Two major kickoffs are being celebrated Monday. After the close of the market, Alcoa (NYSE: AA) will adopt its accustomed role as the first of the major companies to report its quarterly results. Shortly thereafter, the gridiron lads from Auburn and Oregon will meet to determine which team can thump its chest as the BCS version of the top team in the land.

Essentially all of us will pay passing attention to Alcoa's results, since they'll provide at least a moderate signal of our economy's strength, along with the trends that we might expect as other corporate teams line up to disclose their results. The prerelease betting is that the Pittsburgh-based aluminum manufacturer is set to toss good news our way as we run our respective fade routes.

Rather than run the gamut of companies that'll soon tell us about their quarters, let's focus on my favorite sector, one that I'm convinced should be represented in all Foolish portfolios: energy. If you're an aficionado of this important industry, you'll be pleased to know that, despite its tribulations during the second half of 2010, results from the sector are widely expected to improve year-on-year.

Let's turn to oilfield services king Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB), which will report at the end of next week, having reclaimed its first-off position from second-in-command Halliburton (NYSE: HAL). That, from my perspective, is as it should be, in that the big company's CEO, Andrew Gould, is far and away the best at providing an informative picture of the global energy scene.

Beyond that, as my Foolish colleague Bryan White noted last week, Schlumberger is likely to benefit from increased spending by both national and the public majors, given its "one-stop shop convenience" that benefits the companies in the upstream portion of the business.

Turning to the U.S. members of Big Oil, ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) will lead off, followed by Chevron (NYSE: CVX), and then by Big Daddy ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), which will cap off January with its report on the last day of the month. As with those on the services side -- and barring major surprises -- all these major integrated companies are expected to top year-ago results for the quarter.

But since investing involves assessing the future, rather than peering into the rearview mirror, I'm inclined to side with the crew at Morgan Stanley. Their wager is that crude prices will top $100 a barrel in the year we've just begun. They base their forecast on a steady reduction in the spare production capacity among the members of OPEC.

A movement in crude prices -- along with an eventual rebound in natural gas -- will likely boost share prices in all the big energy companies set to report. As such, I suggest that Fools pay close attention to the coming round of earnings reports from the world of Big Oil and oilfield services.

Chevron is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.