N.C. State’s Woodson eager for a college football playoff

jgiglio@newosbserver.comJune 6, 2012 

Randy Woodson

— Randy Woodson sounds like a typical college football fan when he talks about the future of the sport’s postseason.

Unlike most fans, Woodson, as N.C. State’s chancellor, will have a say in the playoff format college football will use after the current bowl and television contracts end after the 2013 season.

"There’s a hunger in this country for a championship that isn’t completely derived from some formula," Woodson said Wednesday after he spoke at the Durham Sports Club.

"It’s going to be hard to get something that everybody agrees to but I don’t think there’s any doubt that the fans want something different."

A shift from the bowl system, which in some form has decided college football’s national champion for the past 75 years, to a playoff is coming. Officials from the Bowl Championship Series said so in April, pointing to a four-team playoff format, which would begin with the 2014 season.

Woodson said the twin concerns among his peers, the presidents and chancellors from the upper Division I programs who will ultimately make the decision about a playoff, are the length of the season and the "accessibility" of the system.

Woodson said he would prefer the college football season not "spill" into the spring semester, although the Bowl Championships Series title game already has.

"There is a lot of tension around that issue," Woodson said. "That tends to color the way presidents think about a playoff system and how large it is."

The conference commissioners agreed in April to discuss a four-team format, and table an eight or 16-team format, but Woodson said he would be open to discussions about an eight-team field.

"A four-team model is probably where people are converging but there are questions about whether that is accessible across the country to enough talented teams," Woodson said.

The format and criteria for a four-team playoff is still being debated at the conference-commissioner level. In the past 10 years, the ACC would have had only one participant in a four-team playoff that used the top four teams in the final BCS rankings, compared to four teams in 10 years in an eight-team format.

"The ACC is a great conference," Woodson said. "We want to make sure that whatever system comes out of all these conversations, the ACC is a prominent player and we have every reason to believe that is going to be the case."

As for the makeup of the ACC, with recent rumors of a football-driven exit of Florida State and Clemson to the Big 12, Woodson was confident the ACC would remain intact.

"You have to ask if those schools were really debating leaving?" Woodson said. "Others have speculated on it but every indication that I have as a chancellor in the ACC is that we’re a group of universities that are committed to the conference. I haven’t heard anything in recent conference calls that changes my view on that."

During his speech to the members of the sports club, Woodson highlighted the recent academic accomplishments by N.C. State athletes and praised athletic director Debbie Yow.

Out of 530 athletes in 23 varsity sports, Woodson said 381 had a grade point average above 3.0, 186 made the Dean’s List and 52 were named All-ACC academic.

N.C. State is 38th in the latest Director’s Cup standings, which ranks Division I universities in all sports, up from 89th when Yow was hired in June 2010.

Woodson also mentioned State’s success in men’s basketball in Mark Gottfried’s first season, after missing the NCAA tournament for five years.

"It has been quite a drought and the Wolfpack nation is kind of excited," Woodson said.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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