Head of cricket: Dave Houghton
Captain: Billy Godleman
Overseas: Billy Stanlake
Ins: Brooke Guest (Lancashire)
Outs: Tony Palladino, Ravi Rampaul (released)
The retention of the conference system for 2021 gives Derbyshire another dart at the big time this year - with champions Essex among their rivals in Group One - and if Billy Godleman can coax similarly ambitious displays from his squad, then there's no reason to think they can't strike a few similar blows.
Certainly, Dave Houghton has moulded a squad with many of the punch-above-weight attributes of the Zimbabwe team of his playing days. Wayne Madsen, Derbyshire's captain when they last confounded expectations to earn promotion in 2012, remains a pivotal figure at the age of 37, while the balance that Luis Reece offers while opening the batting and bowling with his left-arm angles is invaluable.
Among the coming men in Derbyshire's ranks, Leus du Plooy and Fynn Hudson-Prentice both made strides in the BWT, while Matt Critchley's emergence as a legspinning allrounder did not go unnoticed either. No Derbyshire bowler fared better than his 17 wickets at 26.88.
Director of cricket: Marcus North
Coach: James Franklin
Captain: Scott Borthwick
Overseas players: Will Young (April-May), Cameron Bancroft (May onwards)
Ins: Scott Borthwick (Surrey)
Outs: Scott Steel (Leicestershire), James Weighell (Glamorgan), Sol Bell, Josh Coughlin, Gareth Harte, Nathan Rimmington, Ben Whitehead (all released)
Durham look a seam bowler light so Chris Rushworth, who is 23 wickets shy of becoming Durham's most prolific first-class bowler, needs Matty Potts to take his T20 form into the four-day stuff. And then there is Borthwick's unpredictable legspin: as captain, at least he can bring himself on at the right time. Durham's toughest fixtures are up first - away trips to Nottinghamshire and Essex with the opener at Trent Bridge particularly intriguing.
Coach: Anthony McGrath
Captain: Tom Westley
Overseas: Simon Harmer, Peter Siddle
Outs: Rishi Patel (Leicestershire)
Stability has also been a key feature of their success. Tom Westley succeeded Ryan ten Doeschate as captain last year, but of the group that won the 2017 Championship, the only significant departures have been Ravi Bopara (now at Sussex) and James Foster (retirement). Alastair Cook continues into the third year of his contract post-England, Dan Lawrence will be looking to burnish his Test credentials after showing glimpses of his ability on the winter tours of Sri Lanka and India, and the familiar outlines of Nick Browne, Westley and ten Doeschate will help fill out the batting order. Worryingly for the rest, their appetite to extend the title-winning dynasty at Chelmsford seems as strong as ever.
Director of cricket: Mick Newell
Coach: Peter Moores
Captain: Steven Mullaney
Overseas players: Dane Paterson
Ins: Brett Hutton (Northamptonshire), Lyndon James (academy), Toby Pettman, Dane Schadendorf
Outs: Chris Nash, Jack Blatherwick (Lancashire)
The club have built a deep pool of seamers too, both homegrown and imported. Zak Chappell and Jake Ball were both in the wickets last summer and Stuart Broad is likely to play a handful of early-season fixtures. Dane Paterson - eventually signed as an overseas player after 12 months in limbo - looks like a smart pick-up, while the underrated Brett Hutton has returned from Northants. For all the club's white-ball success during the Peter Moores era, the first thing to tick off this season will be that elusive four-day victory.
Director of cricket: Paul Farbrace
Coach: Mark Robinson
Captain: Will Rhodes
Overseas: Pieter Malan
Ins: Danny Briggs (Sussex), Manraj Johal, Jacob Bethell (both academy), Jacob Lintott
Outs: Jeetan Patel, Ian Bell, Tim Ambrose (all retired), Liam Banks (released)
At full strength, the seam department boasts impressive pace and promise. But Henry Brookes, Ryan Sidebottom and Olly Stone will rarely play together so Briggs, the man charged with replacing Patel, and Oliver Hannon-Dalby will be relied upon to hold things together.
There's a new head coach in Mark Robinson and a nearly new captain in Will Rhodes, too. So while Warwickshire will hope to improve on some pretty modest Championship form over the last few years - they have only won one Division One or BWT match at Edgbaston since September 2016 - it will probably pay for supporters to retain modest ambitions in the short term. This is a rebuilding process that could take a while.
Coach: Alex Gidman
Captain: Joe Leach
Overseas: Alzarri Joseph
Ins: Alzarri Joseph, Gareth Roderick (Gloucestershire)
Outs: Wayne Parnell (Northants), George Scrimshaw (Derbyshire), Ben Twohig, Olly Westbury (both released)
The spin bowling is less strong. With Keshav Maharaj having pulled out of a deal and Moeen Ali's availability severely limited, Brett D'Oliveira will be required to provide the spin option and avoid over-rate fines. The club may well recruit an overseas spinner later in the campaign.
Gareth Roderick, who is expected to bat at No. 3, should add some solidity to a batting line-up that was noticeably improved by the recruitment of Jake Libby last year. The likes of Jack Haynes and Rikki Wessels, in the last year of his contract, may be fighting it out for the final batting spot, though the number of bowling allrounders - Leach, Joseph and Ed Barnard among them - should provide lower-order runs.
While qualifying for Division One will, no doubt, be the aim, reaching Division Two would probably represent a season of progress.