our league, and Garrett is not necessarily one of them. He arguably was the best runner in the league last year. He completed the most downfield passes, and he's not being discussed much."

Greene finished 2023 with a 53.1% completion rate to go along with 2,406 passing yards and 16 touchdowns against four interceptions. He also rushed for 772 yards and 13 TDs.

Milum, a second-team All-Big 12 selection, is also unhappy with the Mountaineers' preseason ranking.

"People overlook us," Milum said, per Rittenberg. "How do you win nine games and are still (ranked) seventh with the returning players that you have coming back? I just feel disrespected. Why? I don't know why. With the returning players that we have and the players we brought in, it doesn't really make much sense, but it is what it is, and we're just going to go prove them wrong."

West Virginia is 31-29 under Brown, who's been with the team since 2019 and recently signed a contract extension through the 2027 season.

Brown and Co. won't have to wait long for a chance to prove doubters wrong, as West Virginia kicks off its 2024 season on Aug. 31 versus a solid Penn State team.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox