WHEELING - The buzz this time of year is always palpable, perhaps in part because it signals a new beginning.
To a person, it has a different meaning. Maybe it's a new school year. It can be a fresh haircut or a new outfit for the first day of school.
The one point we can almost universally agree on however, is that it's football season.
The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register’s 2013 Football Preview hits stands Thursday morning.
I've said it before and will say again, football unites us in a way that not much else can in today's society. It transcends race, religion and political beliefs, something that has become increasingly more difficult to do in today's world.
On weekends in the fall, we all come together for a common goal, and that's to do our part to somehow ensure that team we love comes out on the right side of the scoreboard.
It's time for tailgates and fellowship. At our home we'll gather around the television on Sundays with some of the best friends and food, courtesy of my loving wife, that you can possibly imagine.
We'll ring in the campaign here at the newspapers the same way we always do, with The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register's 46th annual football preview, which hits the streets Thursday morning as usual, just in time for you to get a good look at your favorite team's prospects before heading out to the opening-night game.
Make no mistake about it, it's a tremendous amount a work. But to be totally honest that's fine when you're doing something that's a labor of love. There's nothing like getting the finished product in-hand, knowing how much time and effort goes into what we proudly, but not boastfully, consider to be the premier football preview both the Ohio Valley and the state of West Virginia have to offer.
It's our hope that you feel the same way when you pick up the publication, which features stories on all 48 Ohio Valley Athletic Conference football-playing schools, as well as West Virginia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Marshall, Pitt, Penn State, West Liberty and Bethany. Also included are forecasts on the Big 12, Big Ten and Mountain East Conferences.
Oh, and don't forget the predictions for each team, which are probably the most talked-about aspect of the entire publication around the water coolers. We broke things down schedule-by-schedule in attempt to forecast the fortune - hopefully not misfortune - of the team you cheer for each weekend.
So my best piece of advice would be to get the seat cushions dusted off, get the cooler and grill cleaned out and get your tickets early. There won't be many tickets left because nobody does football like the Ohio Valley.
Enjoy the season, folks.
Shawn Rine can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org