WHEN SMU COACHES dissect last Saturday's 31-10 home loss to Tulane, they'll know the defeat had nothing to do with their early-season routine. Last month both teams used the same weight room, training center and laundry at SMU. They even ate the same food: Last Friday, Tulane had lunch in the SMU cafeteria. Said Tulane defensive lineman Avery Williams of the Green Wave's first win, "It was kind of like playing your brother."
After Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, SMU president Gerald Turner invited the Green Wave to make his school their temporary home. Tulane players watched the Mustangs' Sept. 3 home opener, went to class at SMU and practiced at a local high school until Sept. 12, when they moved to Louisiana Tech. The Mustangs even lent their Conference USA rivals their recruiting files so Tulane, which has suspended classes for the fall semester, could continue to prepare for future seasons.
When the Green Wave returned to Dallas last weekend, a Tulane flag waved in Ford Stadium. A Texas high school cheerleading squad supported Tulane, and students wore green face paint and Mardi Gras beads. "I had some emotions before the game," said Tulane coach Chris Scelfo. "You don't forget people when they reach out to you."