After reading the myriad of posts and blogs across the internet concerning the state of the WAC and what they could do to survive I have come to the conclusion that they will not. At least not without some help from either a merger with say the Sun Belt or C-USA. As bad as both of those conferences are, I don't think they want the scraps of the WAC either unless they themselves get poached by another conference. One of the popular opinions is that the WAC will scour the FCS for some replacements. I thought about that as well, but after a bit of research I find that to probably be even less of an option. The reason being is, and I forgot this as well, there is a moratorium on reclassifying to Division I right now.
In a nutshell no programs are allowed to transfer from Division II to Division I-AA(a.k.a. FCS), or Division I-A(a.k.a. FBS). However the moratorium also covers programs wanting to reclassify from FCS to FBS until August 9, 2011. So that means programs like Sacramento St., UC Davis, Montana, Texas St., and any other rumored programs must wait until next year to start the transfer process. Consider then that the transfer process from FCS to FBS is two years. So at the minimum, those programs are not going to be FBS eligible until 2013.
Even if Karl Benson wants to be arrogant and bitter and make Fresno St. and Nevada stay, he can only keep them until 2012 at the most. That means at the end of the 2012 season the WAC without any other additions or subtractions will only be left with 6 football members. And according to NCAA regulations that would make them no longer a FBS conference:
20.02.6 Football Bowl Subdivision Conference.
A conference classified as a Football Bowl Subdivision conference shall be comprised of at least eight full Football Bowl Subdivision members that satisfy all bowl subdivision requirements. An institution shall be included as one of the eight full Football Bowl Subdivision members only if the institution participates in the conference schedule in at least six men's and eight women's conference-sponsored sports, including men's basketball and football and three women's team sports including women's basketball. A conference-sponsored sport shall be a sport in which regular season and/or championship opportunities are provided, consistent with the minimum standards identified by the applicable NCAA sport committee for automatic qualification. (Adopted: 10/31/02 effective 8/1/05, Revised: 12/15/06).
Essentially if they stay at the 6 member mark after the 2012 season, the NCAA could force the WAC to drop to FCS status to remain a conference. However rumors are rampant that Hawaii is considering going independent themselves. BYU is very unlikely at this point to join the WAC in non-football sports. Utah St. is trying to worm its way into the MWC. Louisiana Tech. would probably like nothing better than to slide into the Sun Belt or C-USA.
So what is left for the WAC? Unless they can poach some teams from C-USA or the Sun Belt conferences and assuming no one else leaves the conference it seems pretty clear that there is only one thing left for them to do:
Western Athletic Conference
Big dreams, little results.