The real season starts now.
The non-conference season can bring fans the occasional heavyweight matchup, but it can also force them to sit through ugly blowouts of schools taking big losses for medium paychecks.
Once your team starts making its conference run, however, the games get loud and personal. A league rivalry brings out the students, the alumni and the casual fan alike, all craving the excitement of bragging rights over family members, friends and coworkers.
For the players and coaches, momentum earned in the non-conference schedule, no matter how padded, is a precious commodity that must be sustained through early conference games.
These teams, presented in alphabetical order, may be equipped to get our attention with quick early runs once their conference schedules begin.