Sigerson Cup champions DCU will have it all to do to retain their title after they were handed a preliminary-round tie at the draw in Croke Park.
The north Dublin outfit romped to glory last February and can still call on the likes of Donegal's All-Ireland-winning captain Michael Murphy, but they must first travel to Limerick and defeat UL at the end of January if they are to progress to the first round proper.
Should they clear that hurdle, they will welcome Queen's University, Belfast to Dublin for a place in the last eight.
League champions DIT boast the likes of Kildare's Tomas O'Connor and Kerry's Darran O'Sullivan among their number and they open against NUI Galway, while league runners-up St Mary's head south to take on IT Tralee.
On their return to the top tier of inter-varsity football, Trinity College will host cross-city rivals UCD.
The first round of games is fixed for January 29/30 or February 5/6.
Athlone IT will host the finals weekend on February 22/23 as they unveil their new state-of-the-art sports campus.
In the Fitzgibbon Cup, reigning champions UCC are drawn alongside hosts Galway-Mayo IT and NUI Galway in Group A.
UCC saw off Cork IT by just a point after extra-time in a thrilling 2012 final, and the runners-up are alongside Waterford IT and IT Carlow in Group B.
The other pool sees UCD, Limerick IT and DCU go head-to-head.
The first round of matches are down for decision on Thursday, January 31, with GMIT hosting the four semi-finalists on Friday, March 1.
Full details for round-one fixtures in both competitions will be finalised later this week.
draws in factfile
Callanan hails Cummins decision to stick with Tipp
TIPPERARY forward Seamus Callanan has hailed Brendan Cummins' decision to return for 2013 and insists that the Ballybacon-Grange man could be around for years to come.
The veteran goalkeeper turns 38 next summer, but has already committed to another campaign, having first come into the Tipp set-up in 1995.
"I can't see that man stopping any time soon," enthused Callanan.
"The fitness and the way he minds himself, he really is just someone you look up to and you see him coming back fitter than ever again.
"It just shows his great discipline.
"I'm sure there's a few more years left in him yet."