Welcome to Kickoff '12!We know you want to see where we picked your team to finish. But before you check that out, here's a little info on how to get around your preseason preview, our thanks for your purchase and the credit to all the people who helped put it together.
In Division III, the NFL dream is aliveA Division III standout can realize his NFL dream even if he didn't play for Mount Union or UW-Whitewater. Players who excel are getting -- and maximizing -- pro opportunities.
In 2012, running the ball isn't what it used to beOffenses have changed since coaches Lance Leipold, Dean Paul and Pedro Arruza roamed Division III backfields. But in an age of spread attacks, their teams, and other successful ones, still try to stay balanced.
Beyond the Top 25: Let's dig deeper for sleepersYou don't need Kickoff to tell you who has a shot at the Stagg Bowl. You don't need it to see who's in the preseason poll. But to figure out where Wisconsin Lutheran, Elmhurst and LaVerne fit in a playoff discussion, we're here for you.
Kickoff has features, Q&As and more!With nearly 40 feature stories, there's plenty in Kickoff to keep you busy. Check out the full list, including a Q&A with Mount Union linebacker Charles Dieuseul and a whole lot more.
Team-by-team previewsEvery year we preview every team in Division III football. Who are the "X' factors and breakout players? What are the top position battles? Here's the bulk of Kickoff 2012: 239 pages previewing 239 teams.
Team-by-team rankingsEvery preseason, we rank Division III teams. Not just 1-25, but all the way through to the end. In this case, it's all the way from 1 to 239.
Last part of Tommies' climb is the most difficultUnder Glenn Caruso, St. Thomas has surged from a 2-8 team to a national semifinalist. But the next step, being able to crack the UW-Whitewater/Mount Union stranglehold on the Stagg Bowl, could be a steeper climb.
Catching up with: UW-Whitewater's Tyler HuberThe Warhawks big-name quarterback and running back are gone, leaving the offensive spotlight to Tyler Huber, who talks about taking it one week at a time but still hoping to play Mount Union, and where all the championship hardware will end up.
Can Ithaca rebound from rare losing season?A streak of non-losing seasons had long been a source of pride at Ithaca. Kickoff '12 examines why the streak broke last season, and whether the Bombers can quickly rebound.
Catching up with: North Central's Josh MitchellJosh Mitchell was on the field during Wabash's two-point conversion that knocked the Cardinals out of last year's playoffs. He opens up about how the hurt feels, how to avoid looking ahead and what goes through his mind on a pick-six.
Journell has a chance to revive a winnerAs a longtime conference assistant and former head coach at Elmhurst, Tom Journell has been building toward the day he could be a head coach in the WIAC for a long time.
Catching up with: St. John Fisher CB Troy SantPreseason All-American Troy Sant talks garbage (about his food) and still has a soft spot for basketball. But most of all, he wants St. John Fisher to win any outright conference title.
Louisiana College centers hand offHanding off is not typically a center's role, but when Hunter Feibel takes over on the Louisiana College offensive line, it will be more than just replacing a four-year starter. He'll be replacing his brother. Again.
Catching up with: B-SC's Shawn MorrisAll-American running back Shawn Morris has dreams, but they aren't what you might expect. His brother is in the NFL, but Shawn is so Division III -- he's got visions of an unbeaten season, and then focusing on an academic pursuit.
Dubuque starts journey as hunted, not huntersDubuque spent a lot of years in the cellar. Problems at the school bled onto the football field. But in the past decade, an academic and athletic rejuvenation has occurred, and the team is coming off its first IIAC championship in more than 30 years.
Catching up with: McDaniel's Joe RollinsDon't underestimate this little guy who makes one of the biggest impacts in the Centennial Conference. He's his own toughest critic and has plans beyond this season.
Young ECFC trying to grow upThe ECFC began as a mishmash of young football programs in need of a conference to call their own. In its fourth year, team identities and rivalries have developed, and the hope to compete on the national stage is there.
Kniffin hopes to lift UPS out of the basementAdam Kniffin started his career as a free safety, but caught on to wide receiver quickly. With school records and all-American accolades in hand, his goal now is to get the Loggers some victories.
Catching up with: Delaware Valley's John Lavelle Jr.The All-American offensive lineman tells Kickoff '12 about the family-like touches that drew him to Delaware Valley, the allure of Twitter, the toughest player he ever faced and how far the Aggies can go this season.
LaGrange goes out of its way for USA SouthWhile the USA South loses its northernmost member, it adds LaGrange, which extends the conference footprint into Georgia, and gives the Panthers the affliation it has longed for.
Catching up with: Bluffton coach Tyson VeidtThe Bluffton coach talks to Kickoff '12 about whether or not the much-improved Beavers have turned the corner, what the essence of Division III is and how he'd like to see the recruiting process change.
Middlebury's got its Foote on gasMiddlebury seemed headed for a run-based offense until McCallum Foote arrived from Brown. Now in his second year with the Panthers, he's got designs on taking flight.
Catching up with: Chicago's Dee BrizzolaraHardly anyone can keep up with Chicago speedster Dee Brizzolara, but he slowed down long enough to tell Kickoff '12 how academics and race might have held him back, and what taking the Wonderlic test is like.
D-III success comes in all formsWilmington is coming off of 20 consecutive losses, including two against conference rival and 10-time national champ Mount Union. They might not share a lot in common on the scoreboard, but the Quakers have a quarterback worthy of praise.
2012 conference rankingsEvery year we rank all of the conferences from top to bottom (other than the NESCAC). Where does your league fit into the Division III football pecking order?
And lastly ... we predictFrom the preseason to the postseason, from the sane to the inane, our intrepid crew of prognosticators takes a crack at the 2012 season's tough questions, plus the ones you'd never have even thought to ask.