Dynasties Thrive At The Small School Level

When people talk about football dynasties, they are usually talking about teams like Alabama, Nebraska, and Florida. However none of those teams when in their heyday come close to even holding a candle to what two small school colleges in Ohio and Wisconsin have done.

Over the last seven seasons the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has gone 80-5, played in six consecutive Stagg Bowls (National Title Game), and have come away with three of them. They haven’t lost a regular season game since October 25th of 2008 and currently hold a 44 game winning streak including two consecutive National Championships.


If you think that’s impressive then you need to travel to the tiny town of Alliance, OH where for the last 22 years a school known as Mount Union has been showing every team in the country what it means to be a dynasty. They have gone 278-13-1 over the last 22 seasons, won eight National Championships and have played in an unprecedented 14 Stagg Bowls over that same time frame.


Combined these two teams have accounted for a record of 358-18-1, which is a winning percentage of only .946. They have defined the word dynasty, but haven’t done it by putting four to five players into the NFL every year, haven’t done with operational budgets that reach into the millions, and haven’t done it by winning the recruiting wars for next big five star prospect.

How have they done it? Mostly through hard work, and dedication. Keep in mind that Division III teams cannot offer scholarships; they simply can’t afford them. They have to recruit on the simple basis of if you come to our school, work hard, and bust your tail we think you’ll have a shot. In fact at Mount Union they never cut a player. Mount Union’s football roster often has over 200 names on it. Most of those players will never see the field, as they are too small, too slow, or just not cut out for football. Despite all of this these kids just win.

This however is Division III. This is place where dreams really do come true of players walking through that tunnel on Saturday’s in front of the home crowd rooting them on. In recent years more attention has come to these two schools as ESPN has added the Stagg Bowl to their TV lineup. The NFL has even begun take interest in some of their players. That’s why you’ve seen Mount Union alums Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shots get drafted recently and why you’ll see Wisconsin-Whitewater RB Levell Coppage in an NFL camp come next summer.

So that brings us to the same question we’ve been asking ourselves for five straight years now. Will anybody knock off either of these two giants?

The answer is simply no. Both teams are off to 5-0 starts and both have done so in dominating fashion. Neither team is allowing over 10 points per game on average. Both offenses are just chewing through opposing defenses and both teams are averaging over 475 yards of offense per game.

What’s scary about what these teams are doing is the fashion in which they are doing it. Both feature such a balanced look that is very tough to stop and account for. Wisconsin-Whitewater is featuring an attack that is gaining 52% of its yardage on the ground, while Mount Union is actually average 55% of their yardage that way. How anybody can scheme against these two teams is beyond me.

In the end both of these teams are on a collision course for a seventh consecutive meeting come December 16th in Salem, Va. So set your calendars now. If you want to see how football is really meant to be played, if you really want to see and feel greatness, tune in to ESPNU that night, I promise you won’t walk away disappointed.

Matthew Elder writes a once weekly feature on small school college football, which runs every Monday at Crystal Ball Run. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewCElder.

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.