Can Birmingham, Reading and Derby bounce back?
We've all seen the images on Match of the Day.
It is the final day of the season and invariably a lovely sunny early summer afternoon. The camera pans to the sight of a supporter, alone now in the empty stand, a tear in the eye, a shattered dream - the brutal and cruel face of relegation from the Premier League.
Birmingham, Reading and Derby all went through it last season.
For hapless Derby, who won one league game all season, the tears had dried months before the season actually ended, with the club's relegation confirmed by the end of March.
Relegation caught manager Paul Jewell in bullish mood, the Rams boss claiming: "The pain we are suffering now, I will repay next season with promotion."
And no one can say that Jewell doesn't have the relevant experience, having won promotion to the Premier League with both Bradford and Wigan.
But will he - or indeed Blues boss Alex McLeish and Reading's Steve Coppell - be able to heal the scars of last season by bouncing straight back?
History suggests it will be very difficult.
Of the 30 relegations from the Premier League between1998 and 2007 only six clubs won promotion the following season - exactly one in five.
And of those 30 relegations the average placing in the Championship the following season was 8.46, outside the play-off zone.
Personally speaking I think the team that intrigues me most is Derby, if only because of the sheer misery of their season-long sojourn in the Premier League.
Jewell, who replaced Billy Davies as boss in November 2007, openly admitted he was planning for the next season months before the old one ended. His claim that it was all about next season almost became some kind of mantra as Jewell faced the camera week after week, defeat after desultory defeat. And having talked the talk, Jewell must now make sure he delivers.
At the end of the season Jewell spoke about the need for a change of culture. The 11 new faces he has brought in should bring with them some fresh energy and enthusiasm while Jewell has assigned every player still at the club with a new squad number. Gimmick or good psychology? Time will tell.
Some of Derby's arrivals look like excellent business. For example, Jewell knows how to get the best out of Nathan Ellington while Rob Hulse should be extremely productive at Championship level.
With Liam Dickinson and Emanuel Villa also at the club, Jewell does not lack strikers and has pledged to select on form across his entire squad. He wants to see hunger and desire from his players but I imagine that what he wants most of all is to see his squad gel. With so many new arrivals, how quickly they fit together will be a crucial factor in whether Jewell can deliver on his promises.
Derby chief executive Tom Glick said late last season that the club's relegation so early in the campaign would give them an advantage over the other two relegated teams. I'm not sure Birmingham or Reading would see it that way.
Birmingham know what it is to bounce straight back, having done so in 2007 under Steve Bruce. But how will McLeish fare in the Championship?
The Scot took his squad to Austria for a pre-season training camp and has been working hard on impressing on them what he wants next season.
According to assistant Roy Aitken, this boils down to getting the ball down on the deck, knocking it around and then pressuring the opposition when they are in possession.
Do that, reckons Aitken, and promotion is attainable.
McLeish has tinkered with his formation in pre-season - deploying James McFadden, Garry O'Connor and Kevin Phillips at the front of a 4-3-3 system - but is likely to settle on 4-4-2.
And I have to say that Birmingham certainly have the ammunition to make an impact.
Lee Carsley, McFadden, Radhi Jaidi, Gary McSheffrey, Cameron Jerome, Sebastian Larsson, Martin Taylor and Phillips are all quality players at Championship level.
Not that this is enough for McLeish, who is looking to boost his squad, with former Arsenal player Quincy Owusu-Abeyie high on his wanted list.
Defender Taylor reckons the squad is stronger than the one that won promotion in 2007 and I'd probably agree. In fact they must surely have the best squad in the division.
But I'm not so sure that everything will be cut and dried for Blues. Will McLeish quickly master his new division? Will the players take on board what he has been teaching them through pre-season? And will the boardroom distractions of the last campaign give way to matters on the pitch?
It should make for compelling viewing this time around.
And finally, there is Reading.
The atmosphere at the Madejski Stadium during the final few home games of their 2005/06 promotion season was triumphant.
I had been there on various occasions down the years but this was different. The realisation that the Premier League was about to become reality had started to dawn on the people of Reading; empty seats were no more, business was brisk in the club shop and there was an all-pervading sense of electricity and excitement. The sound of 20,000 people chanting USA, USA over and over and over again at goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann lent a surreal feel to this particular corner of Berkshire.
That season's sense of momentum carried the Royals to eighth in their first Premier League campaign but their second was a chastening experience, culminating in their relegation on goal difference in May.
The same fans who rejoiced in Reading's promotion showed such affection for Coppell when it looked as though he would walk at the end of last season that the 53-year-old agreed to stay.
And the fact that he is still at the club could be crucial.
He is a low-key manager who hardly courts publicity but he does a nice line in wry humour - note his quip that the FA must have been confused when they sought out Fabio Capello to be England coach - and runs a steady ship.
Coppell took the club to the Premier League and remained a dignified figure during their relegation season. He seems to treat the twin imposters of triumph and disaster the same. Coppell has the respect of his players but showed last season in upsetting Leroy Lita and Sam Sodje that he is not scared to make tough decisions.
The Royals squad is not radically different to that which amassed 106 points in 2006, although is obviously weaker for the recent sale of Dave Kitson, while the likes of Nicky Shorey and James Harper could also yet depart if the right offer is tabled.
On the plus side, a fully fit Marek Matejovsky, who arrived in January, could prove to be a sensation in the Championship. The word is that the club see it as a blessing in disguise that the Czech Republic midfielder was injured during Euro 2008.
Their defence is organised and solid, while Kevin Doyle and Lita are proven goalscorers at Championship level.
It all adds up to three teams who seem to have the belief and quality to win promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt. Or, to borrow from QPR boss Iain Dowie, three teams with bouncebackability.
Last season's Championship was fascinating because the competition was so tight and intense, with plenty of teams in the hunt for promotion. But will one of the relegated trio emerge as the stand-out team in the division this season and really take it by the scruff of the neck?
In fact, could we realistically see all three relegated teams win promotion this coming season? History suggests not - so which of them do you think are best equipped to take the division by storm?