Top of the Morning, Aug. 24, 2018

Top of the Morning, Aug. 24, 2018

When LOVIE SMITH was hired as Illinois football coach in March 2016, he had the full support of former Illini JASON DAVIS, who played for Smith with the Chicago Bears.

"There's really not anyone like him, how he commanded respect without losing his temper and without yelling." Davis said at the time. "He was stern and fair, but respected us as players and as men at the same time. Playing for Lovie was probably one of the best experiences of my life."

Now, Davis will get to work with Smith again. The Illini fullback from 2002-05 has been hired as sideline reporter for the Fighting Illini Sports Network. He replaces CAREY DAVIS, who took a job coaching at his old high school, Hazelwood (Mo.) Central.

"I always had dreams of being on the sidelines and doing commentary," Davis said. "I thought it was an amazing opportunity to just be a part of what Lovie is growing there with the Illini."

No arm-twisting needed to get him to take the gig.

"I'm just chomping at the bit," Davis said. "It's nothing new to me to follow in Carey's footsteps."

Davis spent time in the NFL with the Eagles, Raiders, Bears and Jets. He lives in Chicago.

On to my weekend recommendations:


"SafeWord," 10 p.m., MTV

It's a new season for the game show, hosted by Terrence J. Celebrity friends compete in a string of daring games.


"Old School," 5 p.m., TNT

A little bit of Vince Vaughn goes a long way, but in this film, he is solid as a guy who talks his older friends into starting a "fraternity." Will Ferrell and Luke Wilson also star. Be on the lookout for cameos by James Carville and Snoop Dogg.


"Heisman Trophy Preview Show," 2 p.m., ESPN

It is never too early to start hyping the best-known award in college sports. Desmond Howard, the 1991 winner, takes a look at the top candiates along with former Ohio State receiver Joey Galloway. T.O.T.M. is a longtime Heisman voter and appreciates the insight.