Can anyone stop Southampton?
Shortly after the end of last season, it was widely reported that Alan Pardew was facing the sack as manager of Southampton.
His team had started the campaign on minus 10 points but eventually finished in seventh place, just missing out on the play-offs.
It was a noble effort by Saints, whose challenge was undermined by their inability to reproduce their dominant home form away from St Mary's. For example, they scored five goals in consecutive home games in late February but lost at struggling Tranmere in their next away fixture. But was it enough for chairman Nicola Cortese, who had sanctioned a multi-million pound spend in January?
Pardew is set on directing his team towards the Championship
When he demanded a meeting with Pardew after the season was over, it was widely assumed the manager was on his way. But Pardew survived. That said, I would be extremely surprised if Cortese settled for anything less than automatic promotion this season.
I met the former banker last year and found him to be considered, intelligent and calm. But it's fair to say he's also unaccustomed to failure.
Southampton certainly have the personnel to win League One. In Rickie Lambert, they have a striker who scored 37 goals last season, while David Connolly and Lee Barnard supplement the attacking options.
The spine of the side is solid, with Kelvin Davis in goal, Jose Fonte in the centre of defence and the ever-improving Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield. Saints have kept hold of Adam Lallana, while the likes of Ryan Dickson, Danny Butterfield and Frazer Richardson have bolstered an already impressive squad.
Saints took four points off last season's champions Norwich, including a 2-0 win at Carrow Road - and Canaries defender Russell Martin believes Pardew's team are equipped to emulate his team's achievement.
"If you look at it on paper, they have the strongest squad by quite some distance," Martin told me. "I think they have a group of players who can handle the pressure of expectation and their manager definitely can. I would expect them to be up there with the likes of Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday, while Plymouth have kept quite a strong squad and Peterborough have made a lot of changes."
Posh have indeed made changes. Gary Johnson, who became Posh's fourth manager during last season's chaotic Championship campaign, has had a busy summer, bringing in the likes of Grant McCann from Scunthorpe and striker Dave Hibbert from Shrewsbury. He has also retained key personnel from the side that won promotion from League One two seasons ago.
"We were able to keep the likes of Craig Mickail-Smith, Aaron McLean, Charlie Lee and George Boyd and supplement them with players of quality and experience," Johnson, who has previously won promotion from League One with Bristol City, told me. "It is important to be ready at this stage of the season and I think we are pretty much there."
Like Martin, the Posh boss expects Saints, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield and Plymouth to be challenging for promotion, with Charlton also in the mix.
"The teams that are generally regarded as strong promotion contenders are worthy favourites and we have to infiltrate that group," added Johnson. "But there is always a team or two that comes out of the pack and creates a problem when you least expect it."
Swindon lost last season's play-off final and key striker Billy Paynter has since departed for Leeds. Great responsibility therefore rests with Charlie Austin, who was a sensation after being plucked from non-league last year. However, the 21-year-old is still inexperienced, which means the recruitment of powerful forward Vincent Pericard, signed from Carlisle in January, could be important.
Huddersfield lost to Millwall in the play-off semi-finals but Lee Clark's talented young side should be stronger for the experience.
Charlton were the other defeated semi-finalists and have since lost important players in Frazer Richardson, Lloyd Sam and Nicky Bailey. However, manager Phil Parkinson - aided by a sense of stability after Richard Murray's buyout - has brought in numerous experienced campaigners, including striker Pawel Abbott, midfielder Alan McCormack and defender Gary Doherty.
Wednesday fans are hoping for something to smile about
Sheffield Wednesday are still plagued by financial problems but have a studious manager in Alan Irvine, who will be desperate to atone for last season's agonising final-day relegation.
Irvine has lost a few players, notably striker Leon Clarke and goalkeeper Lee Grant, but he has brought in experienced performers such as striker Neil Mellor and midfielder Chris Sedgwick from Preston as well as Republic of Ireland striker Clinton Morrison.
Gus Poyet has overseen a clear-out at Brighton as he prepares for his first full season in charge but it remains to be seen whether he has adequately replaced midfielder Andrew Crofts. It is the club's last season before moving into their new ground at Falmer and chairman Tony Bloom would love to be playing Championship football by then.
MK Dons are another club with lofty ambitions but they have gambled in appointing 29-year-old Karl Robinson as their manager. Oldham also have an unproven man in charge after bringing in Paul Dickov as player-manager.
Lee Hughes scored 30 goals in League Two last season as Notts County won the title and has the quality to score regularly at League One level but after nine months of excitement and headlines at Meadow Lane it could be a season of consolidation under new boss Craig Short.
Dagenham & Redbridge are the bookmakers' favourites for relegation after securing promotion to the third tier for the first time by winning last season's play-off final - but manager John Still has other ideas.
"Last season was fantastic and we have been preparing for what we hope will be another exciting season," Still told me. "It would be foolish to set too many targets but we want to be able to make sure we can compete at this level."
Rochdale have lost striker Chris Dagnall and full-back Tom Kennedy, while highly rated defender Craig Dawson has been linked with Burnley. It could be a difficult season for Keith Hill's team after finally ending their 36-year stay in the bottom division but their ebullient manager will ensure they approach the campaign in an upbeat manner.
Indeed, pre-season optimism is widespread in League One.
"This is the time of the year when everyone has high hopes and ambitions," said Posh boss Johnson. "I think it is very important to start well but if we lose our first few games I will be saying that the season is a marathon not a sprint."
I know I have not mentioned every team here - but if you feel your side has been overlooked and is definitely worth a mention, please tell me why.
And don't forget, you can watch all the goals from League One this season on the BBC Sport website. To whet your appetite, here's our pick of the best goals from the 2009/10 Football League campaign.