My gut feelings:
1. The Cadets will have a very rough year, one of their worst ever. (as stock with champions, however, they will come out scoring big---so wait until later in the season to judge this prediction)
2. The Cavaliers will have a very rough year, one of their worst in recent history. (the music caption will be their obviously strongest caption, first in a long time)
3. The Troopers will be way better than people expect. (cool show concept, better membership than the past, texas influx/influence, more competetive move in strategy)
4. Phantom Regiment will be stronger visually than musically. Both KCs and Jamey Thompson are AWESOME and the stuff they started last season will only be better this season.
There's no room for error if you want to remain in the top 5. On top of the usual contenders, there are many other corps that have shown the ability to get in the ring. As much as I am a Cadets homer, I do not have high hopes for this year. I don't know how this years' show/theme was arrived at, but it's disheartening coming from a corps that prides itself on innovation. Yes, the Cadets will put their unique spin on Christmas music, and...
... that's it.
They can add themselves to the list of every single other artist out there that has released a Christmas album.
I wish them the best of luck and I hope the kids have a great summer.