Light Bulb Scandal
I can’t possibly introduce the TCU “scandal” better than Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
“The question has often been asked: How many football players does it take to screw in a light bulb? And TCU bravely sought to find the exact answer through its own athletic department. What we learned is that not just football players can do the job. Men’s and women’s basketball players are required to help to complete the arduous task.
"The answer is 33.”
The NCAA put TCU on probation late last week after an investigation into student-athletes’ on-campus jobs. Nearly three dozen student-athletes were paid for work they didn’t do.
Illinois won six games for the first time in five years (and can reach seven wins for the first time in eight years with a win over Cal in the Redbox Bowl). The Illini increased their win total in each of the last three seasons, beat Wisconsin for the first time in 12 years, and won in East Lansing for just the second time in three decades. The program opened a new $80 million facility in August and landed three four-star recruits in their 2019 class.
Lovie Smith thinks that means the Illini have caught Wisconsin and other teams in the Big Ten West. Seriously, Lovie thinks Illinois, a program with 22 wins in the last seven years, has caught Wisconsin, a perennial divisional power and frequent flyer to Indianapolis.
No Court, No Problem
From SI’s Pat Forde:
The latest NCAA NET rankings say that the No. 20 team in the country has not played any road games thus far this season. Truth is, that team has not played any home games. Nor will it, all year.
Say hello to the Duquesne Dukes, undefeated and homeless.
Duquesne is 9–0 for the first time since 1968–69, one of the biggest surprise teams in an early season rife with unexpected developments. Duquesne also is playing zero games on its Pittsburgh campus, where the basketball arena is undergoing a major renovation and will reopen for the 2020–21 season.
Instead, the Dukes are vagabonds. They’re traveling between three arenas in the city for their home contests—PPG Paints Arena for six games, Robert Morris University for four and Division III La Roche University for four. It’s a 28-mile trek one way to Robert Morris and a 10-mile trip to La Roche; fortunately PPG Paints Arena is only a few blocks away.
The Dukes have also scheduled other “home” contests in Akron and Cleveland, where coach Keith Dambrot has roots dating to his time as LeBron James’ high school coach and years coaching the Akron Zips. And they’ve played three games in the Bahamas, with two more this weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla.
In addition to the lack of home games, there is no formal locker room. The coaches’ offices have been relocated to a building down the street. Practices are in the campus rec center—in the morning—and players are changing in an area that used to be a racquetball court. There are no showers, so players have to get back to their apartments or dorms before cleaning up after practice.
Here’s Forde’s full story on Duquesne’s bizarrely amazing season.
Is Burrow the Best?
In watching Joe Burrow win the Heisman by the largest margin ever (and earn the most first-place votes ever), I wondered: "Joe Burrow has gotta be one of the best playoff quarterbacks ever, right? He might even...is...is Joe Burrow the best playoff quarterback ever?"
I ranked every starting quarterback in the six years of the College Football Playoff.
Brad Stevens, Man of the People
Christmas Vacation was the top movie at box offices this week 30 years ago:
Follow me on Twitter, check out my podcast, and bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.