College division football is, well, it's different.
Instead of practicing the day before a game. Marietta Coach Joe McDuniel might order a full-scale picnic.
Puget Sound players are motivated by ballads describing the hard work and good times of north-woods lumberjacks.
The roar of passing freight trains causes half a dozen extra time-outs during games at Cornell College.
The recruiting budget at Elizabeth City is $200.
The equipment manager at Norwich is 92 years old.
In his 22 years at Luther, Coach Edsel Schweizer has never dropped a player.
But if college division teams are small, it is a matter of degree, not intensity. Between them; the NCAA and the NAIA preside over 600 "small colleges," providing for championship competition in four different divisions. And curiously, even though major-college football considers playoffs unwieldy, if not unimaginable, all the smalls determine their champions in precisely that fashion. The NCAA Division II and III winners last season were Louisiana Tech (12-1) and Wittenberg (12-0). The NAIA titlists were Abilene Christian (11-1) and Northwestern of Iowa (12-0).
Five teams in particular are expected to play decisive roles in championship competition. Abilene Christian is strong again, even though the Wildcats have lost NAIA total-offense and passing leader Clint Longley. They have not lost Tailback Wilbert Montgomery. Despite missing one game and not starting until the fifth week, Montgomery scored 37 touchdowns last year to break the school's career record in his freshman season. He rushed for 1,181 yards at a gaudy 6.5 yards per carry. Montgomery's technique may be difficult to stop, but it's easy to describe. "I don't really think about where I'm going," he says. "I just try to find the people in the secondary and run away from them."
It will be impossible to duplicate Longley, who guided the Wildcat offense to 38 points and 478 yards per game. But Quarterback Coach Ted Sitton. who nurtured both Longley and former All-America Jim Lindsey, has a competent man in strong-armed Toby York. Though forced to work with a new batch of receivers, York does benefit from a veteran offensive line. Seven defensive returnees are led by Middle Guard Chip Martin. Among the new starters is Tackle Raymond Crosier, a quarterback transfer from SMU.