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Texas president Greg Fenves joins governor in supporting Houston to the Big 12

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Politics is the Lone Star State is nothing if not consistently looney.

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl-Houston vs Florida State Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Well, here it goes. The momentum to consider the inclusion of the Houston Cougars in the Big 12 picked up huge political steam on Thursday afternoon as University of Texas president Greg Fenves threw some weight behind the earlier statement from governor Greg Abbott:

How about McRaven? Bingo!

The timing is hardly a coincidence here and a movement that once counted only Texas megabooster Red McCombs and Houston megabooster Tilman Fertitta now includes the Texas governor and Texas president, though note that the former used language that was much less strong.

For Abbott, not including Houston is a “non-starter,” but Fenves just supports consideration.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for Fertitta to join in again (recall that he donated $104,000 to Abbott’s 2014 campaign for governor):

Lieutenant governor Dan Patrick had joined Abbott’s call a few minutes before:

The first thing to figure out though? What Fenves meant when he called Houston a “huge asset.” Huh? Doesn’t really seem like one to the University of Texas and its athletic programs. Maybe the president is referring to Houston as a huge asset to the state. Which, still kinda meh.

One theory holds that all this may be a poison pill for the expansion that the ‘Horns have been so ambivalent about.

Maybe they’re trying to do Tom Herman a solid and throw a knowing wink.

Another theory is that Texas is doing the school a solid because Chancellor Bill McRaven upset Houston politicians and University of Houston supporters by purchasing a large tract of land in Houston for a future system campus of some kind. McRaven wasn’t exactly apologetic about that “encroachment” even though he didn’t give prior warning to Houston or the state’s higher education oversight board beforehand.

And that would explain why Fertita just referred to Texas as Houston “burnt orange neighbors,” at least.

Maybe it doesn’t even matter because the out-of-state schools wouldn’t let this happen anyway, perhaps in part for recruiting reasons:

So we know why Abbott might support this whole idea, but what about Fenves? Why would he acquiesce to this?

Ah, plausible deniability? Sure, that makes as much sense as anything — topping that whining before it starts seems understandable.

Recall as well that sports is not an area of expertise for Fenves, so he’s not only a little bit out of his depth here, he’s also quite possibly had Abbott bring the pressure down on him to make this statement in support of whatever is motivating the governor.

Betcha Fenves got a friendly call from Abbott recently. To be a fly on the wall for that one, eh?

Fun stuff.