(If you're wondering, the stats say the Bulls' problems under Holtz rested largely on the offense. Snyder's USF defenses ranked 17th and 39th in the nation in total yardage allowed.)
Actually, two of Snyder's most impressive MU wins came against Holtz's ECU team (26-7 in 2007) and Sumlin's Houston team (37-23 in 2008). Both were dominating defensive performances we didn't expect, against rising stars such as Chris Johnson and Case Keenum.
And keep in mind the dynamics of football coaching. However tight you think that fraternity is, you're probably underestimating - between the many job changes and all those crossed paths on the recruiting trail, a lot of coaches know a lot about a lot of other coaches.
All that networking brought Snyder to College Station, and it brought him to Alabama last November. In a twist of fate, Marshall was playing at Alabama-Birmingham, which put the Herd and Aggies in nearby hotels in that city. Snyder even visited the MU hotel that Friday.
As Saturday dawned, both teams went their separate ways, literally and figuratively. In Tuscaloosa, Snyder's defense played well enough for Manziel and the Aggies to shock the Crimson Tide, while his old school suffered a loss to UAB not unlike the ugly 2008 setback at Legion Field.
Today, it's stunning to see how different Texas A&M's world looks. Argue that it means nothing, but CBS Sports put the Aggies atop its first 2013 rankings compiled minutes after 'Bama sent Manti Te'o bawling to his girlfriend.
Marshall is not in horrendous shape after a 5-7 season, though it did apply for federal disaster aid for its defense. Its Conference USA neighborhood is changing radically, though.
Sumlin's old team is gone with three others, and Holtz's old team heads out with Tulane (really?) after the coming season. Of the eight teams entering C-USA, five weren't even playing football during Marshall's undefeated season of 1999.
Rightly or not, Snyder's 22-37 era takes a lot of blame for MU being a passenger in this NASCAR wreck of a realignment. Budget-wise, the school fits better in the new lineup and the Herd may prosper on the field.
But you have to wonder: Could the Herd have even gotten into C-USA from the Mid-American Conference in this round?
Meanwhile, Snyder might be paid comparably to what he earned at MU, and has a legitimate shot at his second national championship ring. So yes, he has done nicely since leaving Huntington.
In this round of conference realignment, there seems to be one human who has hit the jackpot, above all others.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.