If you've come for bulletin board material or a pat on the back, you're in the right place. Across Pennsylvania, high school football teams are taking advantage of the five-day heat acclimation period to get in some practice before all sports can officially begin sessions on Monday, Aug. 17.
With that in mind, what better time to make brash predictions and rank every team in the YAIAA? If you complain, that means I know you're reading.
If words aren't your thing, check out this hype video for the 2015 season. All highlights are from the last two seasons and include players who are back this fall.
Now on to the rankings.
1. SOUTH WESTERN -- The joke at media day was everyone came to see South Western. With as much offensive firepower as the Mustangs return, there is good reason to peg them the YAIAA Division I favorites. The defensive side of the ball will be interesting for coach Damian Poalucci's bunch. All-league linebackers Ryan Krebs and Tyler Jachelski have graduated, junior defensive end Seth Janney has transferred to Malvern Prep. Despite those significant losses, there is enough talent to proclaim South Western the preseason No. 1 in the YAIAA.
Optimist says: South Western lost four of its five games last year by a touchdown or less to go 5-5. Not only can the Mustangs win those games this year, but they could enter the playoffs 10-0.
Pessimist says: While South Western still improves, a tough non-league schedule doesn't help and a league opponent -- or two -- can force the upset (road games at Red Lion and Spring Grove).
Crystal football says: 8-2, 7-0
2. RED LION -- One of two Class AAAA playoff qualifiers from last season, the Lions suffered a humbling first-round loss last fall at Governor Mifflin. This team has tools to progress in the district playoffs, but the first order of business for Red Lion is settling question marks on defense. Coach Jesse Shay and staff can figure that out. The former Bishop McDevitt defensive coordinator, entering his third year guiding the Lions, has improved this bunch every year so far. That trend will continue.
Optimist says: Dalton Grove and Kendrick Boyd-Gillespie become the area's top quarterback-to-receiver combination, while strengths in the secondary and defensive line give inexperienced linebackers time to acclimate themselves to varsity play. Games against South Western and Central York are at home, while Dallastown is close to home, meaning all games are winnable. Red Lion's last league title came in 2003, a three-loss season in which the Lions swept through Division I. That is possible here.
Pessimist says: An early game, such as Week 2 vs. Manheim Township, exploits weaknesses and hurts confidence going forward. Like South Western, this team improves, but Division I has the chance to be balanced and pull the Lions into the pack.
Crystal football says: 7-3, 5-2
3. DOVER -- Change can be rough, especially when you're going from a run-heavy wing-T to a spread offense. That doesn't appear to be the case here, where Dover has the tools of a YAIAA Division II contender. First-year coach Wayne Snelbaker has a healthy squad to greet him, which would have been a luxury last year for Eric Lam. The Eagles finished 4-2 in division play, but won only one other time outside of that. All-league center Matt Farr is a nice start for a promising but young line. Speedster Durran Ledbetter said he likes the spread despite being a running back. Of course, Snelbaker likes having him at linebacker to pair with a healthy Derek Breneman.
Optimist says: Two home games to start the season sets Dover up nicely to build momentum. The Eagles follow that up with consecutive road games against foes who graduated plenty. Their toughest game could be that Week 3 trip to Red Land.
Pessimist says: Despite the potential smooth start, Dover travels to York Suburban and plays host to West York in Weeks 8 and 9. Both were losses last year, and they weren't close. Suburban and West York still look to be viable foes, and don't overlook Eastern York in Week 5.
Crystal football says: 8-2, 5-1
4. CENTRAL YORK -- Sure the Panthers had a rough 2014 with a 5-5 record, but that came after an 0-3 start. A number of first-year starters and an injured starting quarterback for the first few weeks contributed heavily to that outcome. There will be a different feel entering Week 1 this time around for Central, which has a capable senior quarterback in Nik Strine and defense led by senior linebacker Elzir Stroman.
Optimist says: There's something about odd years and Brad Livingston-coached football teams. The Panthers' last league title came in 2013, they won 10 games in 2011 and repeated as Division I co-champs in 2009. They still went 5-2 in the division last year. Their two toughest challenges in 2015 could be at Cumberland Valley and at South Western.
Pessimist says: Northeastern has the potential to force a Week 4 upset to start the league campaign. There are no breaks for the first half of the season, and Week 6 is homecoming.
Crystal football says: 6-4, 5-2
5. DALLASTOWN -- The defending Division I champs are in a different spot than a year ago, when they returned a wealth of girth on the line with fresh skill players. This year looks flipped, but the defense and a strong-armed quarterback are the keys here.
Optimist says: QB Cade Gold and the Wildcats' offense make up for the graduation of all-league linemen Justin Tindull, Tray Noye, plus IUP recruit Zaire Willis. Considering what Dallastown's opponents have back and the home-away balance, there is potential for a hot start.
Pessimist says: How do you replace those three on the line, plus all-league performer Addison Quinones, a running back/linebacker/safety now at Johns Hopkins?
Crystal football says: 7-3, 4-3
6. WEST YORK -- There's been enough talk about Jeremy Jones returning to coach West York. The story on the field is a big offensive line for Cadence Thomas to run behind. The Bulldogs shook things up last year with a slew of backs, and quarterback Ross Campbell as their leading rusher. Campbell is gone and so are most of those backs, except Thomas and Ryan Narber, who's also their most experienced defender as a linebacker.
Optimist says: The familiarity of Jones cushions that transition from nine-year coach Ron Miller. To start Week 1, West York breaks the five-year hex of road teams winning the Central York game, and the Bulldogs take off from there.
Pessimist says: Three Class AAAA opponents to open the season is a daunting task. With the building of a new gym at West York, the football team is without its normal weight room. Does that catch up?
Crystal football says: 6-4, 5-1
7. NORTHEASTERN -- Two years ago, Northeastern hired a young coach to guide a young team. Jon Scepanski is now in his third season and so are many of his players. This has a chance to be the Bobcats' best team since 2011 squad shared a Division II championship.
Optimist says: The Bobcats can get off to another fast start, but build off that in Division I play. The strength of schedule carries them into the playoffs.
Pessimist says: York Suburban will provide a tougher Week 2 opponent, and York Catholic is always a strong opener. If Northeastern can't assert itself early, it will have a tough hole to dig from.
Crystal football says: 6-4, 3-4
8. SPRING GROVE -- There are plenty of standouts on this Spring Grove roster, which should help Kyle Sprenkle's transition into his first head coaching job. Two all-league linemen return in senior Andrew Lawson and junior Owen Jacobs. Nick Erickson fought through injuries as a linebacker and quarterback, but Jake Messersmith can also handle those duties. Ian Slaven also is among one of the league's best in the secondary.
Optimist says: Remember that talk earlier of balance in Division I? Spring Grove is one of the main reasons why. The Rockets were just 3-7 but injury-riddled in 2014. Rarely do teams have this much back and not show considerable improvement. Last year's record makes this team a dark-hose pick to win Division I.
Pessimist says: Three straight road games from Week 2 to 4 could hurt. Although every game in Division I is winnable, they also are losable. Week 4 at Dallastown could swing Spring Grove's season. It did in 2014.
Crystal football says: 5-5, 3-4
9. YORK SUBURBAN -- Every few seasons, the Trojans appear ready to break out with a handful of skill players. Guess what? It's time again. An important factor with this Suburban team is to look beyond returning QB Thomas Merkle and receiver Collin Mailman. All-league safety Dustin Knaub is back and running back Dajour Henderson is healthy.
Optimist says: Suburban could play host to Eastern York in Week 10 with a Division II title on the line. The Trojans have the tools and motivation to turn around and beat West York after last season's lopsided 58-7 loss to the Bulldogs. They also get Dover at home.
Pessimist says: How will Suburban handle its first three games, at Red Land, at Northeastern and home to Spring Grove? While things could play out for them to close the season, the Trojans still must get there with a strong start to make it matter.
Crystal football says: 6-4, 4-2
10. EASTERN YORK -- A 7-3 regular season looks to be a sign of things to come in Wrightsville, where second-year coach Dave Kemmick must get past the graduation of standout linebacker/running back Lucas Barshinger and lineman Garret Ishman. There are pieces in place to facilitate that need. Keegan Corwell stepped in as a sophomore to help carry the running load, and Wyatt Smith emerged as an all-league tackle.
Optimist says: Eastern closes the regular season with three games on the road, and there's good reason to think it could be playing for something by then. Back-to-back games against West York and at Dover to open the division schedule will be vital.
Pessimist says: What about those two league openers? What if Eastern finds itself in a two-game hole to start Division II?
Crystal football says: 8-2, 4-2
11. YORK CATHOLIC -- It's easy to look past the Fighting Irish after graduating Division III's top quarterback in Hakeem Kinard, who is now playing at Saint Francis. Even last year, the sense was then-sophomore Dan Yokemick would move over into that spot. He will have an experienced line, playmakers -- including Hakeem's younger brother, Jakkar, at running back -- and a defense that could be as scary as coach Eric Depew's shoulders.
Optimist says: Take away a Week 3 trip to AA stalwart Berks Catholic, and the Irish could go 9-1.
Pessimist says: There are at least three other YAIAA Division III teams that enter the season that look like title contenders. Add them with a tough Week 1 matchup vs. Class AAA Northeastern, and the Irish could be denied even a chance to return to the Class A district title game.
Crystal football says: 7-3, 6-1
12. BIGLERVILLE -- The Canners are in a position to contend with an experienced squad back in Division III. Coach Alex Ramos appeared optimistic but not ready to celebrate in early August at YAIAA Media Day. Experience at linebacker and talented running back Scott Cooper could go a long way for Biglerville.
Optimist says: Biglerville gets Annville-Cleona at home after 10-0 loss on the road last year. If the Canners get the Week 1 win, it could spring board them to a Week 6 showdown with Delone Catholic, which is at home.
Pessimist says: Traveling to York Catholic and Bermudian Springs does not help.
Crystal football says: 8-2, 6-1
13. BERMUDIAN SPRINGS -- With so many players lost to graduation after an 11-0 start, do the Eagles have enough reserves to defending their Division III title?
Optimist says: The schedule gets tougher as the season progresses, which means this squad has time to jell.
Pessimist says: Those tougher games also give opponents a chance to exact revenge for last year's dominance.
Crystal football says: 7-3, 5-2
14. DELONE CATHOLIC -- One of eight league teams to change coaches, the Squires have reason for optimism under first-year coach Corey Zortman.
Optimist says: Junior QB Brian Shermeyer benefits from his experience last year with Jake Wiles injured, and the Squires rise above the division. With an experienced line in front of Shermeyer and Tavian Dorsey behind him at running back, the Squires should like their chances.
Pessimist says: They still must travel to York Catholic and Biglerville. Bermudian Springs also has the opportunity to play homecoming spoiler. Tennessee power Union City also comes to town.
Crystal football says: 7-3, 5-2
Optimist says: Imagine what a Week 1 win at Bermudian Springs could do. Right now, there's more varsity starts in Colonials' locker room.
Pessimist says: There's a long way for New Oxford to go. The 2014 team, which finished 0-10, came within a touchdown of its opponents only twice.
Crystal football says: 2-8, 1-6
16. GETTYSBURG -- The Warriors had an impressive YAIAA debut in 2014. With so many losses to graduation, how can coach Matt Heiser's group maintain momentum?
Optimist says: Dover must make the unfamiliar drive to Gettysburg to open league play. The win was emotional for the Eagles last year and could have a similar benefit here for the Warriors.
Pessimist says: There are no breaks. Gettysburg's non-league foe, as part of Division II's rotating bye from YAIAA play, is at Conrad Weiser -- a strong team that Gettysburg beat by three last year.
Crystal football says: 2-8, 2-4
17. LITTLESTOWN -- The Thunderbolts hadn't suffered a losing season since 2006, when they finished 5-6 -- and that was because of a playoff loss. The '06 team still lost only once in Division III play. This time, coach Mike Lippy's squad looks to shake a 3-7 campaign.
Optimist says: Not only will they shake it but contend in Division III. It's too early to call the Bolts contenders, but their non-league slate could be just right to push and improve this bunch.
Pessimist says: Two road games to start the season before playing host to Lancaster Catholic are not ideal.
Crystal football says: 4-6, 3-4
18. SUSQUEHANNOCK -- The turnover in Glen Rock (or Shrewsbury or New Freedom -- its natives in the YDR office get defensive about mixups) has been staggering. Susquehannock graduate Randy Edsall enters his fifth season as head coach at the University of Maryland. In that time, his high school alma mater is on its third coach. In actuality, Steve Wiles will make No. 5 in eight seasons.
Optimist says: Wiles is the man to turn around this program, and his record (68-27 at Delone Catholic and Hanover) backs that up.
Pessimist says: The Warriors' first four opponents this season, including Week 1 foe Northern York, outnumber them in experience. Susquehannock also has the distinction of being the only YAIAA school to face a team this season with five-star recruit. Exeter Township in Week 4 possesses Penn State commit and five-star defensive tackle, as rated by Scout.com, in Michal Menet.
Crystal football says: 2-8, 2-4
19. WILLIAM PENN -- Plenty graduated from William Penn, where the Bearcats had a slew of three-year starters on last season's 3-7 squad. Quarterback James Way III, running back/cornerback Bryshon Sweeney, and lineman Jacob Whitfield are three of those players gone.
Optimist says: The Bearcats always produce talent at the skill spots, and senior linebacker Nykam Beverly has the potential to be one of the area's best. The Bearcats can build momentum in the first two weeks. Those first two games, which were lost last year by one and seven points to Reading and J.P. McCaskey, will be vital.
Pessimist says: William Penn started 0-5 with an experienced squad. The schedule hasn't changed, but the personnel looks drastically different.
Crystal football says: 1-9, 0-7
20. KENNARD-DALE -- Coach Patrick Weider's group isn't the Kennard-Dale teams you might remember. You know, the ones that ran the triple option. With Dan Brewer back at QB and 6-foot-5 Kyle Wooldridge to jump for footballs, and an experienced secondary, these Rams could be in some shootouts.
Optimist says: The Rams enter Division II with a 3-0 record, primed for more wins. They will have opportunities to improve within the division.
Pessimist says: After the non-league games, a three-game stretch of Suburban, West York and Dover could stop any momentum.
Crystal football says: 2-8, 0-6
21. HANOVER -- The bad news is Dylan Krieger has graduated. He led the YAIAA in receiving (78 catches for 1,279 yards) in 2014. The good news is quarterback Kyle Krout still has a year left in high school.
Optimist says: The first two games, though on the road, are winnable. A 2-0 start would already equal last year's total.
Pessimist says: All of that offense gone from one player (see Krieger) is a scary thing to lose.
Crystal football says: 2-8, 2-5
22. YORK COUNTY TECH -- The Spartans were the last to switch coaches, a surprise change that came in July as Matt Glennon departed and Brian Hanson took the reins.
Optimist says: Despite the changes, this team has some talent. That makes Tech dangerous, and its Saturday morning and afternoon home games can be a tricky adjustment for opponents.
Pessimist says: One win last season came at home against Littlestown. The Spartans can't count on that surprise when they travel to visit the Bolts.
Crystal football says: 1-9, 1-6
23. FAIRFIELD -- The Green Knights have turned into playoff contender during coach Darwin Seiler's three seasons leading the program. After a 5-5 season, have they been hit as hard by graduation as this time?
Optimist says: This isn't your older brother's Fairfield (the program enters only its 12th season). The Knights are better prepared now to rebuild than in the past.
Pessimist says: Newport, which is the season opener, looks improved. Silver Oak Academy of Maryland, a late addition after Carson Long pulled out of the football season, is an unknown. This season is unchartered territory for Fairfield.
Crystal football says: 1-9, 0-7