RAW NERVOUS ENERGY, sweating palms and butterflies in the stomach can mean only one of two things to the Front Row View - the sight of a half price all you can eat buffet or the start of the Heineken Cup.
Thankfully for the sake of the groaning seams on my already skin tight playing jersey it's the latter this week, so I'll focus on it accordingly.
The Heineken Cup is to me the greatest club competition in sport and the fact that it has been pretty much dominated by Irish teams over the last seven years has made it all the sweeter.
But with rumblings of discontent emanating from the Anglo-Gaul rugby regions the future is looking a little dim for this prestigious cup, a worrying prospect for fans and players alike.
Beginning in the season of 95/96', where it was won by the aristocrats Toulouse beating Cardiff in the final at the Arms Park in front of just 21,000 fans, it has since grown hugely popular with last year's crowning match being contested at Twickenham with over 80,000 fans in attendance.
This year's conclusion in the Aviva Stadium has already sold out (as I can attest to, foolishly thinking there'd be plenty left as I nonchalantly logged on to ticketmaster last week). It will be only the third time it has been staged in Ireland.
Other encounters at the Aviva's previous incarnation Lansdowne Road include Ulster's only trophy win against French outfit Colomiers in 99' when the English teams boycotted the event due to a dispute between the ERC and the RFU (sound familiar?).
And then of course there was also the damp squib of a match between Toulouse and Perpignan in 2003, played out in front of a half full stadium of mostly Munster and Leicester Tigers fans. I didn't have too much trouble getting tickets that day!
As I alluded to previously there is an air of familiarity to the unfolding drama that the English and, to a lesser extent, French clubs are unhappy with the Heineken Cup in its current format and thinking of boycotting from 2014 unless changes are made.
The disgruntlement has arisen from the belief that their domestic competitions are tougher (debatable when discussing the Aviva Premiership) making for more difficult HEC qualification and the need to consistently put out the strongest team possible.
With this in mind they want to change the number of competing teams from 24 to 20 and take away the automatic qualification rights of the Pro 12.
This would mean the Irish teams would not be able to rest certain key players in the Pro 12, safe in the knowledge that Cup qualification is practically a given.
Call me cynical but I don't seem to recall there being any problem in the structure when Leicester were winning back to back trophies in the early noughties!?
While this proposed new format may be aimed at curbing the Irish teams strangle hold on the competition it will in fact hurt the other end of the Pro 12 teams instead.
Essentially it would take away any chance of the Italian sides qualifying and competing at the highest level at a time when they're just starting to enjoy some growth in the game. It would also ensure that the Scottish would struggle on a regular basis creating an exodus of their top players to teams that are qualifying, confining Scottish rugby to the doldrums.
The new system would be counterproductive to the growth of the game in Europe and I can't see the Celtic or the Italian teams agreeing to it, which makes this particular rugby fan rather nervous as to any future for the competition at all.
Leaving these troubles aside and concentrating on this year - can Leinster claim an unprecedented third title in a row or will there be a different team sowing a star above their crest?
Edinburgh's fantastic run to the semis under Michael Bradley's free flowing tutelage last year will not be repeated this year as I don't think they'll get out of what is a tough pool. The same fate will unfortunately befall Glasgow, Treviso, Zebre and Connacht (the news that Eric Elwood is leaving them comes at a tough time).
The Welsh teams will also struggle with this year's salary cap imposed upon them, strength in depth being a key factor in cup longevity.
The English sides have had little to celebrate in the last few years but a genuine contender may be found in Conor O'Shea's Harlequins (a heavy defeat to Exeter last weekend aside).
They should easily qualify from a weak group and have the home grown talent that also breeds togetherness to make a strong challenge.
If it was purely based on scrummaging (in a perfect world) then Northampton would walk it but they can be suspect in defence under pressure.
Clermont Auvergne are still the best of the French prospects with a fantastic squad and a serious chip on the shoulder from last year's semi-final when they feel that they were robbed by Leinster (conveniently drawn with them in pool 5 this year).
Toulouse can also never be discounted and Toulon on paper should win the cup at a canter but you can't buy a 'team' mentality.
Munster are progressing but possibly need another year under Rob Penney to mount a significant challenge as their mixed results in the Pro 12 can testify to (last weekend's lose to Leinster will smart) but can you ever right them off in this competition?
Ulster are flying high at the moment, unbeaten and playing some fabulous rugby. Human wrecking ball and serial off loader Nick Williams finally showing the injury free form he's threatened for some time. Leinster slipped up against Connacht but are still a fine side (if perhaps a little Brad Thornless) and capable of beating any team on their day.
They have the experience of three titles now under the belt and almighty BOD will want to make every game count as he nears retirement (or Super rugby if the rumours are to be believed).
The December match ups with Clermont will decide their season and should be the highlights of the pool stages. With all this in mind I don't think anyone would bet too heavily against the Cup staying in Ireland this season. Hopefully see you in the Aviva for the finalâ?¦if I ever get a ticket.