By David McCoy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The College Football Playoffs begin Monday, though there was some controversy about who got in this year.

Alabama? Ohio State?

In the end, it ended up being Alabama, but there’s a compelling case that the committee got it completely wrong. If you just follow logic, it’s clear the team that should’ve gotten in was Division 3 Martin Luther College of Minnesota.

It’s a big year at the tiny school of 750 undergrads in New Ulm. It’s the 500th anniversary of their namesake’s launch of the Reformation. There was a month-long celebration on campus.

But even a half-millennium of history had a hard time competing with what the football team could claim.

It was a tweet from a user named Dan Weiner posted during the heat of the college football playoff debate that laid out the case that not only was D-3 Martin Luther better than Alabama this past season, but Clemson too.

“We call it the transitive property. Sometimes we talk about that with our coaching staff. Well, you know, this team beat that team, maybe this team is better than that team, and they haven’t even played yet,” Martin Luther football coach Mark Stein said. “You know as well as I do, in college sports, you gotta go out there and play the game.”

Martin Luther College is a school that specializes in preparing people for the ministry, training pastors, teachers and staff for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church. That’s the recruiting pool from which their drawing.

“It’s unique. I mean, there aren’t many single-focused institutions anymore,” Clemson said.

Stein says it would be interesting to see his team lining up next to Clemson, but he admits that Martin Luther would lose.

“They’re two totally different programs,” he said. “We’re just looking to be competitive in Division 3 football.”

Still, amid the craziness of college football match-ups, Martin Luther looks strong on paper.


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