Football is here, or almost.
Regional high school teams can scrimmage opponents starting Saturday, and there's a full menu of game-like meetings that include a game clock and referees to ponder.
Teams may be able to disguise plays and coaches will surely downplay potential, but you cannot disguise effort, and teams will either have it, or they won't.
In an attempt to game-face prepare for the season, I'll be co-hosting with guru partner in media coverage crime Mike Finnerty the SureWest Sports Radio Show on Saturday from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320 (linked later to ESPN1320.net for podcast). We'll break down the top teams, the top players, the upstart teams and the unsung players and also look into the coaching burnout concerns and other themes and trends.
Here's a closer peek of Saturday scrimmages, with Bee rankings if applicable:
* No. 6 Rocklin at No. 1 Folsom, 6 p.m.
Expect a few passes with Rocklin's Logan Webb facing off against Folsom's Jake Browning. Both programs will score, but how will the defenses do overall
* Bella Vista at No. 2 Granite Bay, 10 a.m.
The Broncos brace for another scrimmage showdown with Granite Bay and hitters such as Cameron Smith and Flyback flash in Tony Ellison.
* No. 3 Elk Grove at No. 4 Del Oro, 7 p.m.
The teams face off each year in a spirited scrimmage, and EG beat DO in the 2012 playoffs. Both are loaded again and could face off in D-II - again.
* No. 5 Pleasant Grove at No. 8 Burbank, 9 a.m.
Speed vs. speed, and the teams face off for real fun and games on Sept. 6.
* No. 7 Oak Ridge at Colfax, 8:30 a.m.
Oak Ridge has LB hitters such as Thomas Mahlman taking on a unit with 11 returning offensive starters. How will OR sophomore QB Ian Book fare?
* No. 11 Cosumnes Oaks at No. 16 Rio Linda, 7 p.m.
Skill and power against power and skill in a meeting of league and section title hopefuls. One nice matchup: WR Alex Van Dyke vs. DB Keenan Hunt.
* Rodriguez at No. 12 Inderkum, 10 a.m.
The Fairfield school, always fast, takes on a team that could be even faster, headed by steady QB C.J. Spencer and a stout defense.
* No. 15 Del Campo at Woodland, 10 a.m.
The Cougars will run smash mouth plays with RB Austin Brown, and Woodland features all-purpose threat Devin Jones.
* No. 17 Placer at El Dorado, 10 a.m.
The wing-T heavy Hillmen will also face Rosemont. El Dorado could have its best team in years.
* No. 20 El Camino at Oakmont, 9 a.m.
The Eagles have experienced lines and LB brute Quenton Hagen after winning 1st playoff game in 20 years. Oakmont has WR Justin Holmes and DE/TE Trey Olsen.
* Grant jamboree, 9:30 a.m.
The No. 9 Pacers and their wealth of speed and ferocity takes on St. Mary's of Stockton, Whitney, Sacramento and Chavez. St. Mary's has another championship caliber team.
* Lincoln jamboree, 8 a.m.
No. 10 Vista del Lago, No. 14 Antelope, Nevada Union and Lincoln each seek league titles, or the playoffs at the very least. NU has new coach Dennis Houlihan.
* Center jamboree, 7 p.m.
The No. 18 Cougars, quick and experiened, welcome Galt, Mira Loma, Highlands, Ponderosa and Elliot Christian. Highlands has LB Junior Jenkins.
* Roseville jamboree, 7 p.m.
The host Tigers with OL star Kolton Miller face fellow playoff hopefuls in Yuba City and Monterey Trail.
* Pioneer at Christian Brothers, 11 a.m.
The host Falcons could have their fastest team in years.
* Kennedy at Casa Roble, 9 a.m.
The teams went a combined 1-19 last season. Don't think they have something to prove?
* Foresthill at Golden Sierra, 6 p.m.
Small-school programs with playoff pasts face off in a true road trip.
* Laguna Creek at River City, 10 a.m.
The Cardinals will unleash QB Cecil Williams II against a quick Raiders defense.
* Davis/Florin at Natomas, 11 a.m.
The Blue Devils went 5-5 last season, returning RB Winfred Robinson. Florin/Natomas seek .500 or better.
* Tokay at Sheldon, 11 a.m.
The Huskies are never short of speed or talent, a group headed by scholar QB Nolan Merker.
* Marysville at Delta, 6 p.m.
Traditional powers are coming off off seasons.
* Amador at Union Mine, 10 a.m.
The host Diamondbacks yearn for a title team of yesteryear.
* Capital Christian at Cordova, 9 a.m.
The Cougars and DE Nifae Lealao and RB/Flyback Justice Shelton-Mosely face a Lancers team eager to get off to a good start.
* Woodcreek at River Valley, 8 a.m.
The Stowers era starts for Woodcreek after coaching stops at Colfax and Del Oro.
* West Campus at Johnson, 9:30 a.m.
Once all on the same campus, the programs seek success after trying seasons.
- Joe Davidson
- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
- Online daily: www.sacbee.com
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/sacbeepreps
- On radio: ESPN1320, Saturdays 9-10 a.m.
- On SacBee.com: each Monday Preps Plus Insider with Mike Finnerty, breaking down games, players, trends