THE CHAMPIONSHIP season kicked off in England last night with a fairly tedious draw between Blackburn and Cardiff.
Most people fancied goals in the game but both teams to score just came in and on that early showing neither side looked title contenders.
That's good for me as I'm eyeing up Derby to launch a major challenge – if they can shake off the hangover caused by last season's play-off final defeat.
It's possibly the toughest league in the world to win but Steve McClaren has the experience required and the type of squad needed to go all the way.
Midfielder Will Hughes and star striker Chris Martin have been persuaded to stay and while County haven't made any star signings they were the best side in the second half of last season and can benefit from McClaren's first full campaign in charge.
My next best bets are Fulham whose boss Felix Magath has made great signings in the shape of Ross McCormack and former Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal youngster Thomas Eisfeld and brought back Bryan Ruiz after a loan spell at PSV.
I'm not sure how the German will handle the hectic schedule and games where every team scraps but Fulham will have supporters at 11-1 with Hills for the title and 10-3 at Betfred for promotion.
Cardiff and Norwich, the other two sides to come down, are less fancied while Wigan could push for a top-two place after a superb end to the season under Uwe Rosler.
At the other end of the table a Blackpool side who have only managed two pre-season friendlies due to lack of players are everyone's picks to go down at 4-6 with Betfred which is incredibly short.
There is a fascinating fight for top score between Scotland intenationals Rhodes and McCormack. At a struggling Leeds McCormack netted 28 times in 43 appearances last season while Rhodes has fired more than 25 in each of his last three campaigns.
While there are many contenders in the Championship in League only four of five sides can be considered for the title. Wolves were short-priced jollies last season and this time it's Nigel Clough's Sheffield Utd who are 11-2 at William Hill and Ladbrokes after finishing the last campaign so strongly. However, the loss of £2m.5 defender Harry Maguire to Hull could be costly and I'd prefer to back Preston each way at 17-2 with Coral.
They reached the play-offs under Simon Grayson last season and while Kyel Reid and Rangers striker Andy Little have been their own summer buys they already had a strong squad and are always tough to beat at home.
For me it's between Preston, Sheffield Utd and Orient – who led for a long time last season before just falling short. They are 12-1 with Coral.
In League Two I'm backing the Pompey chimes to be sounding as the club stirs to life in League Two and tries to start the long process of climbing back to the top flight from where they came.
Portsmouth ended the season with five wins and two draws and should resume where they left off. They look decent each-way value at 8-1 with Coral and it could be that promoted Luton are their nearest challengers after a runaway success in the Conference last season.