HOUSTON - Our next stop on the college football tour is in the SWAC as we preview Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern. One of the bitterest rivalries in the state gets going as it usually does Labor Day weekend at BBVA Compass Stadium and each program is looking to build on what they tried to accomplish in 2012.
The Panthers are entering their 3rd season under head coach Heishma Northern. Last year they went 3-8 and had to deal with reduced practice time due to poor APR rankings.
Their biggest problem a year ago was finishing games, multiple 4th quarter breakdowns led the opposition to come back and pull off the victory. On offense, they return 9 starters off a unit that led the SWAC in offense with 416.6 yards per game. They will likely go with a 2 quarterback system again with De Antre Smiley and Jerry Lovelock who combined to throw 16 touchdowns last season.
A new coordinator takes over on defense so the group which the Panthers used to pride themselves on should improve from their ninth ranked scoring defense from last year. They lost six starters, but the coach feels they ll fly around to ball a lot better.
Texas Southern will have to deal with more post-season bans, which won t officially end till 2014. Head coach Darrell Asberry also has to overcome the loss of their spring practices, which set them back. However, Asberry s offensive ideas are starting to take shape. His offensive line should be good to go but the quarterback position is definitely up in the air.
They have nine quarterbacks on the roster and none of them have taken a snap in a Tiger uniform. TSU also has a new defensive coordinator. They, like the Panthers had trouble stopping people last year. The key for the Tigers is taking another step forward...no matter how big it is.
As I mentioned, each team is looking to kick-off the season with a win in the Labor Day Classic. No matter how the season goes, if you re able to win that game, then it seems like a successful season already.