There are hundreds of players, coaches, athletic directors, school presidents and executives who have vital roles in college football.
After all, the sport would be nonexistent without them, and there are many people behind the scenes who have much larger roles in the sport than we realize.
So who exactly are the most important people in college football right now?
Without any further delay, here is my top 50 list.
Mike Gundy has his Cowboys ranked third in the current BCS standings (highest rank in program history), and there is a great chance they will play in the BCS National Championship Game if they run the table.
With offensive coordinator Todd Monken, OKST ranks in the top five in both scoring offense and total offensive yards per game.
If Oklahoma State were to go on and win its very first national championship, we could bank on Gundy moving up on this list.
As far as T. Boone Pickens, through the years he has been considered by many to give the largest and most generous donations at Oklahoma State.
They named the field after him since it was nearly $500 million that he donated to the school. He is among the wealthy who participate in The Giving Pledge. Without Pickens, the life of Oklahoma State and college football would be different.
Kirk Cousins may not be an All-American signal-caller, but he means so much to the landscape of college football because of what he does off the field.
He truly is what you want your son to become (he was named a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award through community, classroom, character and competition greatness).
Cousins has been an inspiration and has become the top leader in all of college football off the field.
The guy who will forever be known as poisoning Auburn's famous trees at Toomer's Corner is one of the few examples of what is bad about sports.
Sometimes people cannot control their emotions to save their lives, and this is the perfect example. Harvey Updyke has two children named Crimson Tyde and Bear, which says it all for how vital Alabama football is to him.
College football has not necessarily been hurt because of this awful choice the man made, but this gives everybody a lesson on what should never happen. There are good and bad people in life from every team; however, fans need to be able to draw a clear line from hatred to criminal acts.
This former booster has made life miserable for the Miami Hurricanes and newly hired coach Al Golden (you could have him listed here with Shapiro), and most importantly, he put a damper on college football.
Miami was working its way back up to becoming a nationally relevant team, but this man has only hurt the Hurricanes that much more off the field.
It could not have come at a worse time either. The Canes lost their opener against Maryland and had to suspend a few of their players since they received improper benefits from this snake. Did I mention he is currently in jail?
He wanted all of the attention, and he certainly has it now.
Let's just get all of the so-called "bad guys" out of the way in college football.
Will Lyles has been on the record as saying the Ducks paid him $25,000 to help lure recruits on top of giving Oregon more than your typical recruiting information about players coming out of high school.
One of the players the NCAA was looking at was former Duck running back Lache Seastrunk, who has since transferred to Baylor (health of grandma). The link above gives a full timetable of exactly what has occurred thus far between Lyles and Oregon.
Kevin Lennon is the man in charge of student-athlete reinstatement and compliance, among many other issues in the NCAA.
While he may not have any impact on the field or with the BCS standings, he has a large role off the field.
Note: He was the first man fired by the Southwestern Conference after SMU's death penalty.
The No. 1 player in the nation for high school football is always a hot name during the regular season with National Signing Day right around the corner in February.
Having his father play at Florida State was one of the several reasons Edwards committed to Florida State, but he has since backed off and currently remains undecided on where he will be headed next fall.
For all of the televised programs that have been put together, one must look at Burke Magnus of ESPN.
He made ESPNU the popular channel it is today, but he also helped launch the Longhorn Network.
Not only is Sammy Watkins arguably the best receiver in the country, but he also may be the best overall freshman.
He has a great chance to go on and win the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's best wide receiver. Plus, he has helped lead one of the better stories in college football with the young and experienced Clemson Tigers.
Being a executive director of any of the BCS bowls is vital, but nothing beats being the man of the granddaddy of them all.
The 98th Rose Bowl on Jan. 2 should once again be a terrific matchup between the Big Ten and Pac-12.
This Entourage guest star will always be a popular choice inside and outside of Madison, Wisconsin.
The former legendary Badgers coach is the current athletic director and will look to bolster an already rock-solid football program.
One of the more popular athletic teams in the country automatically puts its athletic director and president on this list.
The Irish remain an independent school in football with their gigantic contract with NBC Sports. However, with the basketball team in the Big East, will that ever be a reason to make a change in the future?
Chris Petersen has become one of the top five coaches in America with his 2-0 BCS record since becoming a Bronco legend in 2006.
Petersen is 35-0 at home since taking the helm and is currently an absurd 68-5 overall!
He has gone 40-2 in WAC and Mountain West play combined, and his Smurfs have an opportunity this season to not only go to their third BCS bowl, but also to become the first non-automatic qualifier to play in the BCS National Championship Game.
The former Trojan quarterback is now their athletic director. After having a fairly quick NFL career, Haden became a color commentator for CBS and for NBC's Notre Dame Fighting Irish coverage.
With all the sanctions and issues the Trojans have dealt with, Haden will attempt to get USC back on track with some high-profile games in the near future despite being ineligible to play in a bowl game this season.
The Ducks' Chip Kelly has had his fair share of ESPN College GameDay appearances on and off the set.
Plus, Kelly is one of the top coaches in all of the country, and his Oregon squad remains in the hunt for a Pac-12 championship and a Rose Bowl berth.
The coaches that come up with their own Top 25 are a third of the formula given to the BCS standings.
However, in years past, there has been some criticism, such as with Steve Spurrier giving Duke a vote (it was a preseason poll).
These coaches who give us their 59 first-place votes are a vital formula that determines our top two teams heading into the BCS national championship.
The BCS Orange Bowl will be the last bowl to pick at-large teams for its bowl game even though it's likely to see the ACC and Big East winners with Clemson already having a loss.
Even if Cincinnati runs the table, it's safe to say it will not be playing in the BCS national championship.
Poms will do his best to make this BCS bowl more watchable after seeing Stanford blow out the Virginia Tech Hokies a season ago.
For the first time since 1992, the Southeastern Conference has added another team in the Texas A&M Aggies, though athletic director Bill Byrne is not the one who really fell in love with the move.
"If we looked at where we stacked up financially in the Pac-10 conference, we were about third. If we looked at where we stacked up in the Southeastern Conference, we were eighth out of 12. We didn't rank very well," said Byrne last year.
The Aggies will likely be in the SEC West, which is not good. Since 2004, they have lost their six games against the SEC by a combined score of 236-125.
The BCS standings show BCS Countdown on the ESPN family of networks has been more entertaining than NFL games on Sunday and Monday nights combined.
That just goes to show you how much anticipation there is each and every week of where your favorite team will be ranked.
The Harris Poll has 115 voters who will put a mark of their own on who plays in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game.
This quarterback has more on his mind than just setting every single record in the books.
His Cougars are currently undefeated and may soon crack the Top 10 if they were to run the table, and there is even an outside (slim) chance they play in a BCS bowl if Boise State or another one-loss team were to lose.
Being one of the six voters may not seem like a big deal, but these two share a vote in the BCS computer rankings. They are one of the four voters who have Boise State at the No. 4 spot.
If Oklahoma State and Stanford both lose, there is a great chance that the coaches and Harris polls give some love to Boise State as well.
The biggest shocker may be putting the Houston Cougars at No. 8 in their rankings. If Boise State loses, most have to imagine the Cougars having a decent chance of playing in a BCS bowl.
The Sugar Bowl has the second selection behind the Fiesta Bowl in the at-large bid process, but more than likely it will be headlined by the loser of the LSU Tigers-Alabama Crimson Tide game.
The opponent could be Boise State or perhaps Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal if they fail to win the Pac-12.
There is a good chance the Big 12 runner-up plays in this game as well. Either way, Paul Hoolahan can bank on another sellout crowd in the Louisiana Superdome with an SEC giant playing in it.
Wolfe is one of the six BCS computer voters, and he currently has Boise State over Stanford despite the three-overtime victory that Luck and the Cardinal were able to pull off.
He dropped Clemson from fourth to eighth with its recent loss to Georgia Tech on the road, and he also has Houston ranked 11th.
The "Mad Hatter" of the Bayou Bengals has a chance to win his second BCS national championship this season.
Clearly, there will be no bigger game of his career in the regular season than "The Game of the Century" against Alabama this weekend.
Les has become a current icon of the game with his grass-eating, fourth-down, fake field goal ways. Oh, and he knows how to win the big games too.
Call Wes Colley a pig hater, as he currently has the Razorbacks 16th in his BCS rankings, but overall he makes his rankings based on how impressive you look.
Also known as the eyeball test, it would be a true saying, as his Colley Matrix currently has Boise State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Clemson and Houston from fourth to eighth in the rankings.
Without ESPN, who knows what our lives would be like?
ESPN's College GameDay is one of the finest shows out there, and the pageantry that Lee Corso and gang show just makes you fall for college football each and every fall Saturday.
This computer voter currently has Alabama second and LSU third, but luckily, they will decide who is the best team in the nation on the field this Saturday night.
Some of Kenneth Massey's interesting picks would be having Kansas State ranked sixth and Stanford eighth. I do not mind the Stanford vote since their best opponent all season has been a barely ranked Trojans squad, but the Wildcats were obliterated by Oklahoma.
The biggest reason why many people love college football is because of the legendary Lee Corso.
Donning the program's mascot head for whom he thinks will win on College GameDay will forever remain one of the most entertaining and exciting things to see in person or on television.
Corso gets you pumped every weekend with the pageantry he possesses, and it is amazing he continues to bring us his best every single weekend.
The only computer voter who does not have Oklahoma State No. 1 is Mr. Richard Billingsley.
He currently has the LSU Tigers atop his poll, but he has a few other choices that go against the grain (as far as the computer voters).
He has Nebraska ranked eighth and does not even have Houston ranked!
Urban Meyer is still a hot commodity despite supposedly being "out of the game," though he has been rumored to become a future head coach for a prestigious program.
Let it be known there are not many bigger jobs than Ohio State. Meyer is an Ohio-born coach but remains an ESPN broadcaster alongside Dave Pasch and Chris Spielman.
This shake-and-bake freak machine could be on his way to winning the second Heisman Trophy in Alabama's storied history.
His performance against the Bayou Bengals this weekend in "The Game of the Century" could ultimately give him that stiff-armed trophy.
Just being the father of all-everything Heisman front-runner Andrew Luck makes Oliver Luck popular, but he is quite the busy man with everything he is doing for West Virginia.
With the Mountaineers on their way to the Big 12, will Luck see all of his athletic teams achieve a ton of success?
Jim Delany has his first-ever Big Ten championship coming up at Lucas Oil Stadium, and it should be quite the anticipation of a game at the moment since we do not have a clue who will be playing in it.
Plus, the addition of Nebraska is looking like a solid gamble since it just crushed Michigan State at home. The prestige that program has will continue to be a huge addition to the Big Ten.
Minus the wacky division names, I have no beef with the Big Ten other than last year's inability to win on New Year's Day.
Bringing in Miami, Boston College and Miami was huge even though it has only been the Hokies who have been relevant on a consistent basis.
However, bringing in Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be a big hit in basketball, though it remains to be seen how much it will help out football in the long run.
Though Colorado and Utah have not been huge hits right out of the gate, Scott has in part given the Pac-12 its very first conference championship game this season.
The team with the best record in conference will host the championship game with the winner earning an automatic berth in the BCS. Plus, with Stanford and Oregon up in the Top Five to Top 10, there is a chance that a BCS national championship could be on the line on Dec. 9th.
Having TCU come to the Big 12 may be a big hit in the near future (July 2012). However, losing Colorado and Nebraska has cost the conference a championship game in early December (12-team minimum is required).
Still, it has West Virginia coming, and depending on what happens with Missouri (doubtful it stays), Neinas will need to lure another team to get the conference back to 10-plus teams.
Coming off his 409th career victory at Penn State is remarkable, but people are forgetting that Penn State is currently undefeated in the Big Ten Conference.
Joe Paterno has been the greatest ever by consistently winning games without making much of a big deal about it. He may be down to his last season or so, but this legend will forever remain vital in the history of college football.
Not only is Gene Smith the chairman of the NCAA college basketball selection committee for the NCAA tournament, but he is also the athletic director of one of the biggest athletic programs in the entire country.
Smith is currently the eighth AD at Ohio State, but he remains a popular figure, as he was named to the "50 Most Powerful African-Americans in Sports" by Black Enterprise.
Even though Kansas State lost to Oklahoma by seemingly 100 points, Jeff Sagarin has Kansas State ranked higher than any voter in America (sixth).
He also has Stanford eighth and Boise State sixth, which does not exactly remain popular at the moment in Palo Alto or Boise.
The Boise State Broncos are in need of a change to a different conference, preferably a power six BCS conference.
The Big 12 could be an option and may seem like the logical choice, but there is nothing logical from a geographical standpoint.
The Broncos have been rumored to go to the Big East many times, but time will tell where they will eventually land.
Ah, where in the world would we be without Phil Knight and Nike?
All of the former and current programs who have chosen the different uniform combinations have actually played a gigantic role in college football with recruiting.
Also, let it be known that many collegiate athletes prefer to look flashy on and off the field in their Nike gear.
Currently in his second term as the president of Ohio State, E. Gordon Gee is currently remembered for saying that Boise State and TCU should never appear in a BCS national championship since they could not hang with the big boys.
The Horned Frogs then beat Wisconsin, and he has since not said a word.
However, Gee has quite the résumé in his career (Vandy, Brown, Colorado, West Virginia) and has made significant impacts on top of being one of the more popular people in the sport still to this day.
The top at-large bid selection in this year's BCS bowls will be the Fiesta Bowl, and Robert Shelton and the company will have a few tough decisions to make.
Obviously, it depends on who is playing in the BCS national championship. However, it is almost safe to say that a Big 12 representative will be playing in Glendale, Ariz.
We could see Boise State, Stanford/Oregon, another BCS at-large team or perhaps even the Houston Cougars on Jan. 2nd.
Whether or not the Big 12 plays in this bowl may decide, but he will have a tough choice to make.
So, predicting in advance, who do you think he will take?
Kellen Moore is currently tied with Colt McCoy with 45 career wins, an all-time FBS record that will soon be broken. Great quarterbacks are hard to come by these days since they usually bolt three years after high school.
However, Moore may be one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in the history of the BCS era, leading the Broncos to an undefeated season in 2009 and 12 wins in the other two seasons. Plus, he has a chance to have another undefeated one this season.
This Bronco is more than just a winning signal-caller; he is one of the thousands of reasons why college football is thrilling to watch.
He is the ultimate leader and was never even considered a can't-miss prospect coming out of Prosser High School in Washington, yet he has been among the top players in the nation for the past few seasons.
Moore will have to continue to shut up the naysayers at the next level, but he has a few challenges ahead of him this season that could allow his legacy to grow even further.
Since coming over from the Miami Dolphins, Saban has put the Alabama Crimson Tide back on the map. He has already won a national championship and has the makings of winning a few more with the way he recruits and coaches on game day.
Nick Saban (whether you dislike or love him) is vital to the sport of college football, and he could probably run for mayor in Tuscaloosa. He has a presence that he always brings with him wherever he goes.
He is the perfect players' coach and prepares better than arguably any coach in the entire nation. It is a blessing to coach one of the greatest programs in the history of college football, but it is not easy to always live up to the hype.
Saban was named the most powerful coach in all of sports by Forbes magazine, and he is on pace to become another legendary coach in the SEC and for the Tide of Alabama.
Though West Virginia has just sued John Marinatto for the instability of the Big East, this man is beyond important. With all of the conference expansion, everybody wants to know what in the world the Big East is going to do next.
Will it be able to lure Boise State with the loss of West Virginia to the Big 12, or will it add somebody else? Will it lose its automatic qualifying team into the BCS, or will adding a team avoid that thought?
Marinatto has a full plate already to begin with, and all of the conference expansion has only added to the pressure, work and importance of the Big East commissioner.
Finally, Andrew Luck has been beaten and failed to top some type of list.
The current Heisman front-runner is attempting to accomplish the trifecta: No. 1 pick in NFL draft, win a Heisman and, more importantly, win a BCS national championship.
He pretty much owns the landscape of college football, and if he were to get a chance to play in the BCS national championship to pull off all three unimaginable goals, I would have no problem ranking him atop this list.
The former University of Washington president took the job of president of the NCAA in April of 2010. When he was the president of Washington, he only made less money than one president (Ohio State's E. Gordon Gee).
Nowadays, he makes and calls all the shots in the NCAA and has recently been quoted as saying, "The presidents and I are adamant about making significant changes that will shift the dynamics that are going on in college athletics, and we're doing so in rapid order. Proposals will not go through normal legislative cycles. They're getting voted on right now."
With no college football commissioner, Emmert is starting to step up to the plate and make some changes in college football sooner rather than later.
Mike Slive has quite the workload at the moment since he is attempting to get his 14th team into the SEC alongside the Aggies of Texas A&M.
This is the best conference in America by far in college football, but is adding Texas A&M really that much of an upgrade? Does the SEC need more help?
Obviously, if and when the SEC adds a 14th school, it could potentially open a can of worms for the additions of mega-conferences. There are currently six conferences representing the BCS, but will there soon be less or even more perhaps?
Mr. Slive is one of the most vital people currently in college football since he has so many decisions to make.
Let us all pretend we are the commissioner of the SEC (or pretend to be a commish of college football)—what will or should we do next?
Don't you just love the BCS?
Bill Hancock is the exclusive and lone BCS administrator and is your so-called boss of the BCS and college football.
Hancock is the obvious choice as the most important person in college football, and because of him, this sport is arguably the most entertaining in the entire world (my opinion).
How much would college football change if there was not a bowl system with BCS standings coming out every week? How much of the pageantry and excitement would be gone?
Every Sunday night, most fans stand in front of their plasma awaiting the results of the current and updated BCS standings.
The regular season is easily the most exciting of any sport (again, my opinion, though I am not alone) due to the fact that every single game matters.
Without the BCS, the life of college football as we know it would be completely different and unimportant.