So, "top down" or "toe up" would be the two basic pattern groups. To cuff or not to cuff seems to be your question. I think Nat has answered that in good form.
This is the first discussion of cuffs that I recall reading, but then I've only been knitting about a year now. Nat also did a great job addressing the cuff as a hem.
All I get to do is learn from your question and the answers that were give. All in all a great way to learn.
Good luck with your cuffed socks, now I think I'll apply a cuff to a knitted "stocking" or Toboggan hat (that's what Pennsylvanians call a Canadian Toque style hat.)[/color]