AP Top 25: Cincinnati holds on to No. 2 as Tide closes in

Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK
2 Comments

Cincinnati held on to the No. 2 ranking by just four points over No. 3 Alabama in The Associated Press college football poll Sunday, and Oregon passed Ohio State to move up to No. 5.

Georgia is a unanimous No. 1 for the fifth straight week in the Top 25 presented by Regions Bank. The teams closest to the Bulldogs are more tightly packed after another weekend of upsets and close calls.

The Bearcats received 1,440 points from the media panel after beating Tulsa 28-20, and the Crimson Tide had 1,336 following a 20-14 victory against LSU.

Cincinnati has been ranked No. 2, best in school history, for four straight weeks.

Oklahoma, which had an open date this past weekend, stayed at No. 4.

Oregon moved up two spots to No. 5 after beating Washington 26-16. The Ducks jumped Ohio State at No. 6, taking advantage of Michigan State’s first loss of the season.

The Buckeyes won 26-17 at Nebraska. The Ducks were as high as No. 3 in the country early in the season after beating Ohio State in Week 2, but had slipped behind the Buckeyes while taking a loss.

Notre Dame moved up a spot to No. 7, and the Spartans slipped three to No. 8 after losing at Purdue.

The Boilermakers remained unranked after their second upset of a team ranked in the top five at the time. Purdue was first among other teams receiving votes Sunday.

Michigan stayed at No. 9 and Oklahoma State moved up one to No. 10.

Wake Forest’s first appearance in the top 10 lasted a week. The Demon Deacons lost for the first time this season Saturday, falling at North Carolina.

POLL POINTS

Seven more ranked teams lost this past weekend, upping the total to 68 on the season, including 42 to unranked teams.

The number of ranked teams to lose to unranked teams is the most through 10 weeks of a college football season, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

IN

The three teams to move into the Top 25 this week have all been there before.

-No. 20 Wisconsin is back in the rankings after more than a month out. The Badgers have won five straight games since a 1-3 start.

-No. 21 North Carolina State returned to the Top 25 after its second straight victory. The Wolfpack had a three-week run in the rankings in October.

-No. 25 Pittsburgh moved back in after a loss knocked the Panthers out for a week.

OUT

-Kentucky lost for the third straight week to fall out of the rankings after a five-week run in the Top 25.

-SMU’s second straight loss cost the Mustangs their ranking after four weeks in the Top 25.

-Fresno State is out again, a week after it jumped back in at No. 25. The Bulldogs lost at home to Boise State.

CONFERENCE CALL

Big Ten – 6 (No. 6, 8, 9, 19, 20, 23).

SEC – 5 (Nos. 1, 3, 11, 12, 16).

ACC – 3 (Nos. 13, 21, 25).

Big 12 – 3 (Nos. 4, 10, 18).

American – 2 (Nos. 2, 17).

Sun Belt – 2 ((Nos. 22, 24).

Conference USA – 1 (No. 15).

Pac-12 – 1 (No. 5).

Independent – 2 (Nos. 7, 14).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 4 Oklahoma at No. 18 Baylor. Eighth time the Sooners and Bears will be a matchup of ranked teams, all since 2011. Sooners are 4-3 in the first seven.

No. 9 Michigan at No. 23 Penn State. Fourth time in the last five years the Big Ten East foes will both be ranked when they play.

No. 11 Texas A&M at No. 12 Mississippi. Third meeting when both are ranked. Rebels have won the first two.

No. 21 North Carolina State at No. 13 Wake Forest. The Wolfpack and Deacs have played 113 games and just one in which both teams were ranked. N.C. State won it big in 1992.

Minnesota football players’ discrimination lawsuit dismissed

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

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
1 Comment

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.