Guess who’s back, baby! That’s right. Football. Football. FOOTBALL! And now that everyone now knows Jon Snow’s true identity, and understands that McGregor would’ve totally handled Mayweather in an MMA bout, this season should be absolutely spectacular.
Let’s do this.
Really, though. How do you top last season’s epic finish? After years of Mount Union and UW-Whitewater duking it out for the top prize, we were treated with a rather unpredictable playoffs in which teams such as St. John’s, Wheaton, Alfred, and John Carroll usurped all expectation; and saw defensive giants Mary Hardin-Baylor and UW-Oshkosh clash in a memorable championship game.
UMHB eventually took the crown, winning 10-7 against the Titans, and have enjoyed the spoils of war all offseason. But can they repeat?
TOP TEAMS TO WATCH IN 2017
After coming just three points shy of winning the D3 title, the Titans return to exact some revenge. I called them my Dark Horse last season, but with QB Brett Kasper, and RB Dylan Hecker returning, along with a majority of the team’s defense, Oshkosh just may be the front runners to win it all.
The Cru enter the season with a few question marks, notably who will start under center now that Blake Jackson is gone. Yeah, yeah, the defense kicked ass last season, but Blake Jackson threw for over 3,200 yards and 35 TDs. That production will be hard to replicate. On the other hand, the squad gets formidable RB Markeith Miller back. The kid ran for 1,483 yards as a sophomore. Who knows what he’s planning for an encore.
Yes, I’m merely listing off the teams that were in the playoff hunt last season, but can you blame me? Chances are, these are the teams that will vie for the crown at season’s end.
For a while in 2016, St. Thomas looked like the best team in D3 football, up until the Titans squeezed off a 34-31 victory in the Quarterfinals.
The Thunder shocked everyone with a solid playoff run last season, and are ready to inflict more pain in 2017. Luckily, the squad returns 35 seniors, and 35 juniors; and now they’re battle tested.
Notably, the team’s defense returns Chase Greenlee, Patrick O’Connell, Luke Sahly and Noah Spielman, among others. Offensively, the team is still searching for the next QB star, and I don’t really expect them to vie for a championship, but Wheaton can at the very least make some noise come playoff time.
2017 CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTION
I’m genuinely curious to see how this season pans out: with the Purple Raiders exacting revenge, UMHB repeating, or the Titans making the big leap.
As of now, I’m going to say UW-Oshkosh, because I love their program and believe Brett Kasper will take a big step forward. Plus, if I’m wrong, none of you will remember this prediction anyway. So, what do I have to lose?