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Welcome to Kickoff 2016. Worth the trouble? Of course.

We've been doing this for a dozen years, and some of them run together. But throughout the process, we are reminded why we love it. Here's why we do Kickoff, who's responsible for it, and what it helps fund.

Beyond the Top 25: Deeper sleepers

A team wearing purple will probably win it all. Cool story bro. You want to know who the next wave of teams that will challenge for playoff spots are? You'll actually find this cool.

For D-III's best, pressure manifests itself in many ways

Learning to deal with pressure, whether academic, self-imposed, because of off-field life or a brother who blazed a trail, is a key to remaining great.

When winning isn't part of the recruiting pitch

When a program hasn't had success for years, what makes recruits want to play for it? We asked coaches at Puget Sound, Nichols and UW-Eau Claire how a turnaround begins.

Roberts rumbled for 2,092 yards. This year, he's healthy.

The running back broke out as a junior, leading the Tommies back to the Stagg Bowl. The scary part is he says he played hurt.

Mount isn't whole, but there's no hole in the middle

The national champions lost almost all of their starters, but they do have All-American center Mitch Doraty and a pair of tackles to build around.

From Scotland to Hawaii, trips give teams an edge

Surprinsingly, the benefit is not in the extra practices. North Central, St. Thomas and Pacific explain how overseas travel could benefit them in 2016.

2016 Team-by-team previews

Every 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 2016: 248 pages previewing 248 teams.

Where does your team rank?

Each year since 2005, Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan have ranked all of the Division III football teams from top to bottom. This year there are 248. Where did your team come in?

2016 conference rankings

Every 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?

The OAC's top four are each settling on a new No. 1

Three teams attempting to keep Mount Union from winning its 25th consecutive conference title are slotting new players in under center. But so are the Purple Raiders.

Getting to know Hendrix's Dayton Winn

The Warriors running back talks with Brian Lester about racing dirt bikes, pregame naps and why he chose a school that was restarting its program.

Last year's heartbreak is this year's fuel for Thomas More

A heartbreaker of a playoff loss last year is a lesson well learned for the Saints, who have higher hopes this season.

Getting to know Lycoming's Blake Bowman

The Warriors' senior running back talks with Tom Pfaff about waiting his turn, giving up a chance to wrestle in Division I and getting heartwarming letters from his grandmother.

Mathers pulls double duty for Tufts lacrosse and football

As part of a near-dynasty in one sport, while bringing his other team out of the doldrums and into conference contention, one Jumbo has had a big experience on both fields.

When NASA calls, you're allowed to miss practice

Players at Johns Hopkins and Muhlenberg are trying to win the Centnnial Conference title, but they balance academic and service-oriented opportunities with their seasons.

Eau Claire, La Crosse turn to new coaches for turnaround

Mike Schmidt and Dan Larson bring youthful exuberance and a belief that two previously playoff-caliber programs can get back there quickly.

Getting to know Washington & Lee's Mike LaSala

The Generals' tackle talks with Adam Turer about turning the page from a historic 2015 to 2016, how the triple option might be responsible for his All-American honor and how he found academic balance and a renewed passion for football at W&L.

MIT rose to new heights, then fell. Will another rise follow?

After everything broke the Engineers' way in 2014, not much did in 2015. There are reasons to believe they can make their own breaks in 2016.

Getting to know St. Lawrence's Chyron Brown-Wallace

The Saints' defensive lineman talks with James Baker about how he was recruited to an 0-10 team, what facing Mount Union is like and why preseason All-American honors are motivation.

It's a long way from Ukraine to the Trine D-line

On Glib Osiianenko's journey to the Indiana MIAA school, he's experienced quite a bit of good fortune, and overcome a setback.

Getting to know Lakeland's Kezlow Smith

The Muskies wide receiver talks with Austin Walther about dealing with dropped passes and new quarterbacks, and playing other sports in college.

Getting to know Claremont-Mudd-Scripps's Victor Bunce

The Stags cornerback talks with Paul Schreel about Training in the Streets -- for economics, about whether he'll see more passes thrown his way after a nine-interception season and about walking across the street to play a rivalry game.

Getting to know Greenville's Nicholas Morrow

The Panthers safety talks with Pat Coleman about how he found himself at Greenville, how he turned himself into the standout player he has become as well as his favorite philosopher and what he has learned in his philosophy classes.

Getting to know Texas Lutheran's Darian Candler

The Bulldogs linebacker talks with Brian Lester about his preconceived notions about Division III, becoming a more vocal leader and the best things about game day.

Getting to know Rose-Hulman's Austin Swenson

The Engineers' quarterback talks with Adam Turer about why he chose a demanding engineering institution, how the school and community support RHIT athletics, and how his team can make history in 2016.

Getting to know Huntingdon's Luke Bailey

The Hawks quarterback talks with Ryan Tipps about defending the USA South title, growing into a leadership role and what two playoff games proved.

Expanded NJAC exporting trophies to neighboring states

The conference's name aside, New Jersey's power teams have been surpassed by affiliate members. It all makes for great competition, though.

Nebraska Wesleyan expects to feel right at home in Iowa

The Prairie Wolves join the IIAC after years of straddling the line between D-III and NAIA. Here's a look at what to expect.

Once more around the old ECFC

Becker and Norwich are in their last year in the conference, while Alfred State and Dean are waiting to begin. Faces will change, but for this year, the old-guard ECFC teams want to win.

... And lastly, we predict

We asked a six-man panel 20 questions about the upcoming season, everything from last team in the playoff field to most surprising upset. Enjoy.