Obviously we expect teams like YC and NWC to compete immediately in DIV (seeing as they have beaten good DIV teams previously). But of all the new DIV who do you see making the biggest splash, and who are your sleepers?
I'll jump on this. And I'll preface this by saying, as I always do, that I'm partial to Northern Arizona and rural teams.
I'll say Havasu. I'm very surprised they're in D-IV this year. Last year they went 8-3 and lost to eventual champion Centennial in the D-II playoffs. Their other two losses came to Bradshaw Mountain by 8 (a sectional champion in D-III) and River Valley by 5 (the D-IV champion). They went 5-1 on the road last year (the loss being to Centennial), which is important in D-IV, having to go literally hundreds of miles for every away game. Not only will they be the newcomer that makes the biggest splash, but don't be surprised if they make a long run in the playoffs and even make it to the title game.
My sleeper will be Lee Williams. Moving up from D-V and still a fairly new program, they went 7-4 last year and lost to Round Valley in the playoffs. Their other three losses were all to teams with winning records: River Valley, Joy Christian (9-3), and Red Rock (6-4).
Scratch Lee Williams out of the conversation. Their quarterback got injured this offseason and is going to miss a significant amount of the season. Plus their best runningback, cornerback, receiver, and linebacker aren't returning next year so expect a decline.
I think NWC is clearly the team to beat. They bring back a large number of starters and their line is huge and very experienced. Yuma Catholic graduated almost all of their top skill players including the qb, running back and best receivers. I don't think they will be ready to contend for the title this year.