It has become the most anticipated time of the year in high school athletics. The first week of football practice.
Every team begins drills with thoughts of playing at Wheeling Island Stadium the first weekend of December for a state title.
Message boards, which seem to never go unnoticed (or unused), become the debate location for fans wishing to expound upon their team's positives while explaining why your team will have to settle for something other than one of the coveted three championship plaques awarded by the WVSSAC.
Locally, questions abound.
Can Parkersburg overcome the loss of several talented players, as well as the temporary use of Stadium Field, and make a return to the Class AAA playoffs?
Will first-year Parkersburg South head coach Mike Eddy lead the Patriots back to the postseason?
Can Ravenswood head coach Mick Price right the Red Devils' ship following a disastrous 2012 campaign?
And, the questions don't stop there.
Wahama, which captured its first Class A state football crown with an exciting 43-42 overtime win over Madonna a year ago, brings back a loaded roster that got even better with the addition of former Roane County standout Hunter Bradley.
While the addition of the Class AA first team all-state player doesn't guarantee a second straight victory parade through the streets of downdown Mason, combined with the return of Class A first teamers Zack Killingsworth and Kane Roush, it surely can't hurt.
And, the White Falcons won't be the only team returning standout players as playoff entrants Magnolia, St. Marys and Ritchie County each will bring back solid programs and could each make a run at the postseason.
But, then again, that's the beauty of opening week -every team has a chance. No one has suffered or loss.
Emotions, as well as attitudes, are running high with first-game jitters just beginning to surface even though opening games are still weeks away.
Who will win and who will lose? That is anybody's guess for now. But, then again, isn't that what we (the fans) want?
This year that player is Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
An offseason that has witnessed the Heisman Trophy winner commit mistake followed by mistake now has the sophomore-to-be entering this season under the cloud of a possible suspension as accusations of possible NCAA violations continue to gain momentum.
Whether fans like it or not, rules are put in place to protect 'all' of the players involved in a sport -not just the ones who elect to follow them.
Using the excuse that Manziel is just a "20-year old kid trying to deal with the pressures that surround winning a Heisman" is just that an excuse.