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Georgia cracks top 4 in CFP rankings…Brown back with Heels…Gardner-Johnson leaving Gators

UNDATED (AP) – Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame continue to hold the top three spots in the latest CFP rankings, but Georgia has supplanted Michigan as the No. 4 team. The Bulldogs grabbed the final semifinal slot with a victory over Georgia Tech and the Wolverines’ blowout loss to Ohio State. Oklahoma is fifth and the Buckeyes moved up to sixth with one more ranking to go.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Football coach Mack Brown is back with North Carolina after signing a five-year, $17.5 million deal to replace Larry Fedora, who was fired Sunday after seven seasons. Brown was 69-46-1 with five bowl appearances in ten seasons with the Tar Heels from 1988-97. He left Chapel Hill to take over at Texas, where he won the 2009 BCS Championship and went to bowl games in each of his first 12 seasons with the team.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is leaving school early and entering the NFL draft, although he plans to play in the Gators’ bowl game. Gardner-Johnson has been one of Florida’s most improved players in 2018, posting 66 tackles, including nine for a loss. The 11th-ranked Gators are expected to have several players leave early, including defensive end Jachai Polite, linebacker Vosean Joseph and offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor.

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Milwaukee Brewers catcher Erik Kratz has agreed to a one-year contract that avoids salary arbitration. Kratz hit .236 with six homers and 23 RBIs in 219 plate appearances during the 2018 regular season. He also excelled in Milwaukee’s division series win over the Colorado Rockies, going 5-for-8 in two games.

PITSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Chris Archer has undergone surgery to repair a hernia but should be ready in time for spring training. Archer is expected to take six weeks off to recuperate before resuming his offseason program. Also in Pittsburgh, outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall has agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract with the Pirates.

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