Coach Hullabaloo and I had fitful sleep last night processing how much this game sucked and how awful it is as a Tulane fan to be here in this space again. There are not enough chicken empanadas or shrimp mofongo in the world to mitigate our disappointment.
This is us smiling and excited before the game, completely naive about the slaughterhouse we were being led to.
Coach Hullabaloo said he was screaming at players all night in his sleep. A veritable "Pesadilla" of a night in Southwest Miami (i.e. La Souwesera).
After the game, we drove out to Dolphin's stadium up to a drive-in Sonic, and had us some milkshakes chock full of everything bad for us and cried in our milkshakes.
That game! Completely wretched. Unacceptable. Unforgiveable. Unseemly. Unfortunate. Unworthy. Unbefitting.......Just all of the opposites of "Magnificent".
We just can't win at a directional school in Florida. Or on the Road. Or when favored by Vegas. or after two wins in a row. College Gameday complimented us on our white travel unis on national television, and then just look at what we did with that honor!
Giving credit where credit is due: FIU took UNC's really dumb decision to discard a truly great coach in Butch Davis and is letting Coach Davis rehabilitate his career at their expense. And it makes them look great in the meantime. Kudos to FIU. More on them in a bit.
By the way, about Coach Hullabaloo: We had to explain this weekend that he is not, in fact, an actual Coach. And this time to actual players families lol! So a PSA reminder: Us calling him "Coach" was a joke among our tailgating friends from when Toledo was denied budget to hire a real Special Teams coach, and surprise (!) our Special Teams sucked. So we proclaimed my husband our special teams "coach" at Toledo's last UCF game in Orlando (which we lost. See, a game in Florida). Coach Hullabaloo just happened to be excited to have sideline passes that game so he bought one of the same golf shirts and visors that the other coaches wore, and that's how Coach Hullabaloo was "born".
I can't begin to tell you how many people I've had to correct. Even actual Tulane University personnel.
Anyways, Coach Davis - as top notch coaches will do - had his staff break down our film and prepared his team for us as their next opponent: which was to throw the ball on us, and also to just jump over through our tackles.
I was mildly frustrated with these issues for our loss against Navy, and couldn't understand fans who were upset that we lost against Navy - saying that was a game we should have won. I can say I never thought that, I thought we played poorly. But then we caught OU asleep that first quarter, and we had just demolished an FCS team, and then we miraculously got past Army, and Tulsa laid an egg. And of course everyone got swept up in the wonderfulness that was now Greenwave Nation, and we forgot that we have these nagging issues that someone was waiting to pounce on, and well, congrats FIU and Coach Butch Davis for pouncing on them.
During our high, I was able to convince Coach Hullabaloo that it was safe to start traveling to away games again and so we threw caution to the wind and booked this trip to Miami. I had even started buttering him up for a trip to Memphis, which is now most definitely off the schedule for us.
Granted I am most probably the most worthless play by play analyst ever, so take my thoughts on this however you please. Coach Hullabaloo bought me the book "Take Your Eye Off The Ball" for Christmas one year and I got through about two chapters before I fell asleep, or gave up, or decided that twittering my opinions about football and politics was more fun.
Bottom line, we played like crap. We had a tiny sliver of glimmer when we noticed this hurry up placard on the sideline.
Coach Hullabaloo didn't bring his glasses and he said, look: a witch riding a banana. I fell out laughing. Our Lady of Witch Riding A Banana.
During those few plays we were actually doing something, and then Banks fumbled the ball and that was pretty much that. Stick a fork in us.
Coach Hullabaloo was screaming when we started running out of innings, everything from that our QB and probably the team must have violated curfew and gone out last night, and a few other things. I don't think it was that nefarious, I'm giving the team the benefit of the doubt. But what I do want answers on is: Why did we come out after the half without any adjustments? Will we ever have a passing game that doesn't result in a sack, a fumble, or an interception? Why did we need to stick with Banks until the bitter bitter end? Did we tell the guys to keep tackling low? Will we get to see Witch Riding The Banana again?
One play that is forever ingrained in my PTSD Tulane memory that was just outright embarrassing was at Southern Miss in Hattiesburg one year during the Toledo era. That game was so awful that Andre Anderson beat his head against the lockers so loud that you could hear him screaming during the post game show. It was traumatizing. So the play that stuck with me there was a pass to the endzone, our wide receiver was in front of the corner covering him. As our WR jumped up for the ball, the corner stood behind him and just pulled his arms right down. And then caught the pass for an interception. It was just so completely ridiculous, and stupid easy, and something that looked like it could have happened on a playground. We were so in over our heads.
Well, now the same sort of stupid naive thing happened to us last night on one of Bank's interception plays. Our wideout ran a sideline route, Banks was signaling to him, even I could see that's where the throw was going, so the corner just pushed our wideout out of bounds. Just like that. No respect given.
After showing up at OU, I thought we were stepping forward. But last night we just wilted. Even with the return of the twister mat.
Anyways, I'm done talking x's and o's on that. May we never ever see that again. I want a jazz funeral for shitty embarrassing losses.
(I asked Coach Hullabaloo if he thought it was ok for me to say shitty loss on the internet, and he said he characterized it as such. So there. It's out there).
So saving the best for last - the things that made me glad I went to this heaven forsaken game in La Souwesera of Miami. Souwesera is the Cubanification of the words Southwest Area by the way.
Visiting FIU's campus. I actually enjoy scouting out opponent campuses. I love college life, and I love seeing how it is done across our great country. Even though the Sweetwater area of Miami where FIU is located has all of the charm of Airline Highway, they are actively pouring a ton of capital into the campus and the new buildings coming up are actually quite impressive.
I just LOVED this new dorm row area that routes right into the stadium. They paved the streets with panther paw prints, look how cute!
The rest of campus reminds me of UNO. Suburban, a little barren and impersonal. But I give FIU a B for effort on uping the ante.
FIU's stadium was actually a soccer stadium and then they did some improvements to accommodate boosters with chairbacks and some suites up top. All of the metal was covered on the outside with full color printed tarp. It's not actually solid. Riccardo Silva Stadium totally reminded me very much of my days of yore growing up going to Friday Night Lights games at Plano Senior High in Texas.
Their hype video was off. the. chain. It was Miami vice-ish, with shots of the team on the beach, shots of yachts in Miami's harbor. Nevermind that FIU is in the middle of the ghetto, but it says "We aren't pushovers, We are rebuilding"
Of course, I love Tulane's Yulman hype video. It gives me chills and makes me want to cry, it captures the essence of our city, with the music and our sentimental love of our band. But I really liked the scrappy toughness of FIUs video also and that it ends with a heart over Miami on the outline of the state shape of Florida.
I also really loved the DJ in the stands at FIU - for some reason they had him by himself in the endzone and not directly in the student section. But he kept the students and young people jamming, got their small crowd of fans stomping on the metal bleachers for third downs and such. And his intro for the game was actually really cute showing a couple of co-eds bouncing.
It was very Miami. Coach Hullabaloo would be scandalized if we did that at Tulane, as would the neighbors on Audubon Street. They'd grasp their pearls, and probably draft another IZD to outlaw bouncing and twerking at Yulman Stadium if that got put on our jumbotron.
I introduced Coach Hullabaloo to Big Fredia last year at Jazz Fest last year and he was completely speechless.
Anyways, FIU had a traditional straightlaced college band too, and a sizable dance team, pom and flag corps that were talented and kept us entertained.
Miami has no shortage of attractive people who like to perform. Their dance team was like a flock of J Lo's. They are called the "FIU Dazzlers"
I loved that they spotlighted a "Dazzler" for each game, and introduced her and her accomplishments at the university. That was very cute. We have such dedicated students who cheer and perform on gamedays at Tulane and I would love for us to incorporate a similar tradition.
I was disappointed that Riptide did not make the away game, and that our cheerleaders who traveled didn't bring any signage or cheers to lead us in "Green!" "Wave!" cheers when going for first downs and help do our part as fans to generate momentum. In continuing the theme of things going sideways for us, the TU alumni representative stood up to lead half of our fans in the Hullabaloo before the extra point. Facepalm.
I did really love this family's shirts for their Greenie by the way.
There are two very very basic rules of Tulane fandom that you expect someone at the University to review and impress upon our Greenwave Nation. The Hullabaloo goes AFTER the extra point, and we cheer our team when the team needs some mo'. We did these things at Oklahoma, so somewhere along the way in the last three home games we forgot how to do this for away games.
The food available in the concessions areas at FIU were your traditional hot dogs and such, but then they also had some latin touches like Empanadas, and cheese stuffed Arepas (although these are more rubbery chewy than the firmer fancier ones you can find at Maïs on Carondelet).
Speaking of food - Coach Hullabaloo and I ate our way through Miami. So we made the decision to just make a cameo at the Tulane Alumni tailgating and save valuable stomach room and our pocketbook for other things.
The tents for the Alumni tailgate were put in the path of the sun and tromping around on the gravel wasn't ideal. But they brought our TU brass band which was nice, and the koozies they were giving out were cute.
We got to catch up with the owner of Bruno's and say hello to a few other friendly faces.
Then we made our way over to the most wonderful Tulane football family we have met so far....
This Greenwave football family we met are Miami locals and they had all of the cuban deliciousness that you would expect at a Miami tailgate. Lechon, sanduches cubanos, plantain chips, sangria. And a folding table for a game of dominoes. And raggaeton on the car speakers. It was off the chain.
I had such an amazing time getting to meet and chat the way that Latin families do. They shared with us a whole other list of "locals" eateries to try on future trips, yummo. I also got a lesson on how to cut T-shirt with a cute open back which I am planning for my next idea for a gameday dress.
Honestly, if I can say that one positive thing about yesterdays game was getting to meet this beautiful family. This reminded me why Coach and I do what we do. Friends think we are totally loco for being Tulane fans, but then we would have never met these lovely people.
Look how precious their little super fan....
And look how cute their face placards of their son were too.
They held them up in the stands during the game, I loved it.
I am so ready to put losing behind us, and get some answers. Get some rest y'all, the rest of the season is an uphill battle.