Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ron Jenkins/AP/Shutterstock (13434450i) Quarterback Max Duggan (15) throws downfield against Oklahoma during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Fort Worth, Texas OKlahoma TCU Football, Fort Worth, United States – 01 Oct 2022
The college football season started with such fanfare. Texas A&M was supposed to compete in the SEC. The Houston Cougars were supposed to win the American in their last year before moving to the Big 12. Texas had a chance to prove it was back.
As we head into championship week, the Aggies are done for the year, and UH and Texas are waiting on bowl assignments that will be well below what they hoped for as 2022 began.
Emerging from all of that was Sonny Dykes and TCU as the Horned Frogs put together a magical season. They are 12-0 heading to a Big 12 Championship rematch with Kansas State, just a win away from a College Football Playoff berth. The state of Texas has 12 FBS teams – eight of them were bowl eligible, and UTEP and Rice barely missed.
Of those, no one was more impressive than TCU. Besides the Big 12 title, there might be something just as big on the line come Saturday.
Quarterback Max Duggan is one of the best stories in football. He started three years at TCU, with a 13-16 record. Legendary coach Gary Patterson was fired, and in came Dykes. Duggan lost his job to Chandler Morris. But fate can be a fickle thing. Morris injured his knee in the opener, and Duggan stepped in and has never looked back.
All he has done is thrown for over 3,000 yards with 29 TDs and just three interceptions, leading the Horned Frogs to an unbeaten season. He has been exceptional. And might he go from backup to start the season to … Heisman Trophy winner?
It might seem far fetched, but after Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud threw two late picks in a loss to Michigan, the entire picture changed.
USC’s Caleb Williams is now the heavy favorite, but Duggan is co-second choice with Stroud in many places. And it would not be a stretch to say that could change in a hurry. What if Williams struggles in the Pac-12 title game and the Trojans are eliminated from the CFP? And Duggan has that “Heisman moment” and leads the Frogs over K-State?
It would be an amazing story. The Frogs have been underestimated and largely ignored all year. So, too, has Duggan.
While it looks like Williams could easily win the award, there is still a big weekend ahead. And bet against Duggan and TCU at your own risk.
It has not paid off yet.