As another Christmas Day approaches, families from all over the globe will gather around the nearest Douglas or Balsam fir tree that is donned with ornaments and lights.
On Christmas Eve, a jolly old man named Santa will make a stop by each and every house of the families that managed to stay off of his naughty list in 2012. Hopefully, those families will wake up and see everything they wished for under the tree in the morning.
What about the Auburn family? What can Santa put under the tree for a family who is glad to see 2012 pass? A 3-9 record tends to breed that mentality.
Here are a few things that should be on the wish list of the Auburn football family.
A full coaching staff
After hiring an offensive and defensive coordinator within 48 hours, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn's pace of hiring a coaching staff has slowed considerably. That is due, in most part, to recruiting.
With NCAA recruiting currently in a dead period until January 3—where only phone calls to recruits are permitted—look for Malzahn to fill the remainder of the coaching staff by that date. Auburn has one defensive coaching position remaining and three offensive coaching positions waiting to be filled as well.
In the last week, Malzahn has hired offensive line coach J.B. Grimes from Arkansas State and brought former Auburn player Rodney Garner back home to Auburn after being at UGA for 15 years.
Great to see fellow former AU O Lineman come home. Coach Garner will serve as Asst. Head Coach and DL Coach at his alma mater.— Jay Jacobs (@jayjacobsauad) December 21, 2012
Garner will serve Auburn in the same capacity that he served for the Bulldogs—as associate head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach.
A top-15 recruiting class in February
Since former head coach Gene Chizik was fired on November 25, Auburn has had a recent wave of de-commitments. Although the de-commitments are no cause for alarm at this point, Auburn has some catching up to do once the dead period ends.
At one time, Auburn had a top-10 recruiting class, despite a dismal 2012 campaign. Yet since Chizik was fired, seven recruits from the 2013 class have decided to look elsewhere. According to the 247Sports' composite rankings, Auburn's recruiting class is now No. 30, with only 12 commitments.
When Chizik took over in a similar situation in December of 2008, he rallied Auburn to a No. 19 ranking in the 2009 recruiting class. Sixteen of the 28 commitments were received after the dead period ended that year.
Auburn fans would be thrilled if Malzahn can do the same or better for the 2013 class.
A reason to be excited about Auburn football again
The 2012 season took its toll on many of the Auburn faithful. By the time November rolled around, there wasn't much to be excited about when it came to Auburn football.
Auburn fans aren't used to that.
Even during down years of Auburn football, it could be expected that Auburn would field a team that played its heart out and fought for every second. Blowouts were never the norm in SEC games. But in 2012, the expectations were never lower for Auburn football.
If Malzahn can build any sort of positive momentum between now and August 31, Auburn fans will enter Jordan-Hare Stadium as optimistic as ever about their team on that day.
Hanging in the stocking with care: A Notre Dame upset of Alabama in the BCS National Championship
If none of the presents above are under the Auburn family's Christmas tree, Auburn supporters should at least hope that a BCS Championship upset is hanging in their stocking.
One way to make a 3-9 season even worse is to go through that season while watching a hated rival roll over their competition on the way to their third national title game appearance in four years.
Most Auburn fans will tell you that their second favorite team is whatever team is playing against Alabama. An Alabama loss in the BCS National Championship on January 7 would certainly be a nice stocking stuffer for them.
These are just a few of many things that could be found under the Auburn family's Christmas tree. Let everyone know what you want to find under Auburn's Christmas tree in the comment section below.
Regardless of what may be found under the tree, I wish everyone a very Happy Holidays, wherever you are.