College Football 2012: WAC Exodus Is Likely Last Major Restructuring for Now

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterMay 1, 2012

HONOLULU - SEPTEMBER 02: Mana Lolotai #50 of the University of Hawaii Warriors checks his helmet before the Warriors take the field in their season opener against the University of Southern California Trojans at Aloha Stadium September 2, 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

The writing appears to be on the wall for the Western Athletic Conference. While 2012 should work out for the conference, going beyond that season will be a difficult proposition, as the league will have just two football members heading into 2013.

That is tough sledding for a conference that has been around for almost 50 years and has seen quite a few big moments.

A college football national champion came out of the WAC. Hawaii's magical 2007 season was one of the WAC's finest achievements. Boise State's two BCS Bowl wins were also under the WAC umbrella.

Now, those days are gone and there really is no one to blame but itself.

The WAC could not remain viable and that is on them. The Big East found a way to rebound—twice in the last decade. The Big 12 was able to stave off the Pac-12 merger in order to remain relevant on a national scale. The Mountain West lost national name BYU, two-time BCS-bowl-winner Utah and two-time BCS participant TCU, yet the league is still hanging on.

Ultimately, in all of this, the WAC became the worst option. The last resort. The one place that no one wanted to be. UT-SA and Texas State—two schools that have not played a single game in the WAC—recognized a bleak future and took off for the stability of Conference-USA and the Sun Belt, respectively.

In looking at the landscape now, things have calmed down. The Big East has gone out and found its targets to, hopefully, remain among the BCS ranks. The Big 12, at least for the moment, is happy playing with 10 members. The ACC will mirror the SEC in moving to 14 in the next couple of years, as Pitt and Syracuse join the mix. The Pac-12 and Big Ten are happy at 12 schools apiece.

Heading into this round of BCS negotiations, where the future of the game is at stake, things appear to have leveled out for the time being.

The WAC is the loser here, but it seems the Sun Belt, Conference-USA, MAC and MWC will still be the "little guys" in the landscape. With all of the restructuring, only Hawaii possesses BCS experience among the schools in the small conferences, and that was two head coaches ago. The WAC had a good run, but it seems destined to end after the upcoming season.

Remember the good times, folks. But much like the SWC, American South Conference, Metro Conference and Yankee Conference, the run of the WAC is over.