AP Top 25: Alabama jumps Cincinnati to No. 2 behind Georgia

Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Alabama jumped Cincinnati to No. 2 behind Georgia in The Associated Press college football poll on Sunday and Oklahoma dropped eight spots to No. 12 after losing for the first time this season.

Georgia is a unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank for the sixth consecutive week and the Southeastern Conference has the top two teams in the poll for the sixth time this season.

Alabama and Georgia were flip-flopped at Nos. 1 and 2 for five weeks in September and early October.

The switch from Cincinnati to Alabama at No. 2 was more about the Bearcats than the Crimson Tide, which closed the gap on UC to four points last week.

Alabama took care of business against overmatched New Mexico State on Saturday. No surprise there.

Cincinnati remained unbeaten after winning at South Florida 45-28 on Friday night. It was the fourth straight week the Bearcats played a team with a losing record and found themselves in a competitive game in the second half. That tipped a few more voters to drop Cincinnati.

Behind the Bearcats, No. 4 Oregon, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 7 Michigan State, No. 8 Michigan and No. 9 Oklahoma State all moved up one spot after Oklahoma tumbled.

The Sooners were No. 4 before being handed their first loss of the season at Baylor on Saturday.

The Bears moved up to No. 11 behind No. 10 Mississippi.

POLL POINTS

Alabama has the longest current streak of top-five appearances in the AP Top 25 at 29. Georgia is second after running its streak to 12 this week.

At third is Cincinnati at seven straight polls. Oklahoma had been next coming into this weekend at five straight, but with that snapped, the next best top-five streak is Oregon with two straight polls.

Alabama holds the all-time record for top-five appearances with 68 from 2015-19.

IN

The three teams entering the rankings this week have all been there earlier in the season.

– No. 21 Arkansas is back after beating LSU. The Razorbacks had a five-week run in the Top 25, reaching as high as No. 8 before three straight losses knocked them out. Three straight wins later, they’re back.

– No. 23 San Diego State returned after winning a crucial Mountain West game against Nevada. The Aztecs had a four-week stint in the rankings but have been out the last two.

– No. 24 Utah was preseason ranked, dropped out after Week 2 of the regular season and has been back and out a couple times. The Utes are back again after winning six of seven.

OUT

– Auburn dropped out after blowing a 28-3 lead against Mississippi State to fall to 6-4.

– Penn State is out for the first time this season after losing to Michigan at home, the Nittany Lions’ fourth loss in the last five games.

– Coastal Carolina is out for the first time this season, snapping a streak of 22 weeks being ranked. The Chanticleers lost for the second time this season with injured quarterback Grayson McCall out of the lineup against Georgia State.

CONFERENCE CALL

SEC – 5 (Nos. 1, 2, 10, 16, 21).

Big Ten – 5 (Nos. 5, 7, 8, 18, 19).

ACC – 3 (Nos. 13, 20, 25).

Big 12 – 3 (Nos. 9, 11, 12).

Pac-12 – 2 (Nos. 4, 24).

American – 2 (Nos. 3, 17).

Conference USA – 1 (No. 15).

Mountain West – 1 (No. 23).

Sun Belt – 1 (No. 22).

Independent – 2 (Nos. 6, 14).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 7 Michigan State at No. 5 Ohio State.

No. 21 Arkansas at No. 2 Alabama.

No. 4 Oregon at No. 24 Utah.

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.