If there's the smell of pigskin is in the air, and there is, time for 10 burning questions heading into the college football season:
1. Does Florida qualify as a dynasty?
Is Tim Tebow chiseled?
Florida is NCAA football's current lord of the rings, having won two of the last three Bowl Championship Series titles.
The Gators have done it as an underdog (crushing Ohio State three seasons ago), and as a favorite (tripping up Oklahoma last season).
Head coach Urban Meyer has a new $4 million-a-year-contract and Tebow at quarterback, so there's no reason the Gators can't make it two straight titles, and three of the past four.
That seems the definition of a dynasty.
2. Will Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford repeat as Heisman Trophy winner?
We were faced with the same question at this time last season about Tim Tebow. And Florida's resident superman came darn close. (Some of us believe he should have won.)
The guess here is that Sam Bradford will fall just short as well. Those numbers (4,720 passing yards; 50 touchdowns) would be tough to match even if defenses were not gunning for the Oklahoma gun-slinger. And there are a ton of other stars on the college landscape.
One has the name Tebow.
Darkhorse: Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter, perhaps the best college Cowboy since Barry Sanders.
3. Who is the nation's best defensive player?
Billboard-buying Tennessee wants you to think defensive back Eric Berry is the nation's best defender, and Berry is darn good. But the pro scouts drool over defensive linemen Terrence Cody from Alabama and Ndamukong Suh from Nebraska.
Darkhorse: TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes.
4. Which highly-ranked team won't meet expectations?
College football's minister of information, Phil Steele, tabbed Mississippi sixth in his College Football Preview. Not in the Southeastern Conference. The entire country! Sporting News went one better, putting Houston Nutt's team fifth in its pre-season top 25 ranking.
Not since the days of Archie Manning has The Grove shouldered the weight of such expectations. It's a heavy load. Too heavy is the guess here.
Darkhorse: Foes might be better prepared for Georgia Tech's wishbone offense the second time around.
5. Which sleeper can crash the national party?
If Oklahoma State and its dynamite offense can beat visiting Georgia in Stillwater on opening weekend, Mike Gundy's Cowboys could be a rootin' tootin' 7-0 going into its Oct. 31 showdown with Texas. That game is also in Stillwater.
Darkhorse: Jacquizz Rodgers-led Oregon State.
6. What off-field issue will we hear about most?
Coaches (not) voting in polls. Steve Spurrier's snafu, leaving Tim Tebow off his pre-season All-SEC ballot, cast a floodlight on a shameful secret. Coaches don't vote in their own poll.
They have their sports information director do it. Or their assistant coaches do it. Or their wives do it.
That's not good when the coaches' poll counts for one-third in deciding who plays in the BCS title game.
7. Can Notre Dame save Charlie Weis' job?
Many grid prophets expect a banner year for the Golden Domers, based more on Notre Dame's schedule than the Irish's actual talent.
But if Jimmy Clausen continues to progress at quarterback, Weis could be sitting on an 11-1 golden egg. Southern California would be the one loss. And that game is in South Bend.
8. Name five coaches on the hottest seats?
Louisville's Steve Kragthorpe, Wisconsin's Bret Bielema, Notre Dame's Charlie Weis, Virginia's Al Groh, Arizona's Mike Stoops.
9. If the SEC is the nations' best conference, which league is second-best?
Thanks to Texas, Oklahoma and a burgeoning Oklahoma State, the Big 12 has easily surpassed the Pac-10 as "best man" to the SEC's "groom."
10. The best line of 2009, so far?
ESPN's Ivan Maisel on the controversy over blogger and author Clay Travis asking Tim Tebow if the Florida quarterback was saving himself for marriage.
Maisel thought Tebow should have said, "I'm saving myself for Georgia."