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AP Top 25 Reality Check: Record churn in rankings … again

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AP Top 25 Reality Check: Record churn in rankings … again

For the second straight year, there was a record number of teams that started the season ranked in the AP Top 25 and finished it unranked.

The final Associated Press college football poll presented by Regions Bank was released early Tuesday and back-to-back champ Georgia was a unanimous No. 1, of course. TCU followed at No. 2, even after a record-setting beatdown at the hands of the Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff national title game Monday night.

Michigan, Ohio State and Alabama rounded out the top five.

Missing from the final rankings were Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Miami and 12 other teams that were in the preseason poll back in August. That 15-team turnover from the first to final poll is one more than there was in the 2021 season, which had been the most in the poll’s 86-year history.

Two seasons doesn’t necessarily represent a trend, but maybe it’s getting harder to project who will be good in any given season.

Half of the final top 10 — TCU, No. 6 Tennessee, No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 Washington and No. 9 Tulane — started the season unranked.

Maybe it’s all the transfers? Maybe it’s the super seniors who have taken advantage of the extra season of eligibility the NCAA allowed for those who played in the pandemic? Maybe it’s the myriad coaching changes? Maybe it’s more freshman arriving ready to contribute?

Whatever the reasons, when looking toward next season for the teams that finished ranked this season, assume that many, if not most, are due for some regression. (Note: Going and staying, in some cases, is subject to change):

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No. 1 Georgia (15-0)

Going: QB Stetson Bennett; DT Jalen Carter; RB Kenny McIntosh.

Staying: TE Brock Bowers, S Malaki Starks; LB Jamon Johnson-Dumas.

Reality check: The Bulldogs started this season ranked third under the assumption there would be a little regression. That won’t happen next season. They’ll be No. 1.

No. 2 TCU (13-2)

Going: QB Max Duggan; WR Quentin Johnston; CB Tre Hodges-Tomlinson.

Staying: NT Damonic Williams; S Bud Clark; WR Jordan Hudson.

Reality check: The Horned Frogs are looking at substantial losses in the depth chart. They might not start next season in the top 10.

No. 3 Michigan (13-1)

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Going: DE Mike Morris; CB D.J. Turner; TE Blake Schoonmaker.

Staying: QB J.J. McCarthy; RB Donovan Edwards; RB Blake Corum.

Reality check: No reason the Wolverines won’t start next season around the top five whether Jim Harbaugh’s the head coach or not.

No. 4 Ohio State (11-2)

Going: QB C.J. Stroud; OT Paris Johnson Jr.; DE Zach Harrison.

Staying: WR Marvin Harrison; RB TreVeyon Henderson; DE J.T. Tuimoloau.

Reality check: Breaking in a new quarterback will cost the Buckeyes a few spots in the preseason rankings. Still, might be top five.

No. 5 Alabama (11-2)

Going: QB Bryce Young; OLB Will Anderson, Jr.; RB Jahmyr Gibbs.

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Staying: LB Dallas Turner; CB Kool-Aid McKinstry; OT JC Latham.

Reality check: The Tide’s lowest preseason ranking since 2010 is No. 3 in 2015 and 2020. Alabama won national titles those seasons.

No. 6 Tennessee (11-2)

Going: QB Hendon Hooker; WR Jalin Hyatt; OT Darnell Wright.

Staying: QB Joe Milton; WR Bru McCoy; DB Tamarion McDonald.

Reality check: The Vols’ breakout season was fueled by upperclassmen. They will start next season significantly lower than they finished this one.

No. 7 Penn State (11-2)

Going: CB Joey Porter Jr.; WR Parker Washington; QB Sean Clifford.

Staying: RBs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen; LB Abdul Carter; QB Drew Allar.

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Reality check: The Nittany Lions, with a load of high-caliber sophomores, will be a trendy pick to win the Big Ten and maybe even a top-five team in the preseason.

No. 8 Washington (11-2)

Going: RB Wayne Taulapapa; OG Jaxson Kirkland; LB Cam Bright.

Staying: QB Michael Penix Jr.; WR Jalen McMillan; DE Bralen Trice.

Reality check: The Huskies made a huge jump in 2022 and grabbed their first final top 10 ranking since 2016. They will likely start around this same spot next year.

No. 9 Tulane (12-2)

Going: RB Tyjae Spears; LB Dorian Williams; WR Shae Wyatt.

Staying: QB Michael Pratt; WR Jha’Quan Jackson; DL Darius Hodges.

Reality check: It’s hard to follow a dream season, but the return of Pratt means the Green Wave could start next season ranked.

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No. 10 Utah (10-4)

Going: CB Clark Phillips III; TE Dalton Kincaid; LB Mohamoud Diabate.

Staying: QB Cam Rising; TE Brent Kuithe; DB Sione Vaki.

Reality check: How Rising’s knee injury heals could determine whether the Utes are a preseason top-10 team.

No. 11 Florida State (10-3)

Going: S Jammie Robinson; OH Dillan Gibbons; WR Ontaria Wilson.

Staying: QB Jordan Travis; DE Jared Verse; RB Trey Benson.

Reality check: The Seminoles turned a corner in the third season under coach Mike Norvell and are bringing just about everybody back in 2023 for what should be a top-10 start.

No. 12 USC (11-3)

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Going: DE Tuli Tuipolotu; RB Travis Dye; WR Jordan Addison.

Staying: QB Caleb Williams; WR Mario Williams; S Calen Bullock.

Reality check: The Heisman Trophy winner returning probably means a preseason top-10ish ranking for the Trojans. That might be a overly optimistic without significant defensive improvement.

No. 13 Clemson (11-3)

Going: DE Myles Murphy; DT Bryan Bresee; DE KJ Henry.

Staying; RB Will Shipley; QB Cade Klubnik; DT Ruke Orhorhoro.

Reality check: The Tigers got a benefit-of-the-doubt, top-five preseason ranking this season. They might not even be the highest-ranked ACC team going into 2023.

No. 14 Kansas State (10-4)

Going: RB Deuce Vaughn; WR Malik Knowles; DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah.

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Staying: QB Will Howard; TE Ben Sinnott; DE Brendan Mott.

Reality check: The defending Big 12 champions will earn a preseason ranking, likely in the teens, but beware: Both of the 2021 Big 12 championship game participants (Baylor and Oklahoma State) began 2022 ranked and finished it unranked. It’s a weird conference.

No. 15 Oregon

Going: DE DJ Johnson; CB Christian Gonzalez; C Alex Forsyth.

Staying: QB Bo Nix; RB Bucky Irving; WR Troy Franklin.

Reality check: The Ducks have been ranked 11, 11, 9 and 11 in the last four preseason polls. They will probably be a little lower than that in 2023.

No. 16 LSU (10-4)

Going: WR Kayshon Boutte; DE Ali Gaye; S Greg Brooks.

Staying: QB Jayden Daniels; WR Malik Nabors; LB Harold Perkins Jr.

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Reality check: Brian Kelly’s first season was a success. There will be real expectations and a preseason ranking for the Tigers in 2023.

No. 17 Oregon State (10-3)

Going: TE Luke Musgrave; LB/FB Jack Colletto; CB Rezjohn Wright.

Staying: RB Damien Martinez; DL Sione Lolohea; WR Anthony Gould.

Reality check: With the addition of former Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei, the Beavers should be in line for their first preseason ranking since 2013.

No. 18 Notre Dame (9-4)

Going: TE Michael Mayer; DE Isaiah Foskey; S Brandon Joseph.

Staying: CB Benjamin Morrison; OT Joe Alt; RB Audric Estime.

Reality check: Former Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman comes to South Bend to boost the passing game and Notre Dame’s preseason ranking to be fringe top 10.

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No. 19 Troy (12-2)

Going: WR RaJae Johnson; ILB Carlton Martial; DT Wil Choloh.

Staying: QB Gunnar Watson; RB Kimani Vidal; DE T.J. Jackson.

Reality check: First-year coach Jon Sumrall directed one of the best seasons in school history and enough of the roster is returning to warrant consideration for a preseason ranking.

No. 20 Mississippi State (9-4)

Going: LB Tyrus Wheat; WR Rara Thomas; CB Emmanuel Forbes.

Staying: QB Will Rogers; WR Rufus Harvey; CB Decamerion Richardson.

Reality check: A new era begins with coach Zach Arnett taking over for the late Mike Leach. Arnett’s first season looks like a rebuilding one that will start unranked.

No. 21 UCLA (9-4)

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Going: QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson; RB Zach Charbonnet; WR Jake Bobo.

Staying: RB T.J. Harden; OT Garrett DiGiorgio; DT Jay Toia.

Reality check: The Bruins will be breaking in a new quarterback — maybe five-star freshman Dante Moore — and the rest of the offense is also inexperienced. Borderline preseason Top 25.

No. 22 Pittsburgh (9-4)

Going: DT Calijah Kancey; RB Israel Abanikanda; LB SirVocea Dennis.

Staying: RB Rodney Hammond Jr.; S Brandon Hill; TE Gavin Bartholomew.

Reality check: Been a nice two-year run for the Panthers, but a major overhaul is coming on defense and another new quarterback in Boston College transfer Phil Jurkovec. Pitt probably starts unranked.

No. 23 South Carolina (8-5)

Going: RB MarShawn Lloyd; DE Jordan Burch; CB Cam Smith.

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Staying: WR Antwane Wells Jr.; QB Spencer Rattler; S Nick Emmanwori.

Reality check: The Gamecocks had some huge wins in 2022, but between some early draft entrants and players entering the portal, they don’t necessarily look like a lock to enter 2023 ranked.

No. 24 Fresno State (10-4)

Going: QB Jake Haener; DE David Perales; WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper.

Staying: OT Jacob Spomer; DB Morice Norris; DB Cam Lockridge.

Reality check: Replacing Haener and other leaders of an effective offense will likely give voters pause about the Bulldogs heading into next season.

No. 25 Texas (8-5)

Going: RB Bijan Robinson; LB DeMarvion Overshown; DT Keondre Coburn.

Staying: QB Quinn Ewers; WR Jordan Whittington; LB Jaylan Ford.

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Reality check: Barley ranked to finish this season and losing their best player is not a formula for getting ranked in the following preseason.


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Israel hails ‘success’ after blocking unprecedented attack from Iran

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Israel hails ‘success’ after blocking unprecedented attack from Iran

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israeli leaders on Sunday credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct Iranian attack involving hundreds of drones and missiles, calling the coordinated response a starting point for a “strategic alliance” of regional opposition to Tehran.

But Israel’s War Cabinet met without making a decision on next steps, an official said, as a nervous world waited for any sign of further escalation of the former shadow war.

The military coalition, led by the United States, Britain and France and appearing to include a number of Middle Eastern countries, gave Israel support at a time when it finds itself isolated over its war against Hamas in Gaza. The coalition also could serve as a model for regional relations when that war ends.

“This was the first time that such a coalition worked together against the threat of Iran and its proxies in the Middle East,” said the Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

One unknown is which of Israel’s neighbors participated in the shooting down of the vast majority of about 350 drones and missiles Iran launched. Israeli military officials and a key War Cabinet member noted additional “partners” without naming them. When pressed, White House national security spokesman John Kirby would not name them either.

But one appeared to be Jordan, which described its action as self-defense.

“There was an assessment that there was a real danger of Iranian marches and missiles falling on Jordan, and the armed forces dealt with this danger. And if this danger came from Israel, Jordan would take the same action,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said in an interview on Al-Mamlaka state television. U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah on Sunday.

The U.S. has long tried to forge a regionwide alliance against Iran as a way of integrating Israel and boosting ties with the Arab world. The effort has included the 2020 Abraham Accords, which established diplomatic relations between Israel and four Arab countries, and having Israel in the U.S. military’s Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East and works closely with the armies of moderate Arab states.

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The U.S. had been working to establish full relations between Israel and regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack sparked Israel’s war in Gaza. The war, which has claimed over 33,700 Palestinian lives, has frozen those efforts due to widespread outrage across the Arab world. But it appears that some behind-the-scenes cooperation has continued, and the White House has held out hopes of forging Israel-Saudi ties as part of a postwar plan.

Just ahead of Iran’s attack, the commander of CENTCOM, Gen. Erik Kurilla, visited Israel to map out a strategy.

Israel’s military chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, on Sunday thanked CENTCOM for the joint defensive effort. Both Jordan and Saudi Arabia are under the CENTCOM umbrella. While neither acknowledged involvement in intercepting Iran’s launches, the Israeli military released a map showing missiles traveling through the airspace of both nations.

“Arab countries came to the aid of Israel in stopping the attack because they understand that regional organizing is required against Iran, otherwise they will be next in line,” Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israel’s military intelligence, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said he had spoken with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and that the cooperation “highlighted the opportunity to establish an international coalition and strategic alliance to counter the threat posed by Iran.”

The White House signaled that it hopes to build on the partnerships and urged Israel to think twice before striking Iran. U.S. officials said Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington would not participate in any offensive action against Iran.

Israel’s War Cabinet met late Sunday to discuss a possible response, but an Israeli official familiar with the talks said no decisions had been made. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing confidential deliberations.

Asked about plans for retaliation, Hagari declined to comment directly. “We are at high readiness in all fronts,” he said.

“We will build a regional coalition and collect the price from Iran, in the way and at the time that suits us,” said a key War Cabinet member, Benny Gantz.

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Iran launched the attack in response to a strike widely blamed on Israel that hit an Iranian consular building in Syria this month and killed two Iranian generals.

By Sunday morning, Iran said the attack was over, and Israel reopened its airspace. Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, claimed Iran had taught Israel a lesson and warned that “any new adventures against the interests of the Iranian nation would be met with a heavier and regretful response from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The foes have been engaged in a shadow war for years, but Sunday’s assault was the first time Iran launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran said it targeted Israeli facilities involved in the Damascus strike, and that it told the White House early Sunday that the operation would be “minimalistic.”

But U.S. officials said Iran’s intent was to “destroy and cause casualties” and that if successful, the strikes would have caused an “uncontrollable” escalation. At one point, at least 100 ballistic missiles were in the air with just minutes of flight time to Israel, the officials said.

Israel said more than 99% of what Iran fired was intercepted, with just a few missiles getting through. An Israeli airbase sustained minor damage.

Israel has over the years established — often with the help of the U.S. — a multilayered air-defense network that includes systems capable of intercepting a variety of threats, including long-range missiles, cruise missiles, drones and short-range rockets.

That system, along with collaboration with the U.S. and others, helped thwart what could have been a far more devastating assault at a time when Israel is already deeply engaged in Gaza as well as low-level fighting on its northern border with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia. Both Hamas and Hezbollah are backed by Iran.

While thwarting the Iranian onslaught could help restore Israel’s image after the Hamas attack in October, what the Middle East’s best-equipped army does next will be closely watched in the region and in Western capitals — especially as Israel seeks to develop the coalition it praised Sunday.

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In Washington, Biden pledged to convene allies to develop a unified response. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would hold talks with allies. After an urgent meeting, the Group of Seven countries unanimously condemned Iran’s attack and said they stood ready to take “further measures.”

Israel and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel’s war in Gaza. In the Oct. 7 attack, militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, also backed by Iran, killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed over 33,000 people, according to local health officials.

Hamas welcomed Iran’s attack, saying it was “a natural right and a deserved response” to the strike in Syria. It urged the Iran-backed groups in the region to continue to support Hamas in the war.

Hezbollah also welcomed the attack. Almost immediately after the war in Gaza erupted, Hezbollah began attacking Israel’s northern border. The two sides have been involved in daily exchanges of fire, while Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have launched rockets and missiles toward Israel.


Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Michelle L. Price in Washington; Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran; Samy Magdy in Cairo; Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan; and Giada Zampano in Rome contributed to this report.

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How to get rid of NYC rats without brutality? Birth control is one idea

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How to get rid of NYC rats without brutality? Birth control is one idea

New York lawmakers are proposing rules to humanely drive down the population of rats and other rodents, eyeing contraception and a ban on glue traps as alternatives to poison or a slow, brutal death.

Politicians have long come up with creative ways to battle the rodents, but some lawmakers are now proposing city and statewide measures to do more.

In New York City, the idea to distribute rat contraceptives got fresh attention in city government Thursday following the death of an escaped zoo owl, known as Flaco, who was found dead with rat poison in his system.

City Council Member Shaun Abreu proposed a city ordinance Thursday that would establish a pilot program for controlling the millions of rats lurking in subway stations and empty lots by using birth control instead of lethal chemicals. Abreu, chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, said the contraceptives also are more ethical and humane than other methods.

The contraceptive, called ContraPest, is contained in salty, fatty pellets that are scattered in rat-infested areas as bait. It works by targeting ovarian function in female rats and disrupting sperm cell production in males, The New York Times reported.

New York exterminators currently kill rats using snap and glue traps, poisons that make them bleed internally, and carbon monoxide gas that can suffocate them in burrows. Some hobbyists have even trained their dogs to hunt them.

Rashad Edwards, a film and television actor who runs pest management company Scurry Inc. in New York City with his wife, said the best method he has found when dealing with rodents is carbon monoxide.

He tries to use the most humane method possible, and carbon monoxide euthanizes the rats slowly, putting them to sleep and killing them. Edwards avoids using rat poison whenever possible because it is dangerous and torturous to the rodents, he said.

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Some lawmakers in Albany are considering a statewide ban on glue boards under a bill moving through the Legislature. The traps, usually made from a slab of cardboard or plastic coated in a sticky material, can also ensnare small animals that land on its surface.

Edwards opposes a ban on sticky traps, because he uses them on other pests, such as ants, to reduce overall pesticide use. When ants get into a house, he uses sticky traps to figure out where they’re most often passing by. It helps him narrow zones of pesticide use “so that you don’t go spray the entire place.”

“This is not a problem we can kill our way out of,” said Jakob Shaw, a special project manager for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “It’s time to embrace these more common sense and humane methods.”

Two cities in California have passed bans on glue traps in recent years. On the federal level, a bill currently in committee would ban the traps nationwide.

“It ends a really inhumane practice of managing rat populations,” said Jabari Brisport, the New York state senator who represents part of Brooklyn and sponsored the bill proposing the new guidelines. “There are more effective and more humane ways to deal with rats.”

Every generation of New Yorkers has struggled to control rat populations. Mayor Eric Adams hired a “rat czar” last year tasked with battling the detested rodents. Last month, New York City reduced the amount of food served up to rats by mandating all businesses to put trash out in boxes.

While the war on rats has no end in sight, the exterminator Edwards said we can learn a lot from their resilience. The rodents, he said, can never be eradicated, only managed.

“They’re very smart, and they’re very wise,” he said. “It’s very inspiring but just — not in my house.”

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Coachella: Earthquake shakes SoCal desert during music fest

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Coachella: Earthquake shakes SoCal desert during music fest

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A small earthquake shook the Southern California desert Saturday near Coachella, where the famous music festival is being held this weekend. No damage or injuries were reported.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 3.8, hit at 9:08 a.m. about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of Borrego Springs in Riverside County, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The epicenter was about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Coachella. It struck at a depth of about 7 miles (11 kilometers), the USGS said.

A dispatcher with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said there were no calls reporting any problems from the quake.

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