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Is the Big XII in UH’s future?

Now that we know the Big XII will survive, one question that now arises is whether it will try to replace defectors Nebraska and Colorado, and if so with which teams. Already, there’s a drumbeat for UH being included. Richard Justice runs out to the front of the parade.

The Big 12 almost certainly will add two teams at some point. It may be two years from now, maybe longer. TCU would seem to be a slam dunk for one of the invitations, and UH needs to position itself for the other.

To do so will require work on multiple fronts, to do things UH has been unable to do in the past. But this is a new era at UH.

I’ve kind of lost count of the number of New Eras there have been at UH since I came to town in 1988. I can’t help but feel like I’ve heard this all before – IF they can maintain recent success, and IF they can upgrade their facilities, and IF they can draw bigger crowds, then it will all come together. If they can in fact do these things, then UH makes some sense; there’s enough UT and A&M alums here to make Houston a part of the Big XII TV market already, so that’s not much of a factor. Let’s just say I’m not going to hold my breath on this.

UH President Dr. Renu Khator gets some space on the op-ed pages to chime in as well with a rah-rah piece for her school. I noticed that the one thing neither she nor Justice mentioned was the concept of rivalries – UH rivalries, I mean. As that was a large subject of discussion when everyone thought the Big XII was headed for the junk pile, and especially when it looked like A&M might part ways with UT, that seems a curious oversight. Not to put too fine a point on it, but UH’s biggest rival these days is Rice, whom UH would be leaving behind in this scenario. Yes, I know, UH sees UT as a rival. I have news for you: UH and UT are rivals in the same way that Rice and UT are rivals. The rivalry means a lot more to one school than it does to the other. If all that lip service to rivalries meant anything, then the UH-to-the-Big XII advocates should be calling for Rice to come along as well. As TCU is also being mentioned, bringing Rice along would give the conference 13 members, so we may as well go whole hog and grab SMU, too, to balance out TCU and get things back to an even number. And since that would make the Big XII moniker as accurate as “Big 10” and “PAC 10” are right now, a new name for it would be in order. I have a suggestion for that, too.

Anyway. If you want to see the UH thing happen, there’s a University of Houston Should Join The Big 12 Facebook group for you. There’s a similar group for TCU, too, if your tastes go that way. If you want to read more about how Dan Beebe pulled this off, read Kevin Sherrington and especially Dan Wetzel, who reminds us that this is a temporary peace. Sooner or later, something like what the PAC 10 was trying to do will come up again. Burka, the Trib, and Sean Pendergast have more.

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6 Comments

  1. joypog says:

    Just realized from that the big XIII or the big XIV would be problematic in terms of gang signs. (crips and bloods).

    In any case like you mentioned, I imagine that conferences these days are less interested in thorough coverage as they are interested in expanding into new media markets…

  2. Bobby Warren says:

    I hate to say it, but it requires some amount of competition between the parties to have a “rivalry”. While Rice has been able to pin some upsets against UH while the two have been in CUSA, it’s not like they are both competing for the conference title every year.

    I’m willing to bet that if you ask the average UH fan whether they are worried about leaving Rice behind in a move to another conference, less than 25% are concerned at all about that. We’re more than happy to try to rekindle the rivalry we had for years with UT.

  3. Zeke says:

    The Big12 is not likely in anyone’s future. TCU is still ticked over the fact they didn’t get an invite when the SWC collapsed, so they’re not likely to return the Big12’s calls. UofH does really bring the Houston market with them or a large fan base (same for Rice, and SMU adds nothing either), but what’s really going to kill an invite to any teams at this point is the division of the tv money and the buyout from CU and Neb. That money is what is holding this house of cards together (the lack of a signed deal is a problem). There is none left to pay new schools and no school is going to come in for no money. And when the contract is eventually renegotiated in a few years, we’re going to be back in the same boat we were this time.

  4. Michael says:

    I see the Big 12(minus 2) and Mountain West conferences eventually merging after the other bigs trim them down over the course of the next 5-10 years. I think you will eventually see 4 super conferences (the PAC-10, SEC, Big 10 and Big-12/MWC hybrid). Before or after this alignment, you will also see the Cotton Bowl become the 5th BCS Bowl.

    Whether UH ends up in one of these conferences is up to them continuing to build upon their recent football success. In any case, they need to get out of Conference USA as soon as possible.

  5. Bill says:

    I don’t agree with the “you have to bring Rice” argument Chuck. When was the last time Rice or SMU beat a ranked team? I give them credit for their UH upset 2 years ago, but Rice seriously on level with UH or TCU. Clearly, the two programs in the state of Texas that are BCS worthy are the Coogs and Frogs.

    However, Rice does have a baseball team. I do give you credit for that.

  6. Linkmeister says:

    Personally, I’d like to see a UH (Houston) rivalry with UH (Hawai’i). Think of the marketing opportunities. “Who gets the bigger H this year?”