The Michigan Wolverines’ ranking stayed the same in the latest Associated Press Top 25 college football poll on Sunday, but they lost two first-place votes after their win.
Michigan went into Saturday’s game against Penn State as the No. 2 in the nation. Jim Harbaugh was suspended for three games over sign-stealing allegations. He was off of Michigan’s sidelines for the game as there was no court to rule on whether to lift his ban temporarily.
Without Harbaugh, Michigan won the game 24-15.
The new AP poll showed the Wolverines in second place behind No. 1 Georgia but down to seven first-place votes instead of the nine from the week before. Georgia had 54 – up from 49 last week. Ohio Sate had one first-place vote – down from three last week. Florida State also lost a first-place vote.
The sign-stealing scandal has put a dark cloud over Michigan’s hopes of a national championship. Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore served as the acting head coach in the win.
“Play for yourselves, play for the team and play for Michigan was the constant message,” Moore said after the game. “We didn’t make it about him.”
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel issued a statement about 50 minutes before kickoff, saying the Big Ten Conference and commissioner Tony Petitti acted “unethically” in their ruling on Friday when they banned Harbaugh for the final three games of the regular season.
He said it was “an assault on the rights of everyone (especially in the Big Ten) to be judged by a fair and complete investigation.”
“Not liking someone or another university or believing without any evidence that they knew or saying someone should have known without an investigation is not grounds to remove someone from their position before the NCAA process has reached a conclusion through a full NCAA investigative process,” he said.
The punishment came over an elaborate, in-person scouting scheme that is also being investigated by the NCAA. Michigan’s officials say conference bylaws require the NCAA investigation to play out and the Petitti overstepped his authority.
The Big Ten said Michigan is only arguing procedure and process and had conceded the impermissible conduct went on. Over the last few weeks, evidence piled up that a low-level staffer was buying tickets to the games of Michigan’s opponents and sending people to record sideline signals.
The Wolverines have since fired the staffer.
Harbaugh could return for games during the Big Ten Championship and the College Football Playoff if the Wolverines make either.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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