Ten days to go and counting. No, not the number of shopping days left until Consumermas but the time until the end of the phoney war that has been the current National One season and the beginning of the period that will truly shape the league table.
With apologies to those who have lost their jobs, the hundreds who witnessed Moseley beat Bedford and the Pertemps Bees fans who can't quite believe the team is seventh in the division, the last 13 weeks have been relatively meaningless.
They have seen the competition's bourgeoisie matched with the proletariat and thus far there has been but one winner. Leeds at the top have more than six times as many points as Waterloo at the bottom and – with the exception of one or two – the clubs in between are ordered as much by their playing budgets as their points totals.
But this weekend's game between Doncaster and Plymouth acts as a warm-up for the following month in which all the runners and riders at both ends of the league come head to head.
Over the next five weeks, the quintet of promotion challengers will meet with Leeds playing the rest of the top four and a South West derby with Cornish Pirates hosting Plymouth Albion on December 23 — the same day as Doncaster play Rotherham.
Further down the food chain, Moseley play Coventry, Nottingham, London Welsh and Waterloo while the men from Blundellsands also face Sedgley Park and the Exiles.
Finally, it seems, First Division fixtures are about to become something other than hopeless mismatches.
Wouldn't it be great if every week was like that? Until the Rugby Football Union decide at what point — and indeed, if — the professional and part-time games should interface, that won't happen.
For now, National One is a melting pot of differing ambitions; some, like Leeds, just waiting to get back into the top flight and others whose range from the amorphous to the downright ridiculous.
But the dreamers better get their act together as the travails of the England team will have far-reaching consequences. Francis Baron's description of promotion and relegation as 'an article of faith' and 'something we are prepared to look at again' should send a shudder down every back.
Both Baron and Premier Rugby realise they need to come to some sort of agreement if the national side is to regain its place in the sun. Eyes will turn to the issue of relegation.
The Long Form Agreement expires in 2009 which means only three – possibly two – teams will have a chance of getting promoted before Baron brings up the drawbridge.
It'll either be Leeds or no-one who go up this year and whoever comes down will start as favourite to return in 2008. That's the problem with trying to squeeze 13 worthy Premiership teams into 12 places.
That gives Cornish Pirates two years to unravel the vines of red-tape that are currently strangling their plans to bring elite rugby to the Duchy.
It also affords Plymouth Albion limited time to spend money bringing their stadium up to scratch in the hope that they end one of the next three National One seasons as champions.
And Rotherham have the same amount of time to find a new site. And what of Pertemps Bees and Moseley? Bees want to start playing their first-team fixtures at Portway next season but are they really going to have a 12,000-plus ground ready by 2009?
Moseley also have notions of building a new stand opposite the existing temporary clubhouse, but the notion that they will have a Premiership-ready facility by the cut-off date is fanciful in the extreme.
Which means the existing league structure outside of the top flight is on borrowed time. By the 2009-10 season, there is no way National One can be the same hotchpotch of clubs all pulling in different directions at different rates and I for one, won't be sorry. It's time for a more equable solution.