Thursday, Texas leadership did a grandiose gesture that left everyone confused.
I realize that sounds like a normal Thursday, but stick with me here.
The conventional wisdom has long been that Texas schools would not want to add Houston to the Big 12, as that would give yet another in-state recruiting rival Power 5 status. Also, the actual wisdom has long been that the Longhorns in particular were against expansion to begin with.
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
That's the state governor, state lieutenant governor, university system chancellor, and -- most important -- UT president, all in some sort of coordinated social campaign. They joined previous UH support by a billionaire Longhorns booster and the conference's football coaches, the least important people listed so far in this particular equation.
Soooooooo what's happening here? Let's get really Texas.
Totally plausible conspiracy theory No. 4
Alternate theory: Is Texas trying to kill expansion by pushing Houston (when several other Big 12 members are opposed to UH)?— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) July 21, 2016
This is the least exciting major theory offered, which means we're off to a roaring start. As crazy as it is to think the leadership of a state and university system would publicly support something just to squash it, this is the wild-ass Big 12, baby. All money is legal, and all drama is public.
Note the key word "considering" in Fenves' tweet. The only person here with an actual Big 12 vote didn't technically say he's supporting Houston's bid, just Houston's bid entry.
The reason non-Lone Star State members might be opposed to UH is simple. Think how much harder it'll be for, say, Oklahoma State or West Virginia to land Texas recruits if those recruits now have 25 more scholarship spots at a Power 5 school in Texas. So UT could maintain its anti-expansion stance even after the conference has publicly called for it by offering up an unpopular candidate, but doing so under the reasonable banner of Texas Forever.
Totally plausible conspiracy theory No. 3
Ball now in Boren’s court. UT has expressed what it wants. Now up to Boren to say, fine on UH. But in return, we want (B12 network? BYU?)— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) July 21, 2016
Texas doing this to put pressure on Oklahoma would not be that hard to believe.
OU president David Boren, long infamous for unleashing a public comment on anything, no-commented UT's support of Houston. So even if this wasn't the goal, it still got Oklahoma off its game, and that's the first key to winning the Red River Shootout.
Totally plausible conspiracy theory No. 2
Stay tuned for Friday afternoon’s coincidental tweet flurry as Texas elected officials push UTSA to Big 12. Followed Monday by Texas State.— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) July 22, 2016
The university system chancellor's support is especially interesting. UH is not part of the UT system. So why does he care?
Because he's trying to get the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (established 2015) into the Big 12, of course! This is a very good theory. (Yes, George is totally joking. I'm not. Let's do this.)
And now, the greatest UT-UH conspiracy theory of them all, and the one that is probably the truest, because Texas is always as Texas as possible
I wonder if Texas is willing to trade a Big 12 bid for no resistance on UT-Houston’s expansion https://t.co/XVtpacGSt6— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) July 21, 2016
Lol, yeah, seems that really might be what's happening. So not only do some Texas people want to take UH's football coach, they appear willing to consider trading a conference membership vote for a chance to smoothly continue what UH has previously referred to as an "invasion" of the city. WEEEEEHOO!
This is all so Texas that the only thing reverberating in my mind is Beyonce saying, "Texas," during the intro to "Daddy Lessons." Also, the Horns should take the field to part of that song this year, but that's another topic.
Here's what it would cost to leave a conference for the Big 12, which could delay new additions by a year or so.
Podcast Ain't Played Nobody argues Houston should be third at absolute best on the Big 12's list, with Cincinnati first.
Notre Dame continues to be very bad at alternate uniforms.
Kentucky's now got itself one of those many-million-dollar facilities, and there are photos of the expensive things, which you can visualize Drake approving.
The ACC Network is official, including an expanded hoops schedule and such.
PREVIOUS: I argued BYU should be the no-doubt No. 1 candidate. Ignore yesterday's header photo choice, please.