In case you’ve been wrapped up in the Republican National Convention these past few days, over in the (less scary) world of sports, the Big 12 has booted up their Tinder profile, and are back on the market.
This is a conversation that we have had many times before, but after the announcement of the ACC’s 20 year deal with ESPN, the Big 12 is really feeling the pressure to do SOMETHING. With the Longhorn Network still around, it doesn’t look like the Big 12 Network is happening without a major change, which is why we always come back to expansion.
Jake Lanier did an outstanding job of summarizing the resumes of the top potential candidates in an article released on CRFF, you can check it out here. However, it seems as if there seems to be a lot of talk about one of the teams in particular.
The University of Houston.
Now, if we were wanting the best available programs to join the conference, we add Houston and BYU, bing-bang-boom, our conference is better at all sorts of stuff. However, we are all a little selfish, and do we really want to bring UH into a Power 5 conference? UH has been tearing it up in the American Conference, and I’m sure with the step up in conference prestige, Houston would become a huge competitor in an already competitive recruiting market. Do we really want that? Well, neither Texas or Texas Tech seem too worried...
As we look at opportunities for Big 12 expansion, I support considering @UHouston for the conference. UH is a huge asset for Texas.— Greg Fenves (@gregfenves) July 21, 2016
Texas Tech issues statement on Houston: pic.twitter.com/o3NNiR7u4m— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) July 22, 2016
Fenves is the President for the University of Texas, and it sure seems like he is supporting the inclusion of UH along with Texas Tech. Why? This could be one of those "more Texas is better than less Texas! Seceeeede!" kind of things that Texans love to do, or it could be solely political. My bet is the latter.
You know, I’m not really much of a "conspiracy theory" guy, but I am a "connect the dots" guy, and it’s pretty clear that the Governor of Texas, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Texas Tech and President of the most powerful University in Texas are all on the same page here.
I don’t see a logical reason for either Texas or Texas Tech to want Houston in the Big 12, unless there is some big Texas politics getting pushed around here. This does not make sense from a football standpoint. They are basically creating a powerhouse in one of the most talent-rich recruiting areas in America. A recruiting area in which both teams sign a good amount of players!
Number of players on current rosters from Houston - Beaumont area
Also, don’t get super fact-checky about my graph up there. Team Rosters and Google Maps became real good buddies this afternoon.
It’s only a matter of time before more Texas schools pronounce their support for UH joining the Big 12. It’s unclear what these Texas schools are getting out of this for pledging their support to UH, and it’s possible that we will never know. As an Oklahoma State fan, I obviously don’t want to see this happen, but what Texas wants, they usually get.
I don’t claim to know what’s going on with the ties between Texas politics and Texas Athletics, and I’m not expecting to solve any mysteries with this post. I know just about as much as you guys do. I’m only trying to get you to rub your chin and say "hmm."