Lovie Smith's A+ beard is the biggest news from Big Ten Media Days thus far

Media days have a propensity for being on the bland side. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh wouldn't tip his hand on where his offseason quarterback battle stood, for example.

Besides, just about everything a coach will tell you this time of year, well, you've already heard it before. The state of the program has never been better. The new freshman class is adjusting well to life on campus. There are great competitions everywhere. That one four-year player has really emerged as a leader and ambassador for the team. This first-year coach is already changing the culture in the locker room so that the team will get back to playing "[insert school] football." So on and so forth. 

That leaves room for more anecdotal side stories, like how Illinois coach Lovie Smith has the best beard we've seen amongst college football coaches so far in 2018. 

Look at how majestic this facial hair has become. It is ultra-classy, and there's almost no room for classy in football. 

Here's an even better look. 

This beard is a display of sheer wisdom and grit. You half-expect Smith to spend the rest of his time in Chicago on an old recliner, pipe in mouth, telling the media stories of years past with life lessons at the end. Afterward, maybe he'll show everyone how to split wood with an axe or re-do your old electrical wiring so that your house is up to code. 

Smith has had a tough go of it at Illinois with a 5-19 record in two seasons, but he also inherited a program that would have struggled to compete in the MAC. Rebuilding that in the Big Ten takes time. With a beard like this, however, Smith has left no doubt: Illinois will be Big Ten champs in the next two to three years. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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