It is not always all about the head coach. Not this time of year. In the downtime between regular-season/conference title games and the start of the gazillion bowl games, college football is really all about the coordinators.
Skeptics need only reference the seminal case of recently fired Florida head coach Will Muschamp.
Even after Coach Boom was booted out of The Swamp, Muschamp was in such high demand he was able to choose his destination and submitted to grip-and-grin pictures with Gus Malzahn as Auburn's new defensive coordinator.
Did we mention that Muschamp is expected to earn $1.6 million a year for getting the ball back to Malzahn as quickly as possible?
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
As you know, Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops is on the lookout for a new offensive coordinator now that Neal Brown is making all the big decisions at Troy.
For those anxious about the fact Stoops seems to be taking his sweet time to bring a new play-caller into the fold, there's a perfectly legitimate reason for being prudent.
Hiring the right coordinator is a big deal.
Don't think so? Look at Lane Kiffin's effect on the Alabama offense. Look at the job offensive coordinator Tom Herman did at Ohio State, a national semifinalist despite losing its top two quarterbacks to season-ending injuries. Herman was rewarded with the head coaching job at Houston.
Look at Louisville, where this time a year ago Tom Jurich reached deep into his bank account and ponied up $1 million a year to lure defensive coordinator Todd Grantham from Georgia.
The result: Louisville went 9-3 and will play, in a crazy coincidence, Georgia in the Belk Bowl.
Look at Tuesday's firestorm when word leaked Florida had poached the staff at Mississippi State to make defensive coordinator Geoff Collins the first big hire by new head coach Jim McElwain in Gainesville.
Collins' exit should not have come as a complete surprise considering the DC got his fanny roasted in very public fashion by his boss after State's 31-17 loss to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.
In the postgame press conference, Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen was asked about Ole Miss's string of chunk plays, to which Mullen replied, "That's a terrible job by our defensive coaching staff."
Tuesday, no doubt as damage control over a 10-2 team losing its top defensive aide, Mullen termed Collins' exit as "a lateral move."
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's Vanderbilt. Following a 3-9 dud of a debut, head coach Derek "I'm Not James Franklin" Mason canned his offensive and defensive coordinators. In nothing of a surprise, Mason has yet to hire/find replacements.
Then there's South Carolina, where fans hoped Steve Spurrier would hire Muschamp, even though the Gamecocks still have a defensive coordinator in Lorenzo Ward, who couldn't stop Kentucky's Wildcat formation or little else, it turned out.
In a different twist, the website footballscoop.com reported that Steve Spurrier Jr. is among the people Stoops has talked to about the Kentucky opening.
Makes sense. Many moons ago, Bob Stoops was Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator at Florida. The Stoops family and the Spurrier family are close.
Meanwhile, most of the rumor mill has centered on East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, a 31-year-old wunderkind from the Mike Leach branch of the Air Raid tree.
Riley was asked about the Kentucky rumors at a press conference previewing the Pirates' Birmingham Bowl game against Florida. He responded by pointing to the Pirates logo on his shirt and saying, "I'm here. I'm ready to coach the bowl game.
What does that mean exactly? Who knows? Coaching searches are all about plausible deniability, after all. Riley could still end up being Stoops' guy, or he could stay at ECU and Stoops could hire a completely different guy.
Here's what we do know: These days, coordinators are very important guys.