PREDICTED FINISH

1. Campolindo

2. Miramonte

3. Acalanes

4. Dublin

5. Alhambra

6. Las Lomas

7. Dougherty Valley

Campolindo will try to make it three championships in a row in what should again be one of the East Bay's most balanced leagues from top to bottom.

The Cougars are loaded at the skill positions, though they'll have to start off the season without returning QB Andrew Zolintakis, who has a stress fracture in his throwing arm.

While the Cougars are the preseason favorites, there are challengers capable of dethroning the two-time defending champs.

Miramonte, which finished second the past two years, is led by big-armed QB Drew Anderson. Dublin, Alhambra and Dougherty Valley also return their starting signal-callers.

Acalanes fared well last year when coach Mike Ivankovich overhauled the offense and defense. With Peter Mitchell returning at running back, the Dons could be primed for another solid year.

Dublin has made big strides under third-year coach John Wade, though the Gaels graduated a talented senior class.

Mike Downing is the league's newest coach, taking over at Las Lomas for Doug Longero.

Here's a closer look at the league:

Acalanes

COACH: Mike Ivankovich, fifth season

2012 RECORD: 7-4, 3-3 DFAL

TOP RETURNEES: RB/LB Peter Mitchell, Sr.; WR/QB/S Robbie Stern, Sr.; WR/LB John Lauth, Sr.; WR/DB Andrew Bosshart, Sr.; RB/LB Grant Henderson, Sr.; OL/DL Alexander Harper, Sr.; C Drew Rule, Sr.; TE/DL Ben Kim, Sr.; RB/LB Tommy Kresnak, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: QB Casey Harrington, Jr.; OL/DL Brady Aiello, Jr.; RB/LB Jared Finney, Jr.

KEY LOSSES: DL Gabe Newman, RB Deshawn Johnson, OL/LB Kevin Camporeale, RB/LB Aaron Edwards, WR/DB Tyler Supple

OUTLOOK: The Dons saw improvement last season after undergoing major changes to the offense and defense. Casey Harrington takes over at QB and is a threat to make plays with his arm and legs. The wide receiver corps have improved and the return of Peter Mitchell keeps the running game solid. "We should score more points this year," Ivankovich said. The biggest holes to fill are on the defensive line.

Alhambra

COACH: Alan Hern, fourth season

2012 RECORD: 3-7, 2-4 DFAL

TOP RETURNERS: QB Josh Evans, Jr.; RB Ciazonne Foster, Jr.; C/LB Matt Brady, Sr.; OL Hugo Paredes, Sr.; G/LB Max Licht, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: TE/LB Josh Abraham, So.; NT Jarrett Blagg, Sr.; RB/S James Gonsalves, Jr.; RB/FS Chris Young, Jr.; WR/LB Greg Rossi, Jr.

KEY LOSSES: RB Taylor Poyadue, TE/LB Ethan Little, OL/DL Miguel Lara, LB Julian Archuleta

OUTLOOK: Hern has simplified the playbook and altered the tempo and structure of practices, hoping those changes lead to better execution on the field and more victories. The Bulldogs have also made defense a bigger focus. QB Josh Evans returns to lead the offense but the graduation of RB Taylor Poyadue and lineman Miguel Lara are big holes to fill.

Campolindo

COACH: Kevin Macy, 18th season

2012 RECORD: 10-2, 6-0 DFAL

TOP RETURNEES: QB Andrew Zolintakis, Sr.; WR/DB/P Justin Dunn, Sr.; LB/WR Isaac Christian, Sr.; DL Peter Golesorkhi, Sr.; OL Daniel Samaniego, Sr.; DB Kevin Lehman, Sr.; WR Phillip Rei, Sr.; TE Tyler Petite, Jr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: QB/DE Jack Stephens, Jr.; FB/LB Adam Remotto, Jr.; RB/DB Nick Fadelli, Jr.; OL/DL Sterling Strother, So.

KEY LOSSES: QB Brett Stephens, WR/DB Mason Windatt, OL/DL C.J. Toohey, OL Greg Wiessler, DB Tyler Luckhurst, RB Nicky Aikawa

OUTLOOK: The Cougars have won the last two DFAL championships, going unbeaten in league play both years. They'll be the favorite again with a strong group of receivers and an improved backfield that features promising newcomers Nick Fadelli and Adam Remotto. QB Andrew Zolintakis has a stress fracture in his throwing arm, but should be healthy in time for DFAL play, if not sooner. The defense is less proven with Isaac Christian and Peter Golesorkhi the only returning starters. The offensive line will also be young. Campolindo's seniors have not lost a DFAL game at any level of high school football.

Dougherty Valley

COACH: Nick Tisa, second season

2012 RECORD: 0-10, 0-6 DFAL

TOP RETURNEES: FB Afalobi Adeoti, Sr.; QB Umar Farooq, Sr.; OL/DL Kieffer Longson, Jr.; LB Austin Schmidit-Wood, Sr.; OL/DL Devin Spivey, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: RB/DB Julian Williams, Sr.; FB/LB Spencer Grenley, Jr.; DB/RB Michael Pangelinan, Jr.; LB/FB David Prendez, Jr.

KEY LOSSES: FB/LB Austin Larkin

OUTLOOK: The 2012 season was full of learning experiences for the Wildcats, who had very few seniors on the team. Now, with 15 starters back and a larger roster, improvement is expected. The players are better accustomed to the Wing-T offense that Tisa installed and he says the seniors are intent on being known as the class that turned the program around.

Dublin

COACH: John Wade, third season

2012 RECORD: 6-6, 3-3 DFAL

TOP RETURNEES: QB Josh Nobida, Jr.; WR Jabari Jefferson, Jr.; RB/LB Daryl Millinder, Jr.; RB/LB Dillon Forshey, Jr.; WR/DB Jacob Pluta, Sr.; WR/DB Tai Ahmad, Sr.; LB/WR Michael Shaner, Sr.; DB/WR Jalen Lockett, Sr.; RB/DB EJ Crosse, Sr.; DL Jackson Case, Jr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: WR/LB Michael Balesteri, Jr.; WR/LB AJ Cammisa, Jr.; DB Maxwell Egbujor, Jr.; OL/DL Grant Matta, Jr.; OL/DL Matt Lee, Jr.; OL/DL Ryan Elazegui, Jr.; OL/DL Alex Zavala, , Jr.

KEY LOSSES: RB Ondre Rudolph, OL/DL Alex Cappa, OL/DL Spencer Hollie, UTL Josh Yu, LB Jimmy Rojas, LB Dennis Barber

OUTLOOK: The Gaels will switch back to their more traditional spread offense after featuring RB Ondre Rudolph last season. QB Josh Nobida has spent the summer attending camps sharpening his skills. RB Daryl Millinder is an overpowering runner. Gaels have a nice mix on offense and figure to challenge for a spot in the top three.

Las Lomas

COACH: Mike Downing, first season

2012 RECORD: 5-7, 3-3 DFAL

TOP RETURNEES: WR/DB Cole Gravitt, Sr.; LB/FB Greyson Bromstad, Sr.; QB/DE Ben Wood, Jr.; RB/DB Zack Fulks, Jr.; C Max Nevis, Sr.; OL Conner Nelson, Sr.; WR/DB Johnny Marinchak, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: OL/LB Willie Amen, Jr.; DL/OL Aviv Elor, Jr.; DE/TE Greg Corbin, Sr.; OL/DL Noah Meyers, Jr.; RB/DB Jack Kane, So.

KEY LOSSES: QB/LB Adam Wood, QB Jackson Miller, TE Brayton Milner, WR/DB Robby Ow, OL/LB Tyler Deitrick, OL/DL Derrick Stom, RB/LB Nick Abramson.

OUTLOOK: Downing takes over for Doug Longero, who stepped down after guiding the Knights for 14 years and making them into a perennial contender in the DFAL and NCS. A former player at Las Lomas, Downing has spent the last nine seasons on the Knights' coaching staff. He inherits a young squad that graduated 15 starters. Ben Wood takes over the QB spot from his older brother and will continue to play defensive end, as well. Cole Gravitt and Greyson Bromstad are both returning two-way starters.

Miramonte

COACH: Jack Schram, third season

2012 RECORD: 7-5, 4-2 DFAL

TOP RETURNEES: QB Drew Anderson, Sr.; OL/LB Bennet Stehr, Sr.; LB Jonathan McDonald, Sr.; WR/RB/DB Ray Clark, Sr.; WR Dominic Paoletti, Sr.; WR Will Fuller, Sr.

TOP NEWCOMERS: WR/FS Ryan Anderson, So., WR/LB Clayton Stehr, So.

KEY LOSSES: UTL Marshall Deutz, WR Zati Williams, OL Evan Epstein, LB Conor Bruen, K/P Jamie Howells

OUTLOOK: The Matadors' passing attack looks potent with QB Drew Anderson and WRs Dominic Paoletti and Will Fuller returning. The running game may also get a boost with Ray Clark in the fold. The offensive line is a bigger worry with Bennet Stehr the only returner. The defense is also young, but LB Jonathan McDonald should provide hard hits and leadership. Miramonte gets tested right away by facing Division III state bowl representative Marin Catholic-Kentfield in its season opener.