AP Top 25: Washington moves in; Penn State, Oregon move up

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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Washington made its season debut in the AP Top 25 poll at No. 18, and Penn State and Oregon moved into the top 15 after all three had decisive nonconference victories.

A weekend filled with blowouts by highly ranked teams kept the top 10 almost unchanged.

No. 1 Georgia picked up six more first-place votes in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank. The Bulldogs are up to 59 first-place votes and 1,569 points.

No. 2 Alabama received three first-place votes and No. 3 Ohio State got one.

No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Clemson, No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 7 Southern California all held their spots. The one change in the top 10 was No. 8 Kentucky flip-flopping with No. 9 Oklahoma State. Arkansas stayed at No. 10.

The top 10 teams, most playing overmatched nonconference opponents, won their games Saturday by a combined 521-120.

The shuffling came in the next 10.

No. 11 Tennessee moved up four spots. Penn State jumped eight to No. 14 after routing Auburn on the road. No. 15 Oregon moved up 10 spots after handily defeating BYU, which slipped seven places to No. 19.

Washington beat previously ranked Michigan State 39-28 to earn a ranking for the first time since the 2021 preseason poll. Washington has had two brief stays in the AP Top 25 the last two seasons but has been mostly unranked since the early part of the 2019 season.

“To get this win now is just going to continue to put this belief in our guys. It’s only going to get better for us as we go to work in practice,” first-year Washington coach Kalen DeBoer told reporters after the game.

Michigan State dropped all the way out after being No. 11.

Mississippi moved up four spots to No. 16 and No. 20 Florida slipped a couple of spots after barely getting by South Florida at home.

At the bottom of the rankings, Miami dropped 12 spots and landed at No. 25 after losing at Texas A&M. The Aggies went up one to No. 23.

POLL POINTS

The 10-0 weekend from the top 10 was the first since they all played and won in Week 2 of the 2019 season.

Overall, the AP Top 25 teams won 22 games, the most since 24 teams won in Week 1 of 2019.

– Washington’s leap into the poll from unranked to No. 18 was the best for the program since September 1989, when the Huskies beat Texas A&M and went from outside the rankings to No. 15.

CONFERENCE CALL

The Pac-12 has its most ranked teams since the first regular-season poll of 2021, when it had five.

SEC – 8 (Nos. 1, 2, 8, 10, 11, 16, 20, 23).

ACC – 5 (Nos. 5, 12, 21, 24, 25).

Big 12 – 4 (Nos. 6, 9, 17, 22).

Pac-12 – 4 (Nos. 7, 13, 15, 18).

Big Ten – 3 (Nos. 3, 4, 14).

Independents – 1 (No. 19).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 5 Clemson at No. 21 Wake Forest. For the first time since 1950, the Tigers and Demon Deacons will meet as ranked teams.

No. 20 Florida at No. 11 Tennessee. For the first time since 2017, the teams that used to own the SEC East are both ranked when they play.

No. 10 Arkansas vs. No. 23 Texas A&M at Arlington, Texas. It’s not getting any easier for the Aggies.

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.