AUBURN, Ala. — Just win, baby.
Look, Al Davis was a classifiable kook. You won’t get this Denver native to say any differently.
But his catchphrase has caught on, because it’s a simple, catchy, accurate solution to all that ails any struggling athlete or team.
On a separate note, my mom’s a wise lady. Wiser than Al Davis, for sure. One of her favorite sayings, when times are tough: “Hang in there. It gets better.”
Good news, Auburn fans: only 39 days left in this accursed calendar year. And being the most wonderful time of the year and all, maybe the holidays could be a salve in the incessant wound that has been a star-crossed 2012.
Trees poisoned. Players fatally shot. Players arrested. Players suspended. Players dismissed from the program. Players cast away to prep schools, with their Auburn futures in jeopardy.
Wait. Not done yet.
Players under NCAA investigation, allegedly. Coaches under NCAA investigation, allegedly. Gene Chizik’s wife unleashing religious diatribes on Facebook. Players letting their frustration boil over on Twitter. Recruits questioning their commitment to the Auburn family. Former players ripping the program on the radio. Chizik aloofly deflecting multitudes of questions about his job security.
Trees lit aflame (seriously, leave the Oaks alone.)
Oh, and then there’s the on-field product.
Eight losses this year. 13 in the last two. Nine by 17 or more points.
Could this get any worse?
Well, chances are, for three hours Saturday, it will. Alabama’s not about to take pity on its in-state rival. Not with all the Tide have to play for. Not with Nick Saban and the legion of Crimson Tide fans undoubtedly reminding those All-Americans daily what happened two years ago at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
But then, Saturday, Saban and Chizik will shake hands. The players will remove their gear. They’ll get on the three-hour bus ride back to Auburn. They’ll pack up for the winter, with no bowl practices to follow.
And they’ll move on. To a 2013 that certainly cannot be worse than 2012.
I think Auburn makes a bowl game in 2013.
There, I said it. And you know what? I’m not copping out by saying it’ll be the BBVA Compass Bowl. With the right coach, the right structure, and the right mindset? The Tigers could contend for a New Year’s Day game.
Not making excuses for this sorry state of Auburn football. But that schedule never got the confidence going.
Look at 2013: Five home games in the first six. That helps.
Only one thing solves all in college sports. Just win, baby.
Today is Black Friday. Tomorrow — let’s face it — is probably Dark Saturday, if you’re on the Plains.
But you know what they say: it’s always darkest before the dawn.
Hang in there. It gets better.
Aaron Brenner, firstname.lastname@example.org