How Long Will The Hype Last? That’s Up To The Team

Indya Vassell/PantherNOW

A group of FIU students trodded down from their dorms to Ricardo Silva Stadium, pots and pans in hand. But it wasn’t a Miami Heat championship or even the death of another Latin American dictator that inspired this pachanga — it was an FIU Football win.

Students walked over on Saturday night to give the team a hero’s welcome after their short bus ride back from Marlins Park where they trounced the Canes. No one expected this win–save a few FIU fanboys.

Students were faced with something they weren’t used to: a big win

While the win over University of Miami has sparked an incredible amount of student support for the 20-year program, it hasn’t been like this at all this season, or any season for that matter.

With a 6-5 record this season, this Panther squad has underperformed, especially following their winningest season ever last year.

One of the team’s biggest complaints has been lack of student support, fixing that is easy: win more often.

And FIU students are notoriously apathetic, but as proven by Saturday night, they’ll show out for a good reason.

When FIU took down their cross-town rivals in Little Haiti, it seemed to awaken something inside of students, something that most of them want but haven’t been able to find at FIU: school pride.

The football team went from being an afterthought in most students’ minds to something they could brag about.

It proves that if FIU football can consistently perform at a high level, student’s will give them support and rally behind them.

On the flip side, it’s easy to understand why students thought FIU would get mercy-ruled against UM, remember our loss to FAU?

When the Panthers arrived back to Modesto Maidique Campus after their battle against the “University of Coral Gables,” they were greeted by a sea of FIU students equipped with pots and pans to rally behind them.

The party didn’t end there, some students took a trip to the campus fountain to take a dip–the type of college debauchery expected at a large university after a monumental win.

The win against UM can be a stepping stone to where this program wants to be: a true football school with students who wear blue and gold off-campus outnumbering the green and orange.

All of this student support (nowhere to be found when the team was getting spanked by Tulane) can be wiped away if the Panthers go out and get trampled by the Marshall Herd this week.

While this was a great win for the team, there is still work to be done. At best, they will finish with an 8-5 record, possibly with another obscure bowl-game trophy. And with no home games left, the team won’t be able to capitalize on the new-found wave of student support.

There’s no telling if the hype felt throughout the weekend will carry into next season, but FIU would be smart to milk this moment and remind fans who the best football team in Miami was on that humid Saturday night.

Featured image by Margi Rentis on FIU Flickr.

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