HOUSTON — Houston only got a trophy Saturday for beating Oklahoma in the Texas Kickoff game, not a golden ticket invite to the Big 12.It just seemed that way in the aftermath of a 33-23 win over the No. 3 Sooners, the defending Big 12 champions. With interviews set to start this week for the 11 remaining schools in Big 12 expansion — including Houston, USF and UCF out of the AAC — the Cougars' timing could not have been better.Maybe the Big 12 presidents will focus on spreadsheets and market studies and such. But the biggest question about Houston football changed from "Can they compete?" to "How can you keep them out?" Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Oklahoma president David Boren, the chairman of the conference's board of directors, were in the house along with 71,016."It means a lot to us," Houston president Renu Khator said after the win. "This was our showcase on the national stage, and we did it."Houston looked every bit the part of a Big 12 team, not just with gifted quarterback Greg Ward (321 yards passing, two touchdowns). Houston controlled long stretches. Then factor in a kick-six momentum-changing return for a touchdown — aided by an Oklahoma timeout. As the only Group of Five team in the top 25 at No. 15, Houston should be in the top 10 easily next week.The game turned on Brandon Wilson's return, officially credited at 100 yards, after Austin Seibert came up short on a 53-yard field goal in the third quarter. Oklahoma had been confused about whether to punt or attempt the field goal and took the time out.That allowed Houston to set the return, Herman said."You know you have to cover it, but the personnel on the field isn't the best cover guys because the best cover guys wouldn't be able to protect the field goal," OU coach Bob Stoops said.Wilson caught the ball with his heels maybe an inch from the goal line, then cut to the right sideline, covering about 109 yards for a 26-17 lead that grew to 33-17 when Ward found Tyler McCloskey on a 2-yard TD pass late in the third quarter."I really thought I stepped out," Wilson said, "but I didn't really hear a whistle or anything, so I just went. I just saw the green grass and I scored."Under second-year coach Tom Herman, Houston has won 14 of 15 games, including back-to-back victories over national powers Florida State (Peach Bowl) and Oklahoma."We were prepared to win. We expected to win, and we trained to win," Herman said. "It wasn't about making a statement."With the loss, Oklahoma probably has no margin for error to reach the College Football Playoff again. Ohio State in 2014 and Alabama last season overcame September losses to win the CFP championship. The Sooners have a make-or-break schedule with Ohio State on Sept. 17 and a road trip to TCU on Oct. 1."I still have a strong belief in this team," Stoops said, "and we're going to come out and be okay and still have a chance to have a great year."