old college try, the
One's best effort, as in Come on, if we give it the old college try we just might be able to cut down this tree. This slangy expression, originally a cheer to urge a team on, dates from the 1930s when college football films were very popular.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.