Tennessee and Florida State are hoping they've found something they long took for granted: stability.
Remember when it was a given in Knoxville and Tallahassee.
Bobby Bowden was the head coach at Florida State since 1976. Phillip Fulmer led the Vols through the 'T' since 1992. Johnny Majors did the same before Fulmer for 15 full seasons.
Time, however, brought change. Since firing Fulmer, UT has hired two coaches in little more than a year. Bowden begrudgingly turned over the reigns at Florida State to head-coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher.
Credit both UT's latest staffs and Fisher's with salvaging recruiting classes that could have easily slipped into the dumpster.
Playing time, academic support and facilities are all important in recruiting. But all pale in comparison to stability.
Think any of the prospects who signed to play for Lane Kiffin thought he'd be gone in a year? Not a chance.
Think any of the prospects who signed with Derek Dooley have doubts about his longevity? Nope, or they would have signed elsewhere.
Florida State's change brought some much-needed stability. Recruiters from other schools regularly used Bowden's age and pending retirement as a reason to look elsewhere.
It was evident in Bowden's final few seasons, as the Seminoles looked like just another team, instead of the ultra-talented 'Noles who struck fear in opposing programs during the 1990s.
"What people want is clarity," Fisher said. "They don't want any indecision. They don't want any confusion."
With stability (or at least the perception of it), the Seminoles' recruiting soared. FSU picked up two highly rated prospects, linebacker Jeff Luc and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner, soon after Bowden officially stepped down. Those two signings helped the Seminoles to the 10th-best class in the nation, according to Rivals and Scout.
"You saw once it happened (but) I don't think it had anything to do with me or that Coach Bowden left," Fisher said. "Jeff Luc and LaMarcus Joyner and those guys got on board right away because they knew exactly where it was going."
The stability in Tallahassee won't be a good thing for the Vols when they recruit in Florida.
The three big schools in Florida haven't looked collectively stronger in more than a decade. The Gators are as good as ever. Miami appears to be re-emerging and Florida State has a long-term plan for the future.
Moreover, South Florida has shown an ability to stand toe-to-toe with other schools for the second-level prospects who used to venture elsewhere.
"We're starting to get a grasp," Fisher said when asked if those schools could close Florida's borders. "We're getting much more aggressive.
"We are definitely trying to lock this state down to make sure we get the guys from within this state that we need."
Fisher thought so much of in-state recruiting that he tabbed a former Vol to head up his recruiting in South Florida. Eddie Gran spent one year at UT, but quickly surfaced as one of its best recruiters under Kiffin.
Now he's ready to cover the Miami area for FSU.
"We're very, very lucky to have him," Fisher said.
Fisher said stability - and a family environment - helped FSU lure Gran from UT.
Florida State helped ease the transition from Bowden to Fisher by giving Fisher a massive amount of input into the 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes. The Vols were forced to provide the same sense of stability during their most recent transition.
UT assistants Lance Thompson and Jim Chaney offered vast recruiting connections and an offensive system that could excite prospects.
Still, that's not true stability, which makes one wonder what a young, up-and-coming coach can do at UT when he's got stability to sell along with the school's other strengths.
Maybe this time we'll find out.
Dave Hooker covers recruiting. He can be reached at email@example.com.