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Welcome to Kickoff!

From the small details to the big picture, you're bound to learn a ton about D-III football in Kickoff 2013. Here are the people who produced it, and our debt of gratitude to the fans who make it worth putting together.

Passing the torch

John Gagliardi and Larry Kehres, college coaching legends, retired this offseason. Their replacements came from within, but as Pacific Lutheran's Scott Westering attests, following a legend isn't easy, even if you worked alongside him for years.

Have the purple powers left the door open?

Mount Union changed coaches and UW-Whitewater is coming off a three-loss season. Does that crack the door to winning a Stagg Bowl open for Mary Hardin-Baylor, Wesley, St. Thomas and others?

Beyond the Top 25: Deeper sleepers

Kickoff predicts all sorts of things, including who we think will make the playoffs, if you look at each conference's prediction. But sleepers always emerge, and Keith McMillan will tell you who they are.

And many more features

With dozens of feature stories, there's much more to Kickoff. Check out the full index, including a look at whether Whitewater will make it back this season.

2013 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 2013: 244 pages previewing 244 teams.

Team-by-team rankings

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 a record 244. Where did your team come in?

Seven-win season leaves Warhawks half empty

Injuries and inexperience conspired to saddle UW-Whitewater with a 7-3 record last year, good for a lot of teams but an off year for one that had been to the seven previous Stagg Bowls. Coach Lance Leipold explains the road map back to "normal."

D-III schools engaging in facilities 'arms race'

Once upon a time, schools competed with each other off the field in recruiting battles by upgrading weight rooms and workout facilities. Now it's video boards and stadiums. We take a look at two schools at different ends of the spectrum.

The facilities race isn't for everyone

At some Division III schools, the reasons for not pursuing the biggest, fanciest football stadium on the block are as different as the institutions themselves.

For hard-of-hearing Boyle, it was always Castleton

Castleton State's Brandon Boyle ended up playing against Gallaudet, not for the Bison, largely because he's been recognized for his skill and not his hearing impairment.

IWU, Gallik recovering from unexpected twist

Illinois Wesleyan's season went south when Rob Gallik injured his knee late in the Wheaton game last year. The Titans have high hopes for this season, and they might rest on Gallik's head as much as his health.

Catching up with: Franklin's Matt Walker

A year ago, Matt Walker received a significant eye injury in practice and went blind in one eye. It was believed he might never play again. But this year he's back and we find out how he's doing.

Linfield looks to eliminate abrupt finishes

Playoff losses to UW-Oshkosh, Wesley and St. Thomas are still fresh in the minds of a team who believes it can win a Stagg Bowl.

Catching up with: Widener's Anthony Davis

The return man and wide receiver extraordinaire talks about Isaac Collins' departure, the best defender he's faced and what it's like to play college football near his hometown.

Following Nate Wara

Nick Olla says nobody knows who he is. But inside the UW-Oshkosh program, there's confidence in the player who's been groomed to take over for quarterback Nate Wara for three seasons.

Catching up with: Simpson's Brad Vogel

Brad Vogel shares the feeling he gets starting a game with a big return, and the feeling the whole Simpson program got from dramatic wins over IIAC rival Wartburg.

Catching up with: Trinity (Texas)'s Tomy Boboy

Trinity (Texas) junior Tomy Boboy had 9.5 sacks in 2012, and although he spent the offseason in France, new defensive responsibilities could lead to an increased sack total.

New coaches take the MIAC lead

St. John's, after John Gagliardi's retirement, was one of several MIAC schools to replace its head coach, adding a dash of intrigue to the race and placing Bethel's Steve Johnson and St. Thomas's Glenn Caruso among the conference elder statesmen.

Catching up with: Johns Hopkins' Armand Jenifer

Tackle Armand Jenifer talks about how he ended up at Johns Hopkins, working as a unit along the offensive line and growing up with the last name Jenifer.

RPI hopes coach No. 5 is the one

After a 22-year stretch of stability under Joe King, RPI is now on its fifth head coach in 21 months, Ralph Isernia. That's given an odd but special bond to players recruited by King and heading into their senior seasons.

Catching up with: Trine's Andrew Webster

Trine's Andrew Webster is a preseason All-American, but in his final season, the guard has his eye on earning the postseason honor, and accomplishing a few more things along the way.

Catching up with: Salisbury's Andre Carter

Playing cornerback comes with awesome highs and embarassing lows. Andre Carter talks about some of the best players he's faced and biggest plays he's made:

Catching up with: Lake Forest's Jordan Cruz

Linebacker Jordan Cruz talks about falling in love (with Lake Forest), his pregame routine and what it feels like to be named captain.

Catching up with: Rhodes' Michael Olushuga

Defensive lineman Michael Olushuga shares thoughts on how college football has lived up to his expectations, what would make this a satisfying season and which sport keeps him active in the offseason.

Lending a hand to rebuild the Jersey Shore

After a hurricane and accompanying floods hit the New Jersey coastline last fall, players from Kean, TCNJ and Rowan contributed time and effort to assist in a giant recovery.

Catching up with: W&L's Connor Hollenbeck

Hollenbeck talks about how the Generals got through last season's coaching change, the bond among linemen and game day in Lexington.

BW's Carbone trades headset for helmet

The Yellow Jackets defensive tackle coped with a season-ending injury by becoming the team's color commentator. Now he's back in camp and back on the field.

Catching up with: Kenyon's Kolin Sullivan

Kenyon linebacker Kolin Sullivan talks about what it was like to win after losing 20 games in a row, playing with a brother and getting a chance to face all the NCAC teams this season.

NEFC split changes New England landscape

New England's 16-team football conference separates along state and private school lines, and in two seasons will provide the MASCAC with an AQ. But not everyone loves the change.

Catching up with: Cal Lutheran's Cameron Deen

Whether the much-traveled transfer quarterback can keep Cal Lutheran on the national map remains to be seen, but the map of where Cameron Deen has been is fairly national already.

Waynesburg turns snub into fuel

After going 9-1 but missing the playoff field in 2012, the Yellow Jackets have done the only thing possible: Poured that emotion into leaving no doubt in 2013.

The Bantams' bountiful backfield

If Trinity is able to reach its goal of going unbeaten in the NESCAC, it'll likely be the three-man running back team of Evan Bunker, Ben Crick and Michael Budness plowing a pathway.

And lastly ... 20 questions

Our Kickoff crew of experts predicts how the season will turn out, from top (the champ) to bottom (the new programs).