It sits on the magazine rack like an old friend, grinning at you.
OK, that's actually TCU coach Gary Patterson's big ol' smile on the cover of the 2012 edition of Dave Campbell's Texas Football, but it could just as easily be from the 400-page publication itself. That's because, to football fans around here (i.e., the good people of McKinney), its appearance each summer is a feel-good reminder us that soon we'll see fallen leaves, smell burgers on the grill and gasp at bone-crunching hits from the free safety.
Dave's writing staff has a lot to cover this year, just as we have a lot to look forward to on Friday nights, Saturday afternoons and Sundays, too. For starters, we can look forward to getting rid of these daily 98-degree temperatures (on the cool days). But I digress.
1. Patterson's Horned Frogs have joined the Big 12.
2. Those Aggies from College Station are giving the vaunted SEC a try.
3. Two very familiar names, Dennis Franchione and Larry Coker, are leading Texas State and Texas-San Antonio, respectively, into the challenging world of big-boy football in the FBS.
4. Last but not least, that little team that's based in Irving but plays in Arlington and calls itself the Dallas Cowboys -- yes, that one -- is still trying to win a title with Romo and company.
But, like so many of Dave Campbell's loyal readers, the big-time stuff could wait a minute. I first flipped to the second half of the mag, where he blankets the Lone Star State's high school football like nobody else. We've got quite a bit to look forward to here in McKinney this fall, not the least of which is TSB's own sports writer, Mike Bruu, providing you with unparalleled local coverage each week here at TownSquareBuzz.com.
First, however, let's take a sneak peak at Dave's predictions about our boys. It's going to be a fun year around here, after all. McKinney Boyd and McKinney High are going to be in the same district for the first time since Boyd moved up to 5A in 2008. The rivalry will only intensify. That's because MHS has moved up to 5A itself, where it joins Boyd, Allen and the Plano schools in District 10-5A.
District 10-5A: This district is going to be tough, football fans. It's a monster. And to no one's surprise, Dave picks Allen to win the district, with Plano East to finish second. But Boyd, which did finish 8-3 last year, is picked third. Not too shabby. And the Broncos' star running back, Bryan Driskell, is picked as the Preseason Offensive MVP. There is hope in West McKinney, and you better believe head coach Don Drake is looking forward to more than just the barbecue this fall. Dave's picking Plano and Plano West to finish fourth and fifth. And yes, MHS is picked last in the district, which is no shocker since the Lions were 0-10 in 4A one fall ago.
District 13-4A: McKinney North is picked fourth out of the eight teams in the Bulldogs' new district, 13-4A. Dave likes Wylie East, Sherman and Wylie to finish ahead of North, with Lovejoy, Denison, Royse City and Greenville to finish behind.
SPC North Division III-2: Finally, Dave predicts McKinney Christian to finish third out of six teams in Division III-2 in the state private school league. He likes Colleyville Covenant Christian to top the division and Frisco Legacy Christian to finish second; with Flower Mound Coram Deo, Carrollton Christian and Gainesville State School behind MCA.
OK, is that just enough of an appetite-whetter to keep us going through another month or two of 97, 98, 99-degree days? Well, probably not. But it's sure nice to think about Football Friday Nights in late October when the air begins to chill just a bit. Just a little bit.
Autumn will come around in due time. You gotta believe it.
Steve Kirk is editor of TownSquareBuzz.com. His Trending Today column appears weekly on TSB. Prior to joining McKinney's premier online news source in 2006, he worked at The Birmingham (Ala.) News and the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.