FSU to leave ACC but conference expected to survive

FSU will leave the ACC, but the conference may still survive
FSU will leave the ACC, but the conference may still survive / James Gilbert/GettyImages

Late Kick's Josh Pate foresees FSU leaving the ACC with several other schools, but unlike many, he predicts that the conference will survive; just looking dramatically different in the future from its current iteration.

“Yeah, I think the ACC is kinda sorta screwed,” Pate said. “I think the future of the conference will look radically different than it does now. There are powerful entities that are well-motivated and well-financially backed that want out. In other words, FSU. And they’re not alone. I think they’re going to get out."

FSU and Clemson are almost certainly goners, likely to the Big Ten, given their ongoing legal issues with the ACC, but their exits are expected to have flagship schools in North Carolina and Virginia looking at the SEC -- considering the "It Just Means More" conference's interest in expanding into those states.

But if the ACC does survive, what would it look like?

ACC likely to elevate programs from AAC and Pac-12

The ACC would have to replace schools like FSU, Clemson, UNC, UVA, VA Tech, Louisville, Miami, and the like by elevating programs from the AAC and absorbing the Pac-12's two remaining programs, Oregon State and Wazzu, into the fold.

According to PressBox DC's Jim Williams, the ACC's contingency plan could include Memphis, Tulane, Wazzu, Oregon State, UConn, and USF.

This would further the conference's national footprint while also bringing several deserving programs to the Power 4 level. It would also end any hope of the Pac-12 making a comeback. Oregon State and Wazzu have until the 2026 season to reform the Pac-12 and have been expected to try and do so by bringing on Mountain West teams.

If the ACC is going to survive the losses of its biggest programs, then it will need to replace the markets it'd be losing and bring on new ones. Williams' contingency plan would do just that, though the viability of the new conference would be unclear in the long-term.