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College Football Playoff exploring expansion from four to 12 teams

Amid years of speculation, the seven-year-old college football playoff system might grow.
Amid years of speculation, the seven-year-old college football playoff system might grow.Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

A four-man working group examining the College Football Playoff recommended on Thursday an expansion of that playoff from four to 12 teams, a milestone amid years of speculation about how the seven-year-old playoff might grow. The six highest-ranked conference champions would get automatic bids, and the next six highest-ranked teams determined by the College Football Playoff selection committee would also be included. The four highest-ranked conference champions would receive a bye, while the other eight teams would play first-round games at campus sites. The quarterfinals and semifinals would be played in bowl games, and the championship game would take place at a neutral site. That recommendation came after considerable study across recent months by Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson. Their recommendations will go now to two more tiers of committees, on June 17-18 in Chicago and June 22 in Dallas.

Football

Wilson, Seahawks OK

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he did not request a trade this offseason and he believes conversations with coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have strengthened his relationship with the team.

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Chiefs OL Long injured

Kyle Long could be on the shelf for an extended stretch.
Kyle Long could be on the shelf for an extended stretch.Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

The offensive line the Chiefs aggressively overhauled this offseason has taken a hit with a knee injury to veteran Kyle Long during voluntary workouts that could require surgery and keep him out of training camp. Long, 32, came out of a one-year retirement designed largely to get him healthy to sign a one-year contract with the Chiefs, who completely recast their offensive line after it was decimated by injuries and opt-outs last season. But he failed to make it through three weeks of workouts before another injury sidelined him.

CFL is close to return

The CFL has cleared an important hurdle in its effort to return to the field in 2021. The league last played in 2019 because of the pandemic. An official with the Public Health Agency of Canada told The Canadian Press the federal government has received the CFL’s request for a national interest exemption for modified quarantine for the upcoming season. The official added Ottawa is reviewing it in consultation with provincial health authorities. Essentially, the CFL is asking Ottawa to provide it with the same exemptions it has for the NHL.

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College softball

Oklahoma wins NCAA title

Giselle Juarez threw her second consecutive complete game and Oklahoma won its fifth national championship, beating Florida State, 5-1, in the Women’s College World Series at Oklahoma City. Florida State freshman Kaley Mudge set the record for hits in a Women’s College World Series with 14.

Minor league baseball

Araúz powers WooSox

Jonathan Araúz’s three-run home run in the seventh inning propelled the Worcester WooSox to a 5-2 victory at Syracuse in Triple A action . . . In Double A, the Sea Dogs lost to New Hampshire, 5-3, at Portland, Maine. Center fielder Tate Matheny went 2 or 3 for Portland.