** Mount Union (Ohio) and Wisconsin-Whitewater have met in the national championship game of Division III (the Stagg Bowl) in nine of the last 11 years, and there’s not much reason to think it won’t happen again in 2016. Mount Union will be missing a whopping nine defensive starters from last year, but the Purple Raiders are a lot like Alabama – reload, not rebuild. The same could be said of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
** A possible challenger for a spot in the national title game is 2015’s national runner-up,
St. Thomas of Minnesota, whose star running back Jordan Roberts scored 34 touchdowns to lead all of college football.
** The Tommies’ coach, Glenn Caruso, won the national coach of the year award last year. It was the second time he’s claimed the honor in the past four seasons. Since taking over the job in 2008, he’s averaging just under 11 wins per season.
** Other challengers in Division III incluse Mary Hardin-Baylor and Wesley (Delaware).
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** Northwest Missouri State won the national championship of Division II last season, compiling a glitzy 15-0 record en route. Average margin of victory: 29 points per game.
** Experience on both offense and defense will hopefully be enough to overcome greenness at the all-important quarterback position. Senio Kyle Zimmerman is the likely starter.
** Shepherd (West Virginia) lost the title game last year, and it wasn’t close (34-7, Northwest Missouri State). But the Rams return quarterback Jeff Ziemba, a senior who’s very much in the running for the Harlon Hill Trophy (Division III’s version of the Heisman).
** Other challengers for the Division II title include Ashland (Ohio), Grand Valley State (Michigan), and West Georgia, the latter of which will again benefit from FBS transfers who didn’t want to sit out a year and junior college players.
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Coming soon: A Top 25 composite of the best teams in FCS… and then a more thorough composite for FBS. So, stay tuned!