ATN's 2006 conference rankings

What began as an Around the Nation every-other-year tradition became a Kickoff '05 staple. For conference previews in Kickoff '06, Pat Coleman and I reprised our rankings of Division III's conferences, 1-25, excluding a 26th conference, the NESCAC, because of its policy of not playing out-of-conference opponents.

Fifteen conferences remained in the same spot as last year, with only four moving three or more spots in either direction. The comments are new, and are mine.

1. Wisconsin (WIAC): Still the country's toughest top-to-bottom group; Helped by Whitewater's Stagg Bowl run through the West Region.

2. Ohio (OAC): Mount Union, Ohio Northern and Capital lead a powerful top half, but bottom-half Heidelberg hasn't won since October 2003, a span of 26 games.

3. Northwest (NWC): Linfield carries the banner here, but NWC is usually good for a second playoff-worthy team.

4. American Southwest (ASC): Playoffs were a disappointment in '05, but league's top half can play with anyone.

5. Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW): Deep conference might have put a team in Stagg Bowl by now if Mount Union wasn't always in the way.

6. Minnesota (MIAC): St. John's always strong, but league performs well against out-of-conference competition.

7. New Jersey (NJAC): Cortland accompanied Rowan to playoffs last year, and didn't embarrass itself in one-point loss.

8. Middle Atlantic (MAC): Move to East Region has actually coincided with a league-strength swoon, Delaware Valley aside.

9. Empire 8 (E8): Off year for New York power league left it with two fewer playoff participants than Liberty League by round of 16.

10. Liberty (LL): Biggest mover surged nine spots from previous ranking, largely because of '05 playoff performance.

11. Atlantic Central (ACFC): No bum teams, and Wesley's semifinal run keep ACFC high.

12. Iowa (IIAC): Teams beat on each other too much to produce a good playoff run the past few years.

13. USA South (USAC): Primed to make a power move this year.

14. Old Dominion (ODAC): Perennial champ Bridgewater knocked both PAC teams 
from '05 playoffs.

15. Presidents (PAC): Middle teams are improving, and conference no longer just W&J playhouse. Dropped five slots. 

16. Southern (SCAC): DePauw not rising fast enough, Trinity (Texas) still the king. Dropped three spots.

17. North Coast (NCAC): Playoff record is nice, but five teams rank in bottom 100, one in top 65.

18. Southern California (SCIAC): Recent Occidental success brought conference this far.

19. Centennial (CC): Dropped four slots after weak non-conference and playoff follow-up to five-way title tie.

20. Michigan (MIAA): Last lower-half conference to produce a national champion (Albion, 1994), but champions are 0-for-6 in expanded playoff era. 

21. Midwest (MWC): Champion was bounced from postseason 62-3 last season. 

22. Heartland (HCAC): Last playoff win came in 2000; teams were 13-16 non-conference last year.

23. University (UAA): No outstanding — or horrible — teams among foursome.

24. Illini-Badger (IBFC): Teams were 5-20 out-of-conference last season.

25. New England (NEFC): Curry’s performance against Delaware Valley in 2005's first round was step in right direction.

Adam Turer

Adam Turer graduated in 2006 from Washington and Lee University, where he was a two-year starter at free safety. He lives in Cincinnati and covers area high school sports in addition to his full-time job as an attorney. Adam has contributed to D3football.com since 2007 and is in his first season writing Around the Nation after spending four seasons writing Around the Mid-Atlantic.

2014-2015 columnist: Ryan Tipps.
2001-2013 columnist: Keith McMillan.

Previous Columns

December 20, 2016
Year in review: The year everything changed
We had a brand-new Division III national champion for the first time since 2007. Mount Union lost a...
November 17, 2016
Playoff picks, surprises, disappointments
Around the Nation has assembled a team of prognosticators for an annual look at who might surprise...
November 13, 2016
Snap Judgments: Hellos and goodbyes
Today is going to be bittersweet for many. We take a look at the teams that announced their arrival...
November 10, 2016
Out of the darkness, light
Sometimes, things don’t go your way. Sometimes, your highest expectations are crushed by...
November 6, 2016
Snap Judgments: Merry Clinchmas
The playoff field is nearly halfway set. Twelve teams are in, which means there are several teams...
November 2, 2016
Heart of the Heartland
Melissa Johnson has spent more than three years battling pancreatitis and complications from...
October 30, 2016
Snap Judgments: Don't forget about us
When one team dominates a conference, it's easy to forget about the second place team. JCU,...
October 27, 2016
September's stumblers now rolling
Some of September's most disappointing teams have been able to reverse their fortunes. Heading into...
October 23, 2016
Snap Judgments: Controlling your own destiny
With three weeks of regular season play remaining, 16 playoff contenders remain undefeated. For fans...
October 20, 2016
Handling the political football
A summer on Capitol Hill, an internship at a national convention, or a spring abroad at an embassy...
October 16, 2016
Snap Judgments: Don't sleep
Week 7 had wire-to-wire excitement. We can't wait to see what Week 8 brings. After over 12 hours of...
October 13, 2016
Remembering a fallen brother
At Wittenberg, or Lake Forest, a helmet sticker hardly suffices to counteract the emotion of losing...
October 9, 2016
Snap judgments: Are we having fun yet?
Saturday was thrilling. Week 6 had several exciting finishes that will be remembered for a long...
October 6, 2016
Finding a home in purple
With the returning offensive player of the year, St. Thomas might not have been a place a running...
October 2, 2016
Snap judgments: What do we know?
Conference play is in full swing. Some results created clear separation, while others caused more...
September 29, 2016
Re-ranking the conferences for 2016
It’s not easy to compare conferences. Some are no-brainers. Guess what? The WIAC, with three...
September 25, 2016
Snap Judgments: Survival Saturday
Saturday showed that Top 25 teams are far from infallible. Seven teams had to eke out single-digit...
September 22, 2016
Ohana means family
Eventually, the final score will be forgotten. Certain plays will fade away. But the experience that...
September 18, 2016
Snap judgments: A humbling Week 3
Saturday featured multiple marquee matchups of ranked teams taking to the road. There were long...
September 15, 2016
The playcaller and the playwright
A theatre professor spent two seasons behind the scenes with the UW-Oshkosh coaching staff and...
September 11, 2016
Snap judgments: Time to dig deep
No team expects to open the season 0-2. Conference play will afford these teams the opportunity to...
September 7, 2016
Fuentes walks off, a decade later
Julio Fuentes was paralyzed in the opening game of his sophomore season for Alfred. Ten years later,...
September 4, 2016
Snap judgments: The excitement is back
Week 1 had it all. Impressive debuts from coaches and players, thrilling comebacks, and Top 25...
September 1, 2016
Football is here: Get fired up!
New Around the Nation columnist Adam Turer introduces himself to the national audience, introduces a...
 • More Division III football news releases

Other Columnists