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Life on the last life boat

After years of wondering the college athletic wilderness, on September 9, 2021, the University of Houston was accepted into the Big 12 Conference. University staff, leadership and alumni were over the moon at the prospect of renewing rivalries with former conference foes like Baylor, Texas Tech and TCU. From a financial standpoint, the millions of dollars that will start to come into the athletic department mean new facilities, better coach compensation possibilities and, finally, be able to compete for local talent.


No one could have known that on July 26th, 2023, the value of this move would increase ten fold.


When Brett Yormark became the commissioner of the Big 12, he made waves at his opening press conference saying that the conference was "open for business." The conference then started the not so private courtship of what was deemed the "four corner schools" of the Pac-12: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.


After a year of meetings, rumors, Twitter wars (sorry X wars) and hurt feelings, it was reported by multiple outlets that Colorado will be voting to join the Big 12. For once, UH is actually sitting at the table making realignment decisions and not desperately trying to claw into room.


The Colorado decision will most likely cause a ripple effect across the college landscape. Do any other Pac-12 schools follow suit and jump ship? Is Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff able to circle the wagons and convince a San Diego State or SMU to join and stop the bleeding? Time will tell but realignment seems far from over.


Simply put, there seems to be no other life boats headed for G5 island. Why look at Memphis when Arizona is a possibility? Why look at South Florida when Florida State isn't happy? Sorry Boise State, but I have Utah on line 1, Gonzaga on line 2 and Washington/Oregon on line 3.


The Power 5 conferences (possibly Power 4 now) will eat each other until there are two big dogs (SEC and Big Ten) and the junk yard dog that can survive. The Pac-12 seems to be out, leaving the ACC and Big 12. With the ACC's issues and wondering eyes of some if it's members, the Big 12 seems to be the favorite to win that battle.


If the UH had not become a member of a P5 conference when they did, the Fertitta Centers, Kelvin Sampsons, TDECU Stadiums and all other steps taken to get into a P5 would have been in vain. How crushing. How cruel. How college athletics.


For the rest of eternity, UH fans would have had to watch as good coaches would have continually gotten poached. Big time local players who wanted to stay home would say, "Sorry, I want to play P5." Money to compete for players and build facilities would have never been an option. A true nightmare scenario and one that every member of the American and Mountain West who didn't get called up is now living.


When the vote for Colorado becomes official, UH fans should be excited at the prospects of what comes next. They should also be grateful. Life on the last life boat gets better and cozier with each passing day.

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