Despite being no longer in control of its destiny to win what has been a wild SWAC West division, Prairie View is going to prepare as if its season is not yet over.
The Panthers (6-5, 5-3 SWAC) had a golden opportunity to wrap up its second consecutive divisional title last Saturday with a win over lowly Mississippi Valley State but were blown out 27-7 in a shocking result.
The defeat — Prairie View’s second in the last three games — left them tied in the loss column with Southern for first place. The Jaguars with a win over Grambling State in the Bayou Classic can take the SWAC West outright.
Panthers head coach Bubba McDowell explained Monday during the SWAC coaches media call that emotional roller coaster aside, the team will have the mindset of preparing to play at Jackson State for the conference title on Dec. 3.
“The emotions are down but that’s on me and the coaching staff to get these guys back and ready to go,” said McDowell about the team intentionally going through normal in-season practices. “As I told them (Sunday), we have to prepare as if we are going to play another game. You going out there going through the motions is not going to get it. You have to get ready as if you are going to play a game and play for a championship and try to win it.”
But if Southern does beat Grambling on Saturday, Prairie View might stew in the offseason over a six-point overtime home loss to Alcorn State on Nov. 4 and the 20-point setback at Mississippi Valley State — two potential opportunities to not leave its fate hinging on a game in New Orleans.
“We’re not going to worry about that until it’s all said and done and until the fat lady sings,” McDowell said. “She ain’t sung yet.”