Normally as we slowly pick our steps going into the summer, the forecasting in relation as to just which side might claim the Ulster Senior Football Championship title moves into overdrive.
Yet this year, in common with many other people from what I can gather, the forecasting has to date been rather more muted.
And the reason for this, I feel, is that an air of intrigue prevails. I think a combination of the upsets that highlighted last year's Championship and the total lack of football in the province since then has made us all reluctant to show our hand when it comes to predicting just who might take delivery of the Anglo-Celt Cup.
Last year there was a widespread belief that Donegal would be crowned Ulster champions, but the dramatic manner in which Cavan rained on Declan Bonner's team's parade in the decider was only matched by Tipperary's stunning annexing of the Munster title.
Now, with the draw having been made for this year's Ulster Championship, teams must look to their laurels if they hope to make a bid for glory.
And with champions Cavan set to square up to Tyrone, who will be under their new management team of Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher for the first time in a Championship context, the feeling is that a spectacular contest could be in the offing.
The big question here is, can Cavan reach the heights that they achieved last year? I feel they can but, at the same time, Tyrone, with players like Conor McKenna, Cathal McShane and Darren McCurry likely to be in their attack, will be a formidable force.
Yet at the same time, I have the nagging fear that Division One sides could find themselves that little more exposed when Championship time comes round.
If Cavan have a lot to live up to, then Donegal, who face Down in the preliminary round, will need to look much sharper than they did in last year's decider, which they had entered as red-hot favourites.
This time round manager Bonner will be under pressure to elicit more consistency from his side which has acquired the unwanted reputation of being under-achievers at the cutting edge of the Championship.
Indeed, Donegal have a tranche of players in their side who bring admirable individual skills to the table, but on a collective basis the team has found it difficult to achieve when the chips are down.
That does not deter me from expressing the belief that Donegal have more quality within their squad than any other team, and yet I don't see them as being overwhelming favourites for the Ulster title simply because of their track record.
They will require a sharp competitive spirit allied to a cohesive strategy if they are to get past a Down side that has not won an Ulster title since 1994 but which could derive a combative impetus from playing at Pairc Esler, Newry.
With Derry waiting in the wings to meet the winners, there is certainly going to be no let-up in terms of intensity. Derry ran Armagh close in the Ulster series last year and their fusion of youth and experience could prove a more potent force this time round.
On the other side of the draw, I can't help but feel that an Armagh v Monaghan Semi-Final could well be on the cards.
When you look at the way that Monaghan surrendered to Cavan and Armagh were outgunned by Donegal last term, it can be quickly seen that the respective managers Kieran McGeeney and Seamus McEnaney will feel they have a big point to prove this time round.
Mind you, maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself here. Armagh must host Antrim and Monaghan will take on Fermanagh before any thoughts can be given to Semi-Final action.
And speaking of Antrim, I can't help feeling that they will get a fresh bounce from their new management duo of Enda McGinley and Stephen O'Neill, both All-Ireland winners with Tyrone.
Here are two players who have been round the block and acquired a considerable helping of success in the process which they are anxious to replicate in their new combined role.
They may find Armagh difficult to negotiate at the Athletic Grounds, but it's worth recalling that the Saffrons only lost to Cavan by four points in last year's Championship after they had spurned a gilt-edged goal chance in the second half.
THE stage is set for the start of the Allianz Football League on the weekend of May 15-16.
Yet I am convinced that the second most important competition in the annual fixtures calendar should already be up and running.
And what's more, I feel that it should be in its traditional format of four divisions.
What we have in front of us now is a scaled-down version of the League in which the three rounds of scheduled fixtures are expected to be completed within a two-week period.
One of the appealing features of the Allianz League, or the National League as it was known for so many years, is that it normally affords teams the opportunity to pit their skills against sides from different parts of the island.
But the new regional League, as I call it, is really a mini provincial Championship series in some respects given that teams are in many instances coming up against neighbours.
I can fully understand that when the League was being formatted, the severity of the Covid-19 threat was such that a much more cautious approach was taken by fixtures-makers, resulting in a competition which has a rather 'local' feel.
Since the format was adopted, I think things have improved in relation to the Covid-19 threat and I thought that it might be possible to revert to the traditional eight-team format.
I think what will happen now is that we will have a short, sharp League that will be over before we know it and we will then find ourselves immersed in the Ulster Championship.
Yet even though it is a shortened version of the League that will be on offer, there is no doubt that teams in Division One in particular will be very keen to maintain their current status, while sides in other divisions will have their sights set on taking a step up.
Armagh, and players like Rian O'Neill, fought tooth and nail to get into Division One last year while, in contrast, Cavan and Fermanagh made the drop into Division Three, where they join Derry, and you can rest assured that all three sides will be doing their utmost to get back up into the second tier again.
Given the condensed nature of the season overall, the chances of teams 'staying their hand' in the League look remote.
In the past, teams have tended to keep their powder dry until the Championship came round and then paraded their heavy artillery.
But I suspect that this time round teams will be very keen to make a statement of intent from day one - there will be little scope, I feel, for springing a surprise in terms of tactics or 'saving' some players for what might be considered to be the big occasion.
There will be a lot at stake, as I see it. New managers will want to make a big impact, other bosses who have been in situ will be under pressure to produce the goods and teams who have been struggling know life can become much more difficult because of the travails imposed on and off the field by Covid-19.