Despite the public backing of the University of Texas and Texas Tech University, one sentiment still commonly raised against the case for the University of Houston’s inclusion in the Big 12 is “we cannot afford to elevate the status of another program like TCU”. This, in regards to the competitive recruiting scene of Texas High School Football. When you sprinkle in the other commonly dropped talk radio phrase of “none of the current expansion candidates add value”, it seems like circular logic, but that is probably another post for another day. Give Houston the Power Five status card to play in the recruiting scene and seasons like 2015 potentially could become something closer to sustainable than a flash in the pan.
Realistically, what kind of impact would the Houston Cougars have on the rest of the conferences’ recruiting classes? First things first, averaging out the past two classes for the Cougars they appear to have around 22 recruits in a recruiting class. So what are we talking about here with Power Five status? For the sake of this hypothetical I compared Houston’s 2016 recruiting class to TCU’s. And although Houston landed a five-star recruit with G5 status last year, let us say the main difference was six four star recruits. So, in this scenario Houston somehow finds a way to win six recruiting battles of four star Houston area kids.
In turn let us break down what effect that has on the other Big 12 schools. For West Virginia, no effect. For teams like K-State, Iowa State and Kansas it might actually help. For instance K-State only has four Houston area kids on its current roster, they are not that aggressive there like the Metroplex. But these teams now have the ability to pitch playing in the prospective recruit’s backyard in addition to the short trip to Austin. However, all things considered it is probably safer to say the effect is likely a wash for these teams
Turn it to the extreme other end of this conference and you look at the blue bloods Oklahoma and Texas. Could the Cougars win a battle against one of these teams? Absolutely they could but realistically how many times over the course of a five-year period does that happen? If you are one of those two institutions and worried about selling your brand in comparison to Houston, then you are the wrong assistant coach for a one of those programs.
So let us examine the remaining schools. Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and TCU likely have something to lose from an elevated Houston. However, keep in mind that SEC schools Arkansas and LSU are common predators in Houston too. When you add Texas and OU back into the equation, all of a sudden we are talking about potentially six less higher profile recruits off the market between eight different teams. And that assumes Houston wins those battles each year every year. Houston will not do that. Some years it is more likely to be less than that. Over a five-year cross-section, the amount of Houston native players at those eight schools is likely not noticeable.