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Big Ten Coach's New Facial Hair Was The Talk Of Media Day

Lovie Smith spots a beard at Big Ten Media Days.

Lovie Smith has to win some football games to get himself off the hot seat at Illinois. It doesn't count in the record books, but he might've won Big Ten Media Day today.

Smith arrived in Chicago sporting a pretty serous gray beard. Illinois football hasn't bee much to write home about for a few years, but Smith's new facial hair definitely drew some eyes, and tweets.

This is probably going down as the highlight of the Illinois portion of media days, for better or worse.

Here is Lovie Smith's beard, vs. the Illinois coach's previous clean-shaven look:

Through two years, Smith is just 5-19 at Illinois. Beard or no beard, that won't cut it.

At the time, he was an unconventional hire by the Fighting Illini. He had never been a college head coach, and hadn't coached at the college level in any capacity since 1995, when he was an assistant at Ohio State.

Smith was the long-time head coach of the Chicago Bears, leading the Windy City's NFL team from 2004-2012. He reached the playoffs three times during that span, making the Super Bowl in the 2006-07 season, a loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

After being let go, he had two unsuccessful seasons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach from 2014-2015, going 8-24 with the team.

Illinois football has been wading through mediocrity for a long time now. The team last made a bowl in 2014, under Tim Beckman, who was fired just ahead of the 2015 after allegations of abuse by players.

The last coach to post a record of over .500 during his tenure at Illinois was John Mackovic, who led the team from 1998-1991 before taking the job at Texas.