Yes, you read that headline correctly. The fact that the Pac-12 is choosing not to expand means that the University of Houston should be campaigning hard for inclusion in the Big East. It also means that our poll from earlier today is already obsolete. Welcome to the wild world of conference realignment.
Follow all that? Fear not, here's how it works:
This morning, the three potential options for AQ-conference inclusion were remaining part of a Conference USA/Mountain West super conference, heading to a rebuilt Big XII, or following TCU to the Big East. The Pac-12's decision not to expand means that Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas-Austin are staying put in the Big XII for now. Since UT-Austin has taken a firm stance against adding any more Texas schools (and has a long history of being anti-UH), the Big XII option is out, even if Missouri goes SEC, and there are more spots available.
This also means there will be no Big XII-Big East merger, which means there are still six AQ conferences, which means that there is no reason to believe that a C-USA/MWC super conference would be able to gain auto-bid status.
However, that means that the Big East still exists, and despite gaining TCU, the conference will lose at least two schools to the ACC. That means that the Big East needs school(s). School(s) with football clout, to maintain the legitimacy of the conference's AQ status. And their options are going to be limited to schools currently not in AQ conferences, because who else is going Big East at this point? Oh, and they just added a Texas school that could use a traveling partner.
It's not hard to read between the lines and see how UH would make sense as a Big East addition.
You know, unless the Pac-12 pulls an SEC and changes their mind in a couple of days, takes the four Big XII schools, and we're back to the drawing board.