I want to share this with other Sandy Bridge users, hopefully to prevent some frustration.

After upgrading to SB, I was surprised that my gaming controllers were completely unrecognized by the system, regardless of the port they were attached to (2.0 or 3.0), or the kernel version.

After reading about USB 3.0, and the many continuing challenges with it, I disabled it in BIOS, and this immediately restored the functionality of my controllers.

Note: the exact motherboard I am using is a Gigabyte H67N-USB3-B3, I am not sure if all USB3 controllers have the same issue, so YMMV.