2003 Around the Nation columns

January 6, 2004 The best and worst of 2003 While teams prepare for the great years in Division III football that lie ahead, we at D3football.com take a look back at 2003. The year began on Sept. 4 in Jackson, Miss., when Mississippi College beat Millsaps in a rivalry game, and ended in Salem with St. John’s Stagg Bowl victory over Mount Union on Dec. 20. Here are our most memorable moments from the entire season, around the nation.

December 24, 2003 People make Stagg Bowl special Given a few days to reflect on Stagg Bowl XXXI, the best thing about it is still easy to pinpoint. It was, and always has been, the people.

December 18, 2003 Let us tell you about Salem We’ve had the opportunity to go around the nation this year, both literally and figuratively. Before we look back the year that was, there is one more matter left to settle: The 31st Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.

December 11, 2003 Rebuilt defense even scarier Behind every offensively dominant championship team of course, is a great defense. If Mount Union is to win its eighth Division III title, the Purple Raiders will have to get past another team known for its defense, and play a little D of its own.

December 4, 2003 Still looking to join elite As one of small-college football’s most storied programs, Linfield probably belongs in the same breath with Division III elite like St. John’s, Mount Union and Northwest Conference rival Pacific Lutheran. Wildcat players are as classy as they are talented, and speak of the playoffs with both confidence and awe.

November 27, 2003 Playoff teams survive exciting finishes There were fourth-quarter comebacks, blocked kicks and goal-line stands. Think playoffs, and you think dramatic finishes. The first round of the 2003 Division III playoffs certainly obliged.

November 20, 2003 Our playoff surprises, disappointments We’ll spare you the part about how all college football championships should be decided on the field, in a tournament, and get right down to business: Who the heck’s gonna knock off Mount Union?

November 13, 2003 Heading for a Frosty farewell Frosty Westering's retirement has been lost in the fanfare surrounding Gagliardi passing Eddie Robinson to become the all-time winningest college coach. But much like Gagliardi, the eccentric Westering will leave behind a legacy far greater than he imagined when he first got into coaching.

November 6, 2003 Gators' run could carry them through How does a team start 0-3 and make the playoffs? You might well be able to get an answer from Allegheny’s Mark Matlak in a couple of weeks.

October 30, 2003 Time for playoff prognostication to begin Playoff speculating just got a lot more fun. And complicated.

October 23, 2003 No longer a fluke, now officially a surprise When a team pulls off a string of surprises, it’s more than an upset. It changes how we perceive them. Suddenly those gimme games don’t look so easy. Suddenly the guys you liked to see scheduled for homecoming deserve your respect.

October 15, 2003 Jumbled from top to bottom With due apologies to independents from Brockport State to Eastern Oregon and Chapman to Husson, the conference championship chase is one of the great joys of college football. More than halfway through the 2003 season, let’s take a peek at some of the nation’s most exciting conference chases.

October 9, 2003 Losing is never easy, no matter how Every Division III football player knows what it’s like to lose a game, even if the guys at Mount Union have to conjure up memories from their high school days.

October 2, 2003 When winning takes a back seat The field is often the site of a football coach’s greatest triumphs. Don Morel can tell you what it’s like when the field becomes the site of a coach’s worst nightmare. The unpleasant journey that UW-Eau Claire and the family of Justin Greenwood are beginning is one that Morel and the entire community at the University of La Verne have been on for nearly a year.

September 25, 2003 Favorites or darkhorses? Since many teams are beginning or have begun conference play, now seems like a good time to go out on a limb and forecast a couple dozen conference champions.

September 17, 2003 They really do like cheese A weekend stay with D3football.com in America’s Dairyland was first-class, so I thought I’d share with the nation what football is like in Menomonie and Eau Claire.

September 11, 2003 Season off to a fine start One of the best things about following Division III football is that there is almost always a new experience. There’s always a story you haven’t heard, a team you know little about, a place you’ve never been.