FSU to leave ACC but conference expected to survive

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?

The ACC is likely to consider elevating programs from the AAC and Pac-12.

According to Jim Williams of PressBox DC, the ACC’s strategy to cope with the potential departure of major programs like FSU, Clemson, UNC, UVA, VA Tech, Louisville, and Miami could involve elevating teams from the AAC and integrating Oregon State and Washington State from the Pac-12 into its ranks.

Williams suggests a contingency plan that includes adding Memphis, Tulane, Washington State (Wazzu), Oregon State, UConn, and USF. This move aims to expand the ACC’s national presence and elevate deserving programs to the Power 4 level. It also potentially forecloses any revival hopes for the Pac-12, especially since Oregon State and Washington State have until the 2026 season to attempt to do so by recruiting Mountain West teams.

For the ACC to survive the loss of its flagship programs, it would need to replace the markets it stands to lose and introduce new ones. Williams’ proposed contingency plan addresses this need, although its long-term viability remains uncertain.

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