12 days until Houston joins the Big 12

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Since that dubious week 29 years ago, the University of Houston has been wandering. On Wednesday, February 24, 1994, Baylor Regents approved a plan to join the Big Eight. Over the next two days, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Texas officials would do the same. Late that Friday, the Big Eight Conference announced its four new members.

The idea had been out there for a while: Texas was flirting with the Pac-10 while hammering out a deal with the Big Eight. The Longhorns were looking to bolt the Southwest Conference as soon as the College Football Association TV contract ended, and they planned to take Texas A&M with them. That would mean they could be in a new conference for the 1996 season. Texas Tech and Baylor were added to the plan during the final week of negotiations, effectively killing the Southwest Conference.

With no SWC to call home, UH had to choose between two much-lesser leagues: the 16-team WAC or Conference USA. UH wisely chose C-USA, competing there from 1996 until announcing a move to the Big East in December 2011. But that league fell apart, and Houston helped form the American.

After a decade in the AAC, Houston is ready to take its rightful place in the Big 12. For the first time, UH steps into a conference with member schools that seem aligned in their vision. UH will benefit from playing former SWC rivals TCU, Texas Tech, Texas, and Baylor in their first year in the league.

Over the next 12 days, GoCoogs.com will celebrate the 12-day countdown to the Big 12: renewed rivalries, traveling to new parts of the country, and the Cougars stepping up in class.

GoCoogs begin our football season coverage now.

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