Experience, depth and talent.
Seemingly every college football team in the nation has all three, especially division two schools.
Three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) schools in West Michigan fit that mold.
For Davenport it starts at quarterback where Deondre Ford has earned multiple degrees and will get one more season on the gridiron.
"Deondre Ford, he's sitting over here, we call him doc," Panthers head coach Sparky McEwen said with a smile. "He's actually got so many degrees I think it can accumulate to a doctorate degree, so I call him doctor. He is no longer Mr. Ford; he is Dr. Ford around here."
"The last time we played, the last season we played left a bad taste in my mouth," Ford said about why he wanted to come back for one more year. "I want to win a championship. I have not won a championship in my career. Talking to coach Spark, that is something that we talk about. He asked me what I want for this season, I said I want to win a championship."
In Big Rapids, Ferris State has won 23 straight GLIAC games and the last two regular season titles.
This fall the Bulldogs boast six, sixth year offensive lineman with a seventh year running back in Marvin Campbell to tote the pigskin.
"When I first figured out that I would have a seventh year, I wasn't so high on it," Campbell said with a laugh. "Now that I am here and I look back at it, I appreciate everything that happened and I am glad to just have another year and be able to compete for a championship."
"I am looking at some of the twitter that some of these schools are producing and I am like dang they went form pretty mediocre to great all of a sudden in a year off," Ferris State head Tony Annese said. "It is kind of scary on my part how great some people have become so it is going to be a task everyday to try to be at our best."
Teams will have the equivalent of six classes, which is a lot of players competing for 22 starting spots.
Grand Valley State expects the position battles to be fierce.
"Even if you were all-conference and defensive lineman of the year in 2019, that was two years ago, everybody has to earn it in 2021," Lakers head coach Matt Mitchell said. "What I am looking for is a bunch of guys that are hungry to earn it in 2021 and do it together. Not an unhealthy hunger, but really a hunger that is driven towards being the best."
The teams hit the practice field next week and play their first games the first week of September.