It hardly requires evidence to support the claim that Ulster is, and has been, the most difficult province to win a football title in.
If an exhibit is required, though, look no further than the dearth of counties that have managed to put together a coveted three in-a-row.
Cavan did it copiously in the first half of the last century, their vice-like grip on northern affairs churning out several, until their last between 1947 and '49.
The music didn't quite stop for the Breffni men just then, but the decibel level certainly lowered with an awakening in other parts of the province.
Down stitched together one during their most glorious spell, 1959 to '61, and Armagh's propensity for mastering home affairs without necessarily capitalising beyond that, manifested in a sometimes forgotten three in a row between 2004 and 2006, the bigger picture of the pursuit of a second All-Ireland title for that team overshadowing an achievement of sterling value. But that has been the height of it.
These days Dublin and Kerry are in the midst of record-breaking runs in Leinster and Munster with no sign of fracture, the effect being a diminishing one on the nature of provincial glory. At least Connacht is a little more democratic, now Mayo's grip on the Nestor Cup has been loosened.
Does provincial success really register any more? In a year when the GAA has reverted to straight knock-out, the value lifts again, however temporarily.
And, in Ulster, with another rare three-in-a-row on the table, there will be heightened interest.
At the beginning of the last decade, Donegal had five Ulster titles. Ten years on, that figure has doubled. Since 2011, they have only failed to contest an Ulster final once (2017).
As coach, Jim McGuinness lit the fuse, but this era of Donegal success is now becoming more synonymous with Michael Murphy and his leadership.
To be in a position to land a third successive title again - where they were previously in 2013, before Monaghan ambushed them - reflects the current well-being of the county, and the consistently high standards they are reaching.
Even now, without the benefit of a league programme, their starting 15 looks close to nailed down with, maybe, a couple of floating positions. Can any other county in the province claim that?
Inevitably, this championship will take its cue from what happens in Ballybofey on the first weekend of action, and the renewal of Donegal's rivalry with Tyrone.
When the league was suspended in March, Tyrone had signed off with narrow home wins over Kerry and Dublin, the common denominator being the appalling conditions that both games were played in. But it underpinned Tyrone's resilience on each occasion, after defeats to Monaghan and Galway.
Where are they now? Colm Cavanagh has retired, Cathal McShane's recovery from a broken ankle has had a setback to keep him out until 2021, but Conor McKenna's return and quick integration allows for so many possibilities.
There is also the prospect of this being Mickey Harte's last season in charge. In place since late 2002, Harte was given a further three years in 2017, an agreement which expires once Tyrone's interest in the championship is at an end.
The expectation is that he will be keen to continue and a new arrangement will be put in place - Tyrone have reached four of the last five All-Ireland semi-finals - but how that would play out with an early championship exit remains to be seen.
Séamus McEnaney is back for a second spell as Monaghan manager. It was McEnaney, initially, who triggered Monaghan's climb back up the graph in the mid 2000s, getting promotion to Division One, contesting two Ulster finals, and pushing Kerry hard in an All-Ireland quarter-final.
When Malachy O'Rourke's successful seven-year stint ended, McEnaney was well positioned to step in, having managed an Ulster minor-winning side in 2018. He has surrounded himself with a strong backroom team that includes former Down footballer Conor Laverty and former Cavan and Tyrone strength and conditioning coach Peter Donnelly.
Monaghan have got the benefit of the softer side of the Ulster draw, too, not just sidestepping Donegal and Tyrone, but, potentially, Armagh, their conquerors in last year's qualifiers, provided Kieran McGeeney's side overcome Derry in their opening round, of course.
For Cavan, Fermanagh and Down, in each of the last three years, avoidance of Donegal and Tyrone, has been capitalised on with appearances in the final.
The pathway for Monaghan is clear if they can exact revenge on Cavan in the championship's first game, with Antrim and Down or Fermanagh providing subsequent potential hurdles.
If McEnaney and his team can ensure the renewal evident in the league games before lockdown can be maintained, an Ulster final can be reached, despite the taxing nature of six consecutive weekends of action it will bring.
Dependency on Conor McManus is high, but Conor McCarthy is really developing into the player he always threatened to be, as an effective support act.
Armagh's presence on the other side provokes interest beyond the obvious Donegal-Tyrone axis. Their recent Ulster Championship record is poor, but their forward line bristles with scoring potential.
Of the rest, Cavan's momentum from last summer seems to have staggered somewhat, while Derry, who have welcomed Conor Glass back from the AFL, and Down are in different phases of development.
Ultimately, Ballybofey is perhaps the most significant early fork in the road in this year's championship.
The prize of a third successive Anglo-Celt Cup can cement Donegal as one of the great modern-day Ulster teams.
All-Ireland titles: 0.
Ulster titles: 8 (1951).
Manager: Lenny Harbinson (third season).
Captain: Declan Lynch.
Last year: Lost to Tyrone, 2-23 to 2-9, Ulster quarter-final; lost to Kildare, 1-25 to 0-14, Round 2 qualifier.
Last big championship achievement: Reached the 2009 Ulster final.
Key man: Ricky Johnston.
Who could make a name for himself: Adam Loughran is a Hogan Cup winner with St Ronan’s Lurgan, and last year’s UCD ‘fresher of the year’ can add to Antrim’s attack.
Prospects: Their quarter-final opponents, Cavan or Monaghan, will have the momentum of a game behind them seven days earlier. Hard to see a path through either of them.
Betting: Ulster 2001/1;
First game: v Monaghan or Cavan, November 7, TBC.
All-Ireland titles: 1 (2002).
Ulster titles: 14 (2008).
Manager: Kieran McGeeney (sixth season).
Captain: Stefan Campbell.
Last year: Lost to Cavan, 0-23 to 0-17, Ulster semi-final (replay); lost to Mayo, 2-13 to 1-15, Round 3 qualifier.
Last big Championship achievement: 2008 Ulster champions.
Key man: Aidan Forker has turned out to be a valuable and versatile asset, capable of playing in a variety of positions, and fulfilling defensive and attacking roles. In top form for Maghery during club championship win.
Who could make a name for himself: Armagh are top heavy with decent forwards, but Conor Turbitt can continue his push for game-time after a good club campaign with Clann Éireann.
Prospects: Armagh appear to have a very settled team with plenty of quality forwards. Ulster wins have been scarce in recent years, but they may be in the right place now to step up on that front. If there is a seismic shock in the province, they can orchestrate it in a semi-final.
Betting: Ulster 15/2;
First game: v Derry, November 1, Celtic Park.
All-Ireland titles: 5 (1952).
Ulster titles: 36 (1997).
Manager: Mickey Graham (second season).
Captain: Raymond Galligan.
Last year: Lost to Donegal, 1-24 to 2-16, Ulster final; lost to Tyrone, 1-20 to 0-7, Round 4 qualifier.
Last big championship achievement: Reached 2019 Ulster final.
Key man: For club (Kingscourt) and county, Padraig Faulkner has been impressing, developing a keen eye for goals. The temptation to play him further outfield from his normal full-back role will be there.
Who could make a name for himself: James Smith is really starting to assert himself as a powerful midfield/attacking option, and will be buoyed by his county-final heroics with Crosserlough.
Prospects: Killian Clarke has returned, but Dara McVeety and Conor Moynagh are among those who have stayed away. Even with their departed players, beating a Monaghan team with 2019 on its collective mind, was going to be a challenge. Cavan seem to have gone back a little since then. Could be first to exit the championship.
Betting: Ulster 20/1;
First game: v Monaghan, October 31, Clones.
All-Ireland titles: 1 (1993).
Ulster titles: 7 (1998).
Manager: Rory Gallagher (first season).
Captain: Chrissy McKaigue.
Last year: Lost to Tyrone, 1-19 to 1-13, Ulster preliminary round; lost to Laois, 1-13 to 0-12, Round 2 qualifier.
Last big championship achievement: Reached 2011 Ulster final.
Key man: The break has served McKaigue really well. He looks revived and refreshed to lead from the front.
Who could make a name for himself: Conor Glass returned home from Australia last weekend, and is keen to get going with his county. Hard to see him not adapting quickly.
Prospects: Facing a more settled Armagh team in their opening round, Derry may have their eye on more
Betting: Ulster 20/1;
First game: v Armagh, November 1, Celtic Park.
All-Ireland titles: 2 (2012).
Ulster titles: 10 (2019).
Manager: Declan Bonner (third season).
Captain: Michael Murphy.
Last year: Ulster champions, beat Cavan 1-24 to 2-16 in final; third in Super 8s Group 1 (beat Meath, drew with Kerry, lost to Mayo).
Last big championship achievement: 2019 Ulster champions.
Key man: Whenever is it not Michael Murphy? And he is followed by Ryan McHugh, an axis around which any set of plans could be formulated. Murphy had, arguably, his best ever year in 2019.
Who could make a name for himself: Andrew McClean can expect league action and if he can transfer his club form (Kilcar) to inter-county he could be one to watch.
Prospects: Three consecutive Ulster titles have been achieved few and far between, but this Donegal team has a chance to write its own history by doing just that, once Tyrone in Ballybofey is negotiated successfully.
Betting: Ulster 7/4;
First game: v Tyrone, November 1, Ballybofey.
All-Ireland titles: 5 (1994).
Ulster titles: 12 (1994).
Manager: Paddy Tally (second season).
Captain: Darren O’Hagan.
Last year: Lost to Armagh, 2-17 to 3-13, Ulster quarter-final; lost to Mayo, 1-16 to 1-11, Round 2 qualifier.
Last big championship achievement: Reached 2017 Ulster final.
Key man: Caolan Mooney looks to have recovered well from a fractured skull sustained in the New Year, and brings pace that few players can live with.
Who could make a name for himself: Daniel Guinness has been growing in prominence over the last two seasons, and provides industry and versatility through the field.
Prospects: Without O’Hagan, Connaire Harrison and Pat Havern, Down are considerably weakened, but promotion and a win over Fermanagh are still within reach for a young team steadily building.
Betting: Ulster 16/1;
First game: v Fermanagh, November 8, Brewster Park, Enniskillen.
All-Ireland titles: 0.
Ulster titles: 0.
Manager: Ryan McMenamin (first season).
Captain: Eoin Donnelly.
Last year: Lost to Donegal, 0-15 to 0-9, Ulster quarter-final; lost to Monaghan, 1-10 to 1-6, Round 1 qualifier.
Last big championship achievement: Reached 2018 Ulster final.
Key man: Ryan Jones provides consistency between midfield and half-forward, and chipped in with an average of two-points-per-game in the league prior to lockdown.
Who could make a name for himself: Dara McGurn can fill a void left in attack, after Seán Quigley’s departure.
Prospects: Preparations have been thrown into some chaos with 10 positive Covid cases and a further seven players considered close contacts. Some players haven’t returned either, and, prior to lockdown, their league campaign had thrown up just one goal in five games. Tomás Corrigan has returned and, maybe, their sense of frustration can be channelled into a championship positive. But it will be difficult against the backdrop of what they are currently experiencing.
Betting: Ulster 50/1;
First game: v Down, November 8, Brewster Park, Enniskillen.
All-Ireland titles: 0.
Ulster titles: 16 (2015).
Manager: Séamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney (first season).
Captain: Ryan Wylie.
Last year: Lost to Cavan, 1-13 to 0-12, Ulster quarter-final; lost to Armagh, 2-17 to 1-15, Round 2 qualifier.
Last big championship achievement: Reached 2018 All-Ireland semi-final.
Key man: The load is being shared more evenly now with Conor McCarthy’s progression, but it’s always hard to look beyond Conor McManus.
Who could make a name for himself: Andrew Woods is just 20, but is a real prospect as a strong running midfielder/forward, who brings power and accuracy, as he showed with Inniskeen in this year’s club championship. He is one to watch.
Prospects: Will have to play six games in consecutive weeks if they are to contest and win an Ulster final, but it is well within their reach to get that far through a side of the draw that avoids Donegal, Tyrone and Armagh. It promises to be interesting. A competitive league can be built on.
Betting: Ulster 5/2,
First game: v Cavan, October 31, Clones.
All-Ireland titles: 3 (2008).
Ulster titles: 15 (2017).
Manager: Mickey Harte (18th year).
Captain: Mattie Donnelly.
Last year: Lost to Donegal, 1-16 to 0-15, Ulster semi-final; lost to Kerry, 1-18 to 0-18,
Last big championship achievement: Reached 2019 All-Ireland semi-final.
Key man: Without a doubt, it is captain Donnelly, who is Tyrone’s recognised leader. He offers the team so many options, and is crucial to their chances of making some real headway in this year’s championship.
Who could make a name for himself: It’s an obvious one, but Conor McKenna has all the tools to make a really quick, effective impact.
Prospects: Win in Ballybofey and the path becomes much clearer for Tyrone. Cathal McShane is an obvious loss, but there is some compensation in McKenna’s return. Colm Cavanagh’s departure looked a little premature. Donegal trumped them in last year’s Ulster semi-final, and look to still have a slight edge.
Betting: Ulster 3/1; All-Ireland 20/1.
First game: v Donegal, November 1, Ballybofey.