old college try

the (old) college try

An attempt to do something. I gave knitting the old college try, but I just didn't enjoy it. Give it the college try and I think you'll find that it's easier than you think.
See also: college, try

old college try

a valiant effort. Will made the old college try, but that wasn't enough to get the job done.
See also: college, old, try

old college try, (give it) the

Do the best you can, even if you think it’s a hopeless cause. This slangy Americanism dates from the 1930s when college football films became very popular in the United States. The phrase was one of the cheers intended to urge on a team that was falling behind or facing overwhelming odds. Transferred to other endeavors, it came to be used more or less ironically.
See also: college, old
References in periodicals archive ?
Max and Annie aren't really action heroes, but they give it the old college try.
Despite an ankle injury, the Texas governor gave the performance the old college try, tying with the "Ice Ice Baby" singer.
I say 'work with' because I honestly wanted to contribute 100 per cent of my efforts and give it the good old college try.
Two basketball documentaries air this weekend in advance of the NCAA tournament, with one earning championship honors and the other settling for the old college try.
We didn't come up here to give it the old college try.
As played by Larry Johnson, Chris is one of those sad sacks who you know isn't going to end up with the girl, but he sure gives it the old college try, and you have to feel a little embarrassing empathy for him when Sarah ushers him out of her apartment when Bob shows up.
I gave it the old college try, but realized no amount of detailed explanation was going to work.
Even those who give it the old college try don't benefit from the experience.
One university is giving ebooks the old college try this year.
So, the next time you set eyes on a gorgeous bombshell and decide that, after all, you're wearing your lucky socks, you should offer her a drink and give it the old college try .
I don't know how possible this is for you, but if there is any way for you to make this happen, I suggest you give it the old college try.
Reading Ghost Hunters, it's hard not to reserve some admiration for the handful of academics who gave it the old college try.
A small, Knight Ridder paper in Penn State's backyard gives it the old college try in bid for new readers
Driven by a host of new product introductions and line extensions as well as the beginning effect of category management, supermarket HOC gave it the old college try last year, which in most cases wasn't enough to pull ahead of other channels.