Regardless of what happens with the University of Illinois football team this season, its biggest loss won't come on the field.
It already happened in the home Lovie Smith when the Illini head coach shaved off his beard.
Here's what Smith's beard looked like:
Here's what he looks like now:
It's truly an incalculable loss for the program.
In the world of college football, where tensions run high and consensus comes along as often as a postseason without Alabama, Smith's beard was one of the few things football fans could agree upon.
It was luscious, full of life and mystifying. Now it's gone and college football won't feel the same again.
On the other hand, Illinois hasn't finished with a winning record since the Ron Zook era. After going 6-7 in 2019 with a loss in the Redbox Bowl, Smith has the program ready to take a step forward in 2020.
If he's able to produce to season above .500, he may never be allowed to grow facial hair again. If the program goes backward, he may have to bring it back immediately.