Max Duggan prepping for future, not yet reflecting on TCU career

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas — Max Duggan really hasn’t had time to reflect on his career at TCU, where the four-year starting quarterback’s final snap came in the national championship game. The Heisman Trophy runner-up hasn’t even stopped throwing while getting ready for the NFL combine and draft.

The beloved TCU quarterback, who has been in Southern California training since a few days after the national title game loss, was back in Fort Worth on Monday night for the presentation of the Davey O’Brien Award – whose namesake is the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner, when leading the Horned Frogs to an undefeated season and their only AP national title in 1938.

“It means so much to our program, for TCU, because we obviously understand what Davey O’Brien did for TCU, what he did for just college football,” said Duggan, the first TCU player to win the award given annually to a top quarterback. “There’s so much pride for that he did for our program, and building it up and setting a milestone for TCU programs to strive for.”

While Duggan and the Horned Frogs lost a lopsided national championship game to Georgia, they tied a school record with 13 wins by beating Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinal Fiesta Bowl.

“I probably haven’t even done a whole time of reflecting on what happened this season,” he said. “Obviously we’re disappointed what happened in the national championship game. … But that doesn’t take away from the special season that we had as a program, to be able to share that with players, coaching staff, our fans, the city of Fort Worth and TCU. People are going to remember this season for a long time.”

Even though he still had another season of eligibility available after starting 43 games for TCU, Duggan decided after extended conversations with his family and coach Sonny Dykes that it was the right time to make himself available for the NFL draft. He graduated from TCU’s business school in December.

Duggan was at the Senior Bowl and now is among several draft prospects working in California with former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer. The NFL combine starts next week, before TCU’s pro day at the end of March and the draft in late April.

Most draft projections have Duggan being a late-round pick on the third and final day. That doesn’t bother him.

“You’ve just got to have one team that, you know, falls in love with you, that likes your game, likes you as a person, what you do on and off the field. And I think that’s what really matters in my eyes,” he said. “I understand I’m not one of the top guys.”

Four former Big 12 quarterbacks started games in the NFL playoffs this season, including both Super Bowl starters: MVP Patrick Mahomes of the champion Kansas City Chiefs, and Heisman Trophy runner-up Jalen Hurts for the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles. The others were seventh-round draft picks last year.

Former Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson started a playoff game for Miami. Former Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, the very last player selected in the draft, was the starter for San Francisco as the 49ers made it to the NFC title game.

“I’ve been able to compete the last couple of years with Brock, Skylar and Jalen. To see them go have success, you see what type of league that the Big 12 is,” Duggan said. “I think you’ve seen them, whether they are kind of picks towards the end of the draft, they seem to have success, so it’s been fun to watch them.”

Moves by Texas, Oklahoma from Big 12 to SEC bumped to 2024

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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AUSTIN, Texas – Texas and Oklahoma are heading to the Southeastern Conference in 2024, a year earlier than originally planned, after Big 12 officials cleared the way Thursday for the storied programs to exit their league.

Texas and Oklahoma will leave behind the $50 million each school would have received over the next two seasons under the Big 12’s media contracts.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormak said the league would only agree to an early departure “if it was in our best interest.”

“By reaching this agreement, we are now able to accelerate our new beginning as a 12-team league and move forward in earnest with our initiatives and future planning,” Yormak said in a statement announcing the agreement.

BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston are joining the Big 12 prior to the 2023 football season, giving the league a temporary membership of 14 schools.

The agreement must still be approved the Texas and Oklahoma boards of regents, but that is considered a formality.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement that the schools will become full members of the conference on July 1, 2024.

“We are continuing our preparation for this membership transition, and we look forward to welcoming the conference’s new members and moving into our future as a 16-team league,” Sankey said.

The moves by Texas and Oklahoma have been in the works since 2021, when the SEC invited the Big 12’s marquee programs to join what is already the strongest football conference in the country.

Oklahoma and Texas have combined for 10 national championships as determined by The Associated Press, but none since the Longhorns’ 2005 season championship. TCU, which made it the College Football Playoff championship game last season, joined Oklahoma as the only Big 12 teams to make the playoff.

Big 12 officials were initially stunned by the departure. Former Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby even accused ESPN of trying to “destabilize” the league to help Texas and Oklahoma leave early.

Thursday’s announcement was much more cordial. Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec, who is also the chairman of the Big 12 Board of Directors, called the agreement “fair to all parties,” and said it could not have happened without collaboration with the league’s broadcast partners ESPN and Fox.

Money has been a driving factor in the shifting landscape of college athletics realignment. The SEC reported a revenue distribution of $49.9 million per school for the 2021-2022 school year, exceeding by more than $7 million what the Big 12 distributed to its members for the same period.

Adding Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC’s broadcast portfolio is expected to only increase the league’s payout. They will land in their new league just in time for a new $3 billion deal with ESPN that gives the network the broadcast rights to all the conference’s football games.

The additions of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will boost the Big 12’s national footprint and push the league into new media markets.

Texas and Oklahoma haven’t already left for the SEC because both schools have been tied to the Big 12 and its other members through a grant of media rights through the 2024-25 school year. That deal ran concurrently with the conference’s television contracts with Fox and ESPN.

“We have always been committed to fulfilling our contractual obligations to the Big 12. The collegiate athletics landscape has continued to evolve rapidly, and working together to accelerate our exit produced benefits for all parties,” Texas President Jay Hartzell said. “The Big 12 has been a respected partner for nearly three decades, and we look forward to a final season of spirited competition with our friends and rivals.”

Big 12 releases 14-team schedule with four new teams, Texas and OU

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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IRVING, Texas — The Big 12 released its long-anticipated 14-team football schedule, which includes its four new members for 2023 along with Oklahoma and Texas before their eventual departures to the Southeastern Conference.

Houston will be the first of the new teams to play a conference game, in Week 3 when the Cougars host former Southwest Conference rival and national champion runner-up TCU in the only league game Sept. 16. The other newcomers play their Big 12 openers the following week, when BYU is at Kansas, Central Florida goes to defending champion Kansas State, and Cincinnati hosts Oklahoma.

After playing a round-robin schedule as a 10-team league since 2011, the Big 12 will still have a nine-game conference schedule without divisions. But there will now be four league teams that each school will not play during the regular season. The two finishers in the conference standings will play in the Big 12 title game.

First-year Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark had said before the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 3 that he expected the schedule to be released in mid-December. It finally came out on the final day of January.

“I would like to thank our fans for their patience awaiting this historic schedule,” Yormark said. “Given its importance, the complexities of weaving in four new schools, adding a third time zone and aligning with key stakeholders we were very deliberate with its development.”

Oklahoma and Texas will move to the SEC no later than the 2025 season, though it is still uncertain if that could happen by 2024. The Sooners and Longhorns play their annual Red River rivalry game Oct. 7 at the State Fair of Texas. Each has four conference home games and four road games outside of that.

BYU is the only of the four new teams that will play both Texas and Oklahoma this season, going to Austin on Oct. 28 and hosting the Sooners on Nov. 18. The Cougars also play only one of their fellow newcomers, hosting Cincinnati for a Friday night game on Sept. 29.

Cincinnati is the only of the new quartet that will play each of the other three teams. The Bearcats host UCF and then go to Houston on the first two Saturdays in November.

Texas, which goes to Alabama on Sept. 9, plays at Houston on Oct. 21 in the first meeting between the former SWC rivals since 2002. The Longhorns host BYU the week after that. They don’t play UCF, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State or West Virginia in conference play.

In addition to its trip to Cincinnati in Week 4, Oklahoma plays at BYU on Nov. 18. The Big 12 teams the Sooners don’t play are Baylor, Houston, Kansas State, and Texas Tech.