Fates of Big East, WAC serve as warning to potential existential threat of ACC losing FSU and Clemson

Cincinnati v Rutgers
Cincinnati v Rutgers / Ned Dishman/GettyImages

The fates of the Big East and WAC football conferences serve as a warning to the potential existential threat facing the ACC when FSU and Clemson litigate their way out of the ACC's Grant of Rights agreement according to The Tampa Bay Times' Matt Baker.

"The litigious realignment wave that swept West Virginia, Pitt and Rutgers out of the Big East split the league into a basketball conference (which kept the Big East name) and the American (which effectively lost its status as a power conference)," Baker wrote.

"The WAC feared 'irreparable injury to the national stature of the conference' if Fresno State and Nevada left before the summer of 2012. By the time that date arrived, Hawaii was gone, too, and five others were on their way out. The WAC played its final Football Bowl Subdivision season that fall."

ACC more likely to go down WAC route than Big East route

Once FSU and Clemson leave the ACC, UNC and UVA will be next in short order; likely to the Big Ten. Reading the tea leaves, big brands like Louisville and Miami will follow suit. Eventually, the rest of the Tobacco Road rivals (Duke, Wake Forest, NC State) will want to pair back up with UNC or become the SEC's North Carolina representative.

Soon enough, schools like Pitt, Syracuse, and Boston College will be in a similar position to what Oregon State and Wazzu are now. But those schools are all in bigger markets than the Pac-2, and could likely get Big Ten membership with AAU accreditation.

That means that there would more likely be no ACC at all than there being a basketball-only conference paired with a relegation into the AAC.

This story probably ends up resembling the end of the WAC than the Big East holding on by a thread.