AP Top 25: Michigan St up to 5; Wake in top 10 for 1st time

Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Michigan State moved up to No. 5 in The Associated Press college football poll and Wake Forest became a top-10 team on Sunday for the first time in school history.

Georgia is a unanimous No. 1 for the fourth straight week in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank. The rest of the top four was unchanged from last week, with Cincinnati at No. 2, Alabama at No. 3 and Oklahoma at No. 4.

Star running back Kenneth Walker and the Spartans jumped three spots by beating Michigan in the weekend’s biggest game. The last time Michigan State broke into the top five was 2015 when the Spartans made the College Football Playoff.

The first CFP selection committee rankings of the season will be released Tuesday night.

In the AP poll, Ohio State slipped a spot to No. 6 despite holding off Penn State and Oregon was No. 7.

No. 8 Notre Dame, Michigan and Wake Forest rounded out the top 10.

POLL POINTS

The Demon Deacons have their best ranking in program history, topping the No. 11 they reached in 1947. Wake Forest had been the only team in a Power Five conference that had never been ranked in the top 10.

The Demon Deacons reached another first on Saturday, improving to 8-0 with a victory against Duke.

IN

– No. 20 Houston is ranked for the first time under coach Dana Holgorsen after handing SMU its first loss of the season. The last time the Cougars were in the Top 25 was 2018.

Houston is the 45th different team to appear in the Top 25 this season.

– No. 24 Louisiana-Lafayette is back in the Top 25 after being in the preseason poll and falling out after losing its opening game.

– No. 25 Fresno State also returned to the rankings after handing San Diego State its first defeat in a crucial Mountain West game.

OUT

– Pittsburgh dropped from No. 17 to out after losing at home to Miami.

– Iowa State is out again after losing at West Virginia. The Cyclones jumped back into the rankings last week, but it turned out to be a brief stay.

– San Diego State fell out after a four-week run.

CONFERENCE CALL

Two Power Five leagues, the Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12, have just one ranked team while two from the Group of Five, the American Athletic Conference (three) and Sun Belt (two), have multiple teams ranked.

SEC – 6 (Nos. 1, 3, 12, 13, 15, 18).

Big Ten – 5 (Nos. 5, 6, 9, 19, 22).

Big 12 – 3 (Nos 4, 11, 14).

American – 3 (Nos. 2, 20, 23).

Sun Belt – 2 (Nos. 21, 24).

Mountain West – 1 (No. 25).

ACC – 1 (No. 10).

C-USA – 1 (No. 16).

Pac-12 – 1 (No. 7).

Independents – 2 (Nos. 8, 17).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 12 Auburn at No. 13 Texas A&M. Third time the Tigers and Aggies have met while both are ranked since A&M joined the SEC in 2011.

Minnesota football players’ discrimination lawsuit dismissed

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by nine former University of Minnesota football players who were accused of sexual assault in 2016 in a case that roiled the school’s football program.

The lawsuit against the school claimed that the players faced emotional distress and financial damage after being falsely accused of being sex offenders. The players, who were identified in the lawsuit as John Does, sought unspecified damages for willful and malicious discrimination.

A woman alleged up to a dozen football players raped her or watched and cheered at an off-campus party in 2016. None of the players were ever charged.

The university found that 10 football players committed sexual misconduct. Five of them were expelled or suspended for violating student conduct codes, and the others were cleared on appeal.

In their lawsuit, the players alleged that the woman initiated the sexual encounters with players and an underage recruit.

U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank dismissed the lawsuit last week, saying the former players did not prove any of their claims, including allegations of bias by university investigators or pressure from Athletic Director Mark Coyle and former President Eric Kaler, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

David Madgett, an attorney for the players, said Tuesday that they are considering an appeal but have to determine if it makes sense financially and in terms of letting the former players get on with their lives. He said it was disappointing that the outcome was determined by the judge’s version of events and not decided by a jury.

“It’s disappointing to see disputes decided in this way,” Madgett said. “That’s the way things are decided more and more these days. … It’s disappointing you don’t get your day in court.”

When the allegations became public in 2016, players threatened to boycott the team’s trip to the Holiday Bowl. But after a graphic report of the investigation was released, the players agreed to play in the game.

University of Minnesota spokesman Jake Ricker said the school appreciated the judge’s decision affirming the actions taken in the case. He said the university would continue its work focusing on sexual misconduct awareness, prevention and response.

Frank dismissed the lawsuit in 2019, but an appeals court reinstated part of it in 2021 and returned it to Frank.

The players, all of whom are Black, also initially claimed racial discrimination, but that claim was previously dismissed.

The only remaining claim alleged Title IX gender discrimination. The former players noted that they never faced criminal charges, but Frank’s ruling said that “is certainly not evidence of a judicial adjudication or that plaintiffs ‘were proven innocent.'”

The men also claimed that an investigator for the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action used “manipulative tactics” with them in interviews and that their accuser helped draft the report. The players also alleged that “prior failed investigations motivated” the the school to punish them.

Frank said all the claims were unsupported by the evidence and “no reasonable jury could find that the University disciplined plaintiffs on the basis of sex.”

Michigan State player who swung helmet gets probation

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A Michigan State football player who swung his helmet at a Michigan player in a stadium tunnel expressed regret Tuesday and said he’s “just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue” on the field.

Khary Crump, a defensive back, was sentenced to probation. He was one of seven Michigan State players charged in a skirmish that followed a loss at Michigan Stadium on Oct. 29.

Crump was the only Spartan facing a felony, but that charge was dismissed in an agreement to plead guilty to misdemeanors. His record will be scrubbed clean if he stays out of trouble while on probation.

“Unfortunately, an exchange of words (took place), I felt attacked and unfortunately I did what I did,” Crump said of the tunnel altercation involving Michigan’s Gemon Green. “I’m not proud of that. I’m looking forward to moving forward.”

Crump was suspended by coach Mel Tucker. In addition, the Big Ten has suspended him for eight games in 2023.

“I had difficulties trying to stomach my actions … on that fateful day, but it happened. I can’t take it back,” Crump told MLive.com after the court hearing. “Honestly, I’m just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue in the future — on the football field, of course.”

At least four other players charged with misdemeanors Will Likely have their cases dismissed in exchange for community service and other conditions. The cases against two others are pending.