In just a few weeks, it will be "football time in Tennessee" on all levels, from elementary school to high school to college to professional.
The new look District 6AAA — CCHS, SMHS, Rhea County, Cookeville, White County and Warren County — will be available for the next four school years, unless enrollments change 20 percent, which means a school can either move up a classification or drop into a lower classification.
With SMHS' move into 6AAA, that will add another dimension to the rivalry with CCHS. Rhea County-CCHS rivalry renews, after the two schools battled one another for years in District 5AAA, which aligns with District 6AAA for Region 3AAA.
SMHS will play Rhea County, White County, Warren County and Cookeville for the first time in football; however, SMHS has played those schools in other sports over the years.
CCHS has non-district games with Scott County, York, Sweetwater and Grundy County, while SMHS has non-league games versus Livingston, DeKalb County, Pickett Couny, Coffee County and Sequatchie County.
The golf teams at both CCHS and SMHS have already opened the season, with the girls volleyball, girls soccer, cross country and football to open their seasons later this month.
CCHS Jet baseball coach Dave Prichard will be having his alumni game Sept. 14 at 10 a.m., instead of homecoming weekend, which is Oct. 25. Coach Ted McCaslin's football team has an open date Sept. 13.
The elementary football jamboree is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 10, at 6 p.m. at SMHS, with the regular season openers Aug. 15. That is the earliest start day I can remember. The championship game is Oct. 1 at SMHS at 6 p.m.
I will be taking elementary photos for the upcoming Fall Sports Preview 30 minutes before the teams take the field Aug. 10 at SMHS.
Elementary junior varsity basketball opens Oct. 7 and 10, takes a week off for fall break, then returns Oct. 22 and wraps up Nov. 16, 18 and 21 with the tournament at Pleasant Hill.
It is silly to play two sessions and then take fall break off.
Varsity basketball has only scheduled nine dates, beginning Nov. 5 and ending Dec. 19. Apparently, January has been left open for out of county games and other county games. The tournament dates are not set in stone until both high school hoop schedules are completed.
Tennessee fans, including my colleague Frank Gale, are anxiously waiting for Coach Butch Jones and the Vols to open the season Aug. 31 against Austin Peay, followed by Western Kentucky Sept. 7, before hitting the road Sept. 14 at Florida and Sept. 21 at Oregon.
After South Alabama, the Vols face seven straight SEC opponents — Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama (A), Missouri (A), Auburn, Vanderbilt and Kentucky (A).
My other colleague Jim Butler will be waiting to see if James Franklin and the Vanderbilt Commodores will post another 9-4 season.
Jim Butler's column should return this month.
Coach Russ Huesman and the UTC Mocs began preparation for their Aug. 29 opener at Findley Stadium against UT-Martin. The Mocs, who will also play Austin Peay, will one of the favorites to win the SoCon championship, since Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are ineligible for the title because of they will be vacating the conference in 2014.
ETSU is one of three or four teams moving into the SoCon in 2014.
Tennessee Tech opens the season against Cumberland University, while MTSU opens the season against SoCon member Western Carolina.
NFL training camps are now open.
Can Jake Locker and Chris Johnson take the Tennessee Titans to the promised land this year? How much will former Volunteer receiver Justin Hunter help the offense? Those questions and more will be answered over the next five months.
The Titans open the pre-season against the Washington Redskins on Aug. 8 and travel to Pittsburgh Sept. 8 for the 2013 opener.
I will be interested to see how much playing time former Chattanooga Moc quarterback B.J. Coleman gets with the Green Bay Packers this fall, while the Big Orange Nation will be watching Peyton Manning direct the Denver Broncos.
The annual Fall Sports Preview will be published Aug. 23, prior to the Jets opener with Bledsoe County and the SMHS opener with Livingston.
(Ed Greif is the Chronicle sports editor and his column appears periodically.)