2007 Around the Nation columns
Year in Review: Where we missed
In 2007, the Division III football world not only grew, but grew interconnected. Around the Nation went coast-to-coast and border state-to-border state, along the way meeting fans who best knew each other through message-board monikers, and others who had taken an interest in each other’s teams or were hanging out on their own time, largely without our help.
Year in Review: Standout players, teams
What better way to ring in 2008 than to look at the 2007 football season in another light? Given some time to reflect, now that the Stagg Bowl, as well as the holidays, are history, Around the Nation looks at the individuals and teams that stood out.
In short or long, 2007 was a blast
Perhaps we should have foreseen the exciting finish to 2007, since it was a highlight reel full of surprises from the very start. Long before UW-Whitewater pulled the upset in Salem, during its third consecutive Stagg Bowl matchup against Mount Union, this season was intriguing.
Our playoff picks, surprises, disappointments
Now that we’ve gotten over the initial shock of the bracket shakeup – you know, just when we had the committee completely figured out, they go and do this – let’s take a good, hard look at it.
When a title rides on a rivalry
The very first recruiting letter I’d ever received was from a place in Virginia I’d never heard of, but through the frequency of the mailings I got to follow along a slightly bumpy road on this team’s quest for its conference championship.
Natural bowl, pines and a large crowd
There’s really never a bad time to see a game at what is oft described as the best game-day atmosphere in Division III. And the Johnnies and Tommies went ahead and obliged us with an unexpectedly exciting game to boot.
Surprises, disappointments, turning points
With the four weeks left before the playoffs in mind, I thought I’d try a new tack for the review. Several hundred games into the season, Around the Nation producing a comprehensive review of everything that’s happened so far is wishful thinking. So let’s highlight some things you might have missed, and point out things you ought not to miss during the stretch run.
Everything's bigger, including Homecoming
They say everything’s bigger in Texas. And while the cliché greets visitors on T-shirts before they leave the airport, my recent trip to Abilene, home of McMurry and Hardin-Simmons, served to confirm what Around the Nation has been learning all season. This Division III thing is bigger and more important to people than I ever imagined.
Why D-III's system works best
After a Saturday where the phone rang furiously with updates from La Crosse, Wis. during then-No. 3 UW-Whitewater’s come-from-behind victory against then-No. 6 UW-La Crosse, I arrived home to find a smoldering wreckage of a Top 25.
How we ranked the conferences
Even the most thorough preseason examination of available information only goes so far toward telling us what will really happen, before results begin to trickle in and we invoke the cliché 'That's why they play the games.'
Wild weekend at the Catdome
So this weekend’s trip to Linfield led me to the conclusion that having D3football.com publisher Pat Coleman and I in the house is the Division III equivalent of bringing ESPN’s Game Day crew to town.
At long last, let's play ball
There isn't much else we at D3football.com can say to those of you have been waiting, whether you're parents of a freshman eager for your son's first Division III game, or you're a die-hard who's been salivating since last December (or November, for those who tune out the playoffs) to see your team crack helmets again.