AUBURN -- Greetings from a tired beat writer.
Auburn has played three road games in four weeks, and the one home game fell on the same weekend as the races at Talladega. Lots of travel. Lots of short nights of sleep.
To give you an idea of the life of a beat writer, I covered an 8 p.m. game Saturday at LSU. I got back to my hotel room about 1:30 a.m., got to bed at 2, got up at 6:15 and hit the road by about 7:30 so that I could reach Auburn in time for a 3 p.m. session with Tommy Tuberville.
More interviews followed, then writing, then driving back to Oxford.
Needless to say, once I got home at about 11 p.m., I was not long for Sunday night. After a month's worth of weekends similar to that one, I could sure use an open date.
I'm sure the players and coaches I cover, not to mention my fellow beat-writer chums, feel the same or worse.
I guess the real question for Auburn's players would be, can they get over an emotional loss as well as fatigue in time to avoid a real letdown against Ole Miss on Saturday.
Auburn's 30-24 loss at LSU on Saturday was, to use the word of one of Auburn's players today, "devastating." Auburn had a one-point lead with just more than three minutes to play and lost on the last play from scrimmage.
Auburn was that close ... and that far ... from beating a legitimate top-five team in one of the more difficult places to play.
There's been lots of talk this week about a penalty that was waved off, a questionable spot on a key play in LSU's last drive, Auburn's offensive woes in the third quarter and Auburn's defensive woes in the second half. In the end, it was a great team against a very good team. The great team had the ball last at home and made the plays.
Just talking to Auburn's players this week, most seem to see it that way. They don't see the loss as a reason to give up on their season, though an SEC West Division championship isn't likely.
The Tigers have winnable games against Ole Miss and Tennessee Tech coming up, followed by pick'em rival showdowns with Georgia and Alabama.
The Tigers could still finish 9-3, 6-2 SEC and likely wind up somewhere like Tampa for the holidays. They will long lament the early loss to Mississippi State, but a positive outcome remains reachable for a team with 66.7 percent lower classmen.
That seems to be the talk here this week. Maybe that's enough to keep a bunch of college football players from dragging.
As for travel-weary beat writers, there's always caffeine.