2002 Around the Nation columns

January 16, 2003 The best and the worst of 2002 OK, so it's January, and the mere fact that you're still coming by the site means you deserve a reward. Sure, the Division III football season is over, but it should not be forgotten. So without further ado, we (this was co-written by Pat Coleman and Gordon Mann contributed) present our 2002 season awards:

December 27, 2002 It never gets old for Mount Union In the looks on their faces and in the way they answer questions after each Stagg Bowl victory is a telling clue about Mount Union players. They each seem to genuinely enjoy the national championship as though they never expected to win it and never expect to get back to Salem again.

December 18, 2002 No name defense looking to come up big Before they kicked off in the first of their 14 victories this season, Trinity coach Steve Mohr told his defensive players that games would be won with their play. He kept telling them, but it was hard for them to believe when the nation's most prolific offense is on their sideline and final scores kept coming up 66-14 and 55-23.

December 12, 2002 A plea for a little parity Okay, John Carroll. I'm going to ask you a favor. It's simple. Beat Mount Union. You don't have to make it a habit or anything. Just do it this once. This Saturday.

December 4, 2002 Bridgewater not slowing down The top-seeded Eagles don't have quarterback Jason Lutz to bail them out with a TD pass in the final minute, like he did against Trinity last year. The Eagles don't have their top running back (Davon Cruz) or receiver (Marcus Richardson) from last season either.

November 21, 2002 Our playoff surprises, disappointments Since we know you can't possibly follow every team and conference in the nation (unless of course you read the site really extensively), Around the Nation enlisted our writers, plus former players and fans to help you figure out what might happen in these playoffs, aside from Mount Union having a shot at winning a third consecutive title. We organized our thoughts by bracket, but forgive us if we still refer to them by geographic region. We then broke them into surprises, disappointments and champions from each bracket, but first let's meet our panel:

November 14, 2002 Stories behind storied rivalries A state school against a private school. A co-ed college versus an all-male institution. One college started with books taken from another. They're all pretext for some of Division III's most heated rivalries.

November 7, 2002 Ranking the conferences, top to bottom As the season winds down for some, and as we gear up for that second season known as the playoffs, Around the Nation has a few post-Halloween treats for you.

October 31, 2002 Linfield writing new ending Want to know how a team scoring 50 points per game and allowing 16 can feel like it isn't doing enough? If you'd had your heart ripped out at the end of the past two seasons like Linfield has, you'd already know.

October 24, 2002 Mount Union not invincible, just incredible Love 'em, hate 'em or just wish they would let someone else win a national championship once in a while, you have to respect the empire Larry Kehres has built in the small town of Alliance, Ohio.

October 18, 2002 A midseason look at the races Now that most teams have five or six games under their belts, we've reached the a point in the season where fans have started speculating about conference championships and NCAA playoff bids. And wouldn't Around the Nation be remiss if it didn't help you sort all of this out?

October 8, 2002 More strange doings at Widener When a team ekes out a 20-14 overtime win by taking its own blocked field goal in for a touchdown amidst confusion by players and officials and leaving fans just short of dumbfounded, it should qualify as a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Unless we’re talking about Lycoming at Widener. Then it’s simply par for the course.

October 2, 2002 Changes at Rowan subtle, effective The Profs may appear to be different under Jay Accorsi, who admits that change is a gradual process, but the goals remain the same.

September 26, 2002 Rain: The great equalizer There's no point in trying to fight it. You go out, get wet, and enjoy being able to play football. The crazier players used to slip n' slide through the mud puddles leading up to our practice fields on rainy days. Practicing outside on days like those was mere preparation for what game night looked like in Winchester, Va. on Saturday.

September 20, 2002 Where we'd go around the nation Loosely inspired by football phenomena such as the Madden Cruiser, Athlon's imaginary Division I road trip and Austin Murphy's book The Sweet Season, I wondered what it would be like to pack up for one fall, despite the objections of the girlfriend and devoid of budgetary limitations, and hit the road for the best Division III football this country has to offer.

September 12, 2002 Whirlwind tour of opening week Those are the kind of games we love to see early in the season. It's good for creating national interest in Division III football, a level so often bound by regional and state ties.

September 5, 2002 Whitewater setting itself up It’s a glorious undertaking thrust upon a national columnist at the start of each season, presumably to open himself up to as much e-criticism as possible. But nothing gets the season cracking like preseason picks. You've seen the polls, so you already know who most of the favorites are. But which squads could come out of the shadows and roll right into the playoffs (excluding our friends in the NESCAC, of course)? Keep an eye on Around The Nation's dark horses.

April 22, 2002 Game continues for lucky pair Tony Beckham won’t get to play for the team he grew up following, the Chicago Bears, but lining up for his favorite PlayStation squad will make him just as happy.