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Texas A&M v Auburn
Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

Auburn, we know there are other things on your plate right now. The athletic department is a shambles. The budget is a fiction written across five wadded-up Jimmy John’s napkins kept in the back pocket of the outgoing athletic director. Is he going to take them out of his pockets when he sends his laundry to the cleaners? No, no he is not. There is no budget, and the last tapped-out benefactors will have to be bled like stones to pay for new things.

There is more. There was a Title IX investigation into sexual harassment in the softball program. One basketball assistant coach—Chuck Person—has been indicted in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into bribery in college basketball. Those are federal charges, the kind that don’t wash off, and the reason you never, ever want to steal mail because THE POST OFFICE ARE THE FEDS AND THEY WILL FOLLOW YOU TO HELL.

The head basketball coach, Bruce Pearl, is not cooperating with Auburn’s internal investigation even though he has been told he’ll be fired if he doesn’t. Bruce Pearl, it should be noted, will hold that work for you. Pearl knows a guy in the Virgin Islands who can get you a new name, passport, and Australian driver’s license for $4,500. No one asked for this information, or to hear about the bug-out bag in his trunk with fifty grand, hair dye, and three days’ worth of clothes in it that he just told you about. Bruce is down, is what we’re saying, even if you didn’t indicate a need for him to be down in any way whatsoever.

Auburn won’t even be getting a new video board this coming season. When Auburn stops buying gigantic televisions, there is indeed something sick at the heart of things.

There is hope, Auburn, and it’s this. With your own national championship hopes now reduced to a mathematical crumb’s worth of potential, and your SEC Championship hopes pinned to only slightly more, it’s time to do what Auburn football does best.

It’s time for you to ruin things.

Three weeks remain in the college football season for Auburn. One of them is the University of Louisiana—Monroe game. Honestly, go ahead and start the bench. Rest your starters. Punt on third down, run out the clock from the beginning. Hell, Popovich it up and lose the game simply as a matter of management. For the greater good of the sport let ULM have one, and allow them to claim 21st century wins over both major schools in Alabama. It’s like letting a child pin you in a wrestling match: They’ll never know the belt isn’t real, and you’ll never really feel the loss.

The two games sandwiching that matter of management: Georgia and Alabama. Both are home games. Both have already been largely written off as formalities for the undefeated Bulldogs and Crimson Tide, and both are potentially important to the national title scene. A loss for either changes things quite a bit—but a loss for both sets up the endgame for 2017 in a post-nuke hellscape unseen since the 2007 season.

If any team can get us to a barren place where only giant cockroaches and a woozy but still-ready-to-hunt Pat Dye survives for more than a few seconds, it’s you, Auburn. Quite frankly, you’re overdue for some benign idiocy at this point. The last minute tipped TD against Georgia and the Kick Six against Alabama were both four years ago.

Since then, the most exciting thing to happen to Auburn came last year when LSU scored, but then didn’t score a last-minute TD to beat, then not beat you in overtime. That ended Les Miles’ tenure at LSU. However, that game also involved Les Miles, and therefore doesn’t really count because all chaos surrounding Les Miles Games was traceable directly to Les Miles himself.

It’s butts-out time, is what we’re saying here. BUTTS OUT. We don’t even know what that means, because we don’t actually want you to put your butts out on the field, or even to leave them there. Assless pants have no advantage, competitively speaking, or else the entire SEC would be using them to the limit prescribed by rule, and just beyond them in Ole Miss’s case.

What we mean is that you’re going to have to show your ass and make the entire nation either hate or love the absolutely horseshit way a game just fell into the win column for Auburn. Chances are, both of these teams are better than you on paper, Auburn. Paper at Auburn doesn’t decide football games, though. It ends up in trees, and also sometimes shredders, and in Bruce Pearl’s firepit turning to ashes while he sips a scotch and laughs.

Paper won’t decide this. Butts will, Auburn. Butts left out on the field. Does Gus Malzahn have five or six trick plays so high school they’ll piss Nick Saban off just by existing, much less because they work or not? Put those in. Can you get linemen three and a half yards down the field on every play, just to make Kirby Smart apoplectic on the sideline on every play? Do that, just do that every play.

Can you do some real horseshit, like:

  • going for onside kicks not once, but on every single kickoff?
  • hitting multiple fifty-yard field goals that bounce off all three goalposts
  • scoring on touchdown receptions that pinball off two DBs before landing in your stunned receivers’ arms
  • running for more than a hundred yards on either UGA or Bama <—actually most fantastical suggestion of all these
  • having a key player test positive for five powerful steroids three months later, all while making sure to note that this player was on them for either of these games, and these games alone

Any of those—plus anything you want to throw in for extra credit—would be fine, Auburn. You’ll need them all if you want to take full advantage of your position as America’s Great Football Ruiner over the next three weeks.

We want this for you, Auburn, even if you have to cheat—maybe especially if you have to cheat, Auburn. This is the SEC, after all. BUTTS OUT, AUBURN. For college football. For Auburn. For Bruce Pearl, who so badly needs the distraction of a long trip to Costa Rica to dispose of the evidence. FOR AMERICA, Auburn. Our country needs you to rise up and take back what others have forgotten you owned all along: The gift of completely trashing a football team’s season.

P.S. Not yours, for once, but someone else’s. You know, just to switch things up a bit.