Texan politicians of various stripes are legendary for their ability to shape the landscape of college football. (The most notorious example of this is then-governor Ann Richards' lobbying for the inclusion of Baylor in the Big 12.) It should come as no real surprise, then, that a large-ish group of legislators isn't through turning the conference this way and that, and their desires are fixed on Houston:
State Reps. Garnet Coleman and Bill Callegari, both from the Houston area, co-wrote a letter Thursday asking Big 12 officials to consider adding the university to the conference.
"UH is the third largest university in Texas, and is on track to rank among the top research universities in this state," the letter says. "Despite UH's local and statewide prominence, the university does not belong to a strong BCS conference such as the Big 12. The Cougars, the city of Houston, and the state of Texas deserve better."
It's frankly not a bad idea. Houston's a sizable TV market (though likely already saturated thanks to the sprawling reach of the Texas alumni base), and their football team, ranked first in the nation in total, passing, and scoring offense in 2009, would do the popular conception of defense-free Big 12 football proud. The move would also be a step towards healing a semantic rift. Texans are a pragmatic people, and the thought of them continuing to field a 10-team conference named "12" just doesn't sit well. (Leave the imaginary numbers for those fancy lads up north.)