The Houston Cougars might be near the biggest vote of support for Big 12 membership they could possibly get. This is the Twitter account of the University of Texas' president:
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
"Considering" could be a key word, since this isn't exactly a ballot already cast, but still.
And for what it's worth, Texas Tech on Friday released a statement with very similar language, its incoming president "welcoming the consideration" of Houston as a Big 12 candidate.
An interesting element of Texas Tech's support is that as a smaller Texan Big 12 school, the Red Raiders seem to have more to lose in recruiting and market share from Houston's addition than, say, a giant like the Longhorns.
Previously, UH earned the support of the state's governor, a billionaire Longhorns booster, and the Big 12's head football coaches, plus the state university system chancellor, but this trumps everything. School presidents actually vote on these things.
Not only is Texas surely the most powerful member of the conference, it's also the one that was most frequently connected to the conference's anti-expansion bloc. And not only that, but adding Houston has often been seen as a threat to the Texas schools, since it would legitimize yet another in-state recruiting rival.
So if Texas itself is publicly "considering" a vote for Houston ... what's left? The conference has said it'll take a couple months to sort through pitches and evaluate applicants, but this is a gigantic line on Houston's résumé.
There's still the question of the conference's north-of-Texas members being cut out of Lone Star recruiting by having another Power 5 school in the state, so there's still a debate ahead.
And while Houston plays in a large media market, that media market also contains tons of Big 12 fans already (even if it's been i n c h i n g toward the SEC as of late). But hey, maybe conferences have moved past the cable TV math that dictates basing all this stuff on acquiring new media markets.
Also, the conference has openly said it'll consider expanding from 10 to as many as 14 teams. BYU, Cincinnati and others still have excellent cases for membership.