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Founder, The Sports Court
In a day and age where NIL and the transfer portal have ruled the roost of college football - it’s a small campus, under-the-radar, overlooked team that captivated the hearts of millions around the country and booked their ticket into the College Football Playoffs Championship.
The story of the Texas Christian University Football Team is a story led by the epitome of an underdog, Max Duggan.
Duggan is perhaps the best QB to play for TCU since the days of Sammy Baugh back in the 1930s. It’s been nearly a century since Baugh played for the Horned Frogs but TCU is back in the glory land thanks to Duggan.
Duggan, a native of Council Buffs, Iowa, was a true-freshman starter in 2019 and threw for school freshman records with 2,077 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Seen as one of the best freshman quarterbacks in the nation, Duggan was hoping to continue his success into the 2020 season. However, this was done with a fair bit of struggle along the way that put a dent into his training and physical health.
Duggan found out he had been born with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition that affects the heart to beat abnormally for fast periods of time. He had to have a 9-hour surgery to fix the problem and following that, Duggan suffered a blood clot that saw him go under another emergency surgery.
The surgery for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome meant he had to put catheters in his neck and groin.
Despite this all, Duggan remained faithful and confident he could play in the 2020 season, which is exactly what he did.
Duggan didn’t miss a single game that 2020 season and the Horned Frogs finished the season 5-4 in the COVID-shortened year.
Although the season was cut short and TCU didn’t exactly have the standout season fans would’ve hoped - one thing was evident, Duggan was a warrior. He didn’t let anything stop him and he went from battling blood clots to putting his body on the line for the program, earning the respect of those around him.
However, just when everything seemed to be getting better following his surgeries and the 2020 season in which he led the team in rushing, Duggan struggled in 2021.
The program was losing games and Duggan wasn’t playing well. A big factor in this was a broken bone and tendon in his foot that he suffered.
Duggan was eventually pulled in TCU’s road loss against Kansas and his backup, Chandler Morris, came in and threw for 461 yards as TCU upset the #12 Baylor Bears in the next game out.
Many TCU fans thought this would be the end of the Max Duggan era and he would transfer - especially after interim coach Sonny Dykes said there would be a competition for the starting role in 2022.
By August of 2022, it was confirmed by Dykes after the summer practices that Morris would be starting. Rather than quit - or put his name in the transfer portal, Duggan stayed with the team. This came as a surprise to many fans who all knew he could start for a smaller D1 program, but Duggan knew in his heart that he did not come this far to stop now. His goal remained the game - to help TCU lift a National Championship, and if he was a backup, he would be the best backup in the country.
In the first game of the season against Colorado, Morris injured his knee and Duggan led TCU to two touchdowns and from there - a season for the history books.
Duggan’s toughness was shown throughout the season as he helped drag TCU to a 12-0 record by the time of the Big 12 Championship Game - a game in which they fell short to Kansas State but despite that, Duggan was the talk of the town due to his awe-inspiring performance.
Duggan threw for 3321 yards and 30 TDs and only 4 interceptions. Duggan was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and won the Davey O’Brien Award & Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
In addition, Duggan finished second in Heisman voting, only behind Caleb Williams.
Tonight - on December 31, 2022, Duggan accomplished his most miraculous feat yet, leading TCU to a National Championship Game.
In a day and age where coaches are ‘buying players’ with NIL Booster Clubs - as seen in the Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher debacle prior to the CFB season, it’s a school with 12,273 students and a 325-acre campus that is headed to Sofi Stadium.
It’s a school whose backup quarterback became the Heisman runner-up. It’s a school whose head coach built a winning culture in his first season. It’s a school that emphasizes the beauty of college football.
Everyone has a chance, whether you like it or not. TCU was unranked coming into the season and are now patiently awaiting their opponent for the National Championship. It’s a story for the ages and one of the greatest underdog stories in recent college football history.
Max Duggan and Texas Christian University show exactly why college football is the best, and now, they are one offensive explosion away from entrenching their names into College Football History. This is what movies are made of.
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Founder, The Sports Court
It’s not often that an audience of over 3 billion people get to witness a passing of the torch moment from one GOAT of a generation to the GOAT of a new generation, but on December 18, at 10 AM Eastern Standard Time, that is exactly what the fans will witness.
The script writes itself. Lionel Messi, the greatest player of all time, the little magician from Rosario, Argentina, who has been able to score 791 goals and tally 350 assists in his storied career goes against the young hotshot, Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe, a fan of Messi’s rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, growing up, has the chance to keep Ronaldo’s name alive in the GOAT conversation with a win, and a chance to put his name right in there. At 23, this is Mbappe’s second World Cup final. In 2019, as a 19-year-old, Mbappe became the first teenager to score in the World Cup since Pele.
Mbappe has lighting quick pace and supreme technical skills all capped off with a rocket of a foot. At the age of 23, Mbappe has 114 more goals and 29 more assists than Messi did at that age.
Kylian Mbappe has the it-factor, he shows up when the lights shine the brightest, as seen in his two World Cup’s. He already has 9 goals, putting him tied for 15th place of all-time, and ahead of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Diego Maradona, and just two behind Lionel Messi.
To put the cherry on top, Messi and Mbappe are currently teammates for Paris Saint Germain in Ligue 1.
This World Cup Final will be by no exaggeration the biggest soccer game of all time.
After a shock loss in the opening match, Messi has led Argentina to the World Cup Final. Since that upset, Argentina has coasted by Mexico, Poland, Australia, Netherlands, and eventually, Croatia, en route to the final.
Meanwhile, France, coasted by Australia 4-1, then beat Denmark before falling to Tunisia in a game where they rested their main starters. In the knockout rounds, France knocked off Poland, England, and Morocco.
France’s play has been highlighted by the star that is Kylian Mbappe alongside Giroud who has been scoring a surplus of goals from the central striker position and Ousmane Dembele on the opposite flank.
The midfield of France is deadly, Antoinne Griezmann played under Giroud last game, and similar to Roy Kent of Ted Lasso, Griezmann was here, there, and everywhere. Griezmann’s defensive duties, along with Giroud also helping support, have left space behind for Kylian Mbappe to exploit while also giving him minimal defensive duties.
Another key piece for France is Aurelien Tchouameni, the 22-year-old midfielder that plays club football at Real Madrid and has made his presence known to the world by scoring a worldie against England.
Meanwhile, the Argentinians have been dragged to the final by moments of brilliance from Lionel Messi.
Messi made Josko Gvardiol - perhaps the best center-back of the entire tournament - look like a little kid in a moment of individual brilliance against Croatia in which he burnt by Gvardiol before assisting Alvarez.
Julian Alvarez has overtaken the starting position at the 9 from Laturo Martinez and has run with it, literally and figuratively.
Alvarez’s solo effort in the 39th minute of the match put Argentina 2-0 up following a Messi penalty kick and was the icing on the cake to cement the Croatians a place in the third-place match and book Argentina their ticket to the final.
Enzo Fernandez, the 21-year-old central midfielder from San Martin, Argentina, currently plays for Benfica is primed for a big move after his stellar play throughout the tournament.
Argentina likes to play Messi through the middle and attack from there, as France’s ideology is much different. France tends to find Mbappe and Dembele out wide and let them take on defenders 1 on 1.
The biggest difference maker in this game will be the speed that Kylian Mbappe possesses and how the Argentinian defense can control it. If they cannot, France should find relative ease in this game as they know how to finish a good opportunity, not often letting them go to waste.
However, if Argentina can gameplan around defending Kylian Mbappe, it just takes one moment of Messi's brilliance to turn this game upside down.
Every piece of my brain tells me France is winning tomorrow, but something in my heart sees this game going into extra time with a winner from Julian Alvarez.
Argentina 3 - France 2.
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All Editorials written by Chris Dailey