There probably hasn't been this much optimism around Heidelberg's football team in decades. The Student Princes are coming off an 8-2 season, and return standouts on each side of the ball.
The rest of the Ohio Athletic Conference - and the media that cover it - have taken notice.
After years of languishing in the middle or at the bottom of preseason polls, Heidelberg was predicted to finish third in the OAC by the media, and second by the conference's coaches.
But for all the optimism, the prevailing feeling at Seiberling Gymnasium this week may be uncertainty.
It's not that HU coach Mike Hallet or his staff are unsure about the talent they possess. Rather, it's about the Week One opponent, Alma.
Heidelberg played Alma at Mayer Field in last season's opener, winning34-28 in overtime. But the Scots are a different team this year. For starters, Alma has a new coach, Greg Pscodna, and HU coach Mike Hallett said the Scots chose not to exchange scrimmage tape.
"It's a lot of great unknowns right now," Hallett said. "There's a great challenge in that for our kids and our staff, just trying to piece together what we know about their staff and what they've done at other places.
"It's not the most advantageous situation for us, where they have our game film from the last two years when we played."
One thing should be familiar, and that is the Scots' quarterback, Jarrett Leister, who started every game a season ago and threw for more than 2,200 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"Jarrett Leister is a really good player, no doubt about it," Hallett said.
The coach said that when it came to getting ready for today's game, there only was one option.
"The thing that we've done is just try to prepare for everything," Hallett said. "Each day of this week has been built on different structures of defenses, so whatever they're gonna line up in, we've practiced against that. We've incorporated most everything we could possibly see... so our guys are prepared for whatever structure that might be."
The same goes for preparing for the Scots offense. Hallett ran down the things Alma could do, and after listing each one, said "we've worked that."
"The great thing about (Heidelberg) is, we've thrown some curveballs at them this preseason, and boy, they've done a great job rallying around that."
Heidelberg also will look a little different than it did a season ago - first off, its top running back, Germany Woods, transferred to Mount Union. But Hallett said he's comfortable with what he has. It starts with sophomore back Cartel Brooks, but it doesn't end there.
"The stable is not empty," he said.
Michael Mees returns as the starting quarterback, though Hallett said Colin Bultinck will play.
And while much of the talk has been about the offense, Hallett is very excited about the defense.
Heidelberg's defense includes seniors like defensive back Justin Suddeth, linebacker Craig Sykes and lineman Stephen Fejedelum. And that's only naming a few of the many that the coaching staff has high hopes for.
"W're excited to see those guys turn it loose for the course of the game," Hallett said.
Kickoff is at 1 p.m.