AP Top 25: Georgia moves up to No. 2, passing Ohio State

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

Georgia moved up to No. 2 in the first Associated Press college football poll of the regular season, passing Ohio State, after the defending national champions dominated their opener.

Alabama remained No. 1 in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank, receiving 44 of 63 first-place votes from the media panel and 1,552 points.

The Bulldogs narrowed the gap on the Crimson Tide after beating Oregon 49-3. Georgia received 17 first-place votes.

Ohio State slipped to No. 3 and received two first-place votes. Michigan moved up four spots to No. 4.

Clemson dropped a spot to No. 5.

Florida debuted at No. 12 after its thrilling victory at home against Utah. The Utes slipped six spots to No. 13 after the loss.

The rest of the top 10 was Texas A&M at No. 6, followed by Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Baylor and Southern California.

USC is in the top 10 for the first time since the final regular-season poll of 2017, when the Trojans were eighth.

The eighth-ranked Fighting Irish dropped three spots out of the top five after losing 21-10 at Ohio State.

POLL POINTS

Georgia has been ranked No. 1 or 2 in 15 of the last 17 polls, with the other two weeks at No. 3.

Since 2017, Georgia has been ranked No. 2 in the country 13 times and No. 1 nine times, all last season.

From 1981 – the season after Georgia won the national title – to 2016, the Bulldogs were ranked in the top two a total of 10 times.

IN

– Florida’s jump from unranked to No. 12 is the biggest for an unranked team since the first regular-season poll of 2016, when Texas landed at No. 11 and Wisconsin at No. 10 after Week 1 victories.

– No. 24 Tennessee is ranked for the first time under second-year coach Josh Heupel.

OUT

– Oregon’s humbling loss to Georgia sent the Ducks all the way out of the rankings. It’s the first time Oregon has been unranked in a poll for which it was eligible since the last regular-season AP Top 25 of 2020.

– Cincinnati dropped out after losing at Arkansas by a touchdown, its first regular-season loss since late in the 2019 season.

For the Bearcats, who made the College Football Playoff last year, it snapped a run of 45 consecutive poll appearances, which was the fifth-longest active streak in the country.

CONFERENCE CALL

Florida and Tennessee moving into the rankings gives the SEC eight ranked teams, the most for a conference since the SEC had eight three times in 2020.

The record for ranked teams from one conference is 10 by the SEC early in the 2018 season. From 2011-18, the SEC had eight teams ranked in a AP Top 25 a total of 14 times.

SEC – 8 (Nos. 1, 2, 6, 12, 16, 20, 22, 24).

ACC – 5 (Nos. 5, 15, 17, 18, 23).

Big Ten – 4 (Nos. 3, 4, 14, 19).

Big 12 – 3 (Nos. 7, 9, 11).

Pac-12 – 2 (Nos. 10, 13).

Independents – 2 (Nos. 8, 21).

American – 1 (No. 25).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 9 Baylor at No. 21 BYU. Future Big 12 matchup.

No. 20 Kentucky at No. 12 Florida. The first time both will be ranked when they play since 2007.

No. 24 Tennessee at No. 17 Pitt. First SEC/ACC ranked nonconference matchup of the season.

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.