A glimpse of the challenge of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference can be seen in the new league's 8-3-3 nonconference record this past opening weekend.
Eight proud, strong programs banded together two summers ago and now promise to beat the snot out of each other each week.
The NCHC may prove so tough, pretty good teams will have mediocre records and put their NCAA at-large chances in jeopardy.
"It's going to be a bear and everyone knows it, but it will be great entertainment for the fans," Colorado College coach Scott Owens said.
The first sample is this weekend with the first league games - No. 7 North Dakota at No. 1 Miami and No. 20 Minnesota-Duluth at CC - broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
"It's the SEC of college hockey," Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. "There will be some good programs and coaches who are going find themselves at the bottom."
That causes some uncertainty for the new NCHC teams.
"I'm a little bit nervous," Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. "I'm a little bit concerned. We studied all the teams this summer, and I think we have a good idea about their tendencies, but there are still some unknowns."
It is much the same in the Big Ten, whose formation jostled the dominoes.
"You go in without a familiar feel with your opponents except for Wisconsin," Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. "It will be different especially coming from the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association). In five years, it will be the new norm."
Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula donated $88 million in September 2010 to start the Penn State program, which sparked the creation of the Big Ten, and then the NCHC.
The formation of the NCHC, comprised by CC, Denver, Miami, Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan, and Notre Dame's defection from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association forced the WCHA to absorb the remaining CCHA schools and add Alabama-Huntsville.
The resulting competition between the new and remaining leagues led to a record 178 game broadcasts on national and regional TV networks, not including local shows or game broadcasts.
There will be diehards who may never let the changes of the past two years go. Those in the new leagues have.
"This isn't the first time the college hockey landscape has changed," Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said recently, referring to the formation of Hockey East in 1984 when teams left the ECAC. "People would say, 'The sky is falling,' but the sky didn't fall."
The NCHC and its teams are too busy to worry.
"Our focus will be the postseason tournament and making the fan and team experiences the best it can be in Minneapolis," commissioner Josh Fenton said. "It's very exciting to finally have the season starting."