College Football Power Rankings: Which College Coach Is the Most Overpaid?

Jon GilbertCorrespondent IIFebruary 10, 2011

College Football Power Rankings: Which College Coach Is The Most Overpaid?

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Ole Miss Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    College football coaches make incredible amounts of money in today's football-obsessed society. Schools want wins and they want a lot of them. They want conference championships and national championships.

    And they're willing to pay for them.

    According to a study conducted by USA TODAY, at least two-dozen head coaches made more than $2 million in 2010. 

    Doesn't that seem ridiculous?

    There is no doubt that these men work extremely hard in an excruciatingly competitive field, but many are overpaid.

    Here are the 20 most-overpaid head coaches in the FBS.

20. Bo Pelini: Nebraska

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04:  Head coach Bo Pelini of the Nebraska Cornhuskers leads his team against the Oklahoma Sooners at Cowboys Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Sooners beat the Cornhuskers 23-20.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Salary: $2.1 million

    Contract: Through 2013

    Pelini could quickly get himself off this list.

    He has won two Big 12 North titles in two seasons, losing the Big 12 Championship Game narrowly both times. Getting close to conference championships and then heading to the Holiday Bowl doesn't warrant $2 million.

    Not at Nebraska.

    Despite his lack of success in the big game, Pelini appears to have a bright future at Nebraska—get Nebraska to a BCS bowl before that contract expires in 2013 and Pelini will have earned his money.

19. Ron Zook: Illinois

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    CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 02: Head coach Ron Zook of the Illinois Fighting Illini watches as his team takes on the Ohio State Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium on October 2, 2010 in Champaign, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Illinois 24-13. (Photo by Jonathan Dani
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Salary: $1.5 million

    Contract: Through Jan. 2014

    That 2008 Rose Bowl appearance just keeps getting further and further in the past. Meanwhile, Ron Zook has produced seasons of 3-9, 5-7 and 7-6.

    Getting to the Texas Bowl and beating Baylor this season really helped his cause.

    Zook received an extension after that Rose Bowl season and it was a fair decision—considering it was only for one year and didn't include a raise. Thank goodness.

18. Steve Sarkisian: Washington

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    TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Head coach Steve Sarkisian of the Washington Huskies during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona.   The Wildcats defeated the Huskies 44-14.  (Photo by C
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Salary: $2.25 million in 2010

    Contract: Through 2015

    Steve Sarkisian has produced in his first two seasons as the Huskies' head man.

    After Washington went winless in 2008, Sarkisian led the Huskies to a 5-7 record in 2009 and to its first bowl since 2002 this season.

    But how does a guy who has never held a head coaching job in Division I football get a contract that pays more than $2 million each season?

    What's more, he will receive a raise every year and will make $2.85 million in 2015.

17. Les Miles: LSU

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers reacts to a field goal during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies during the AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo b
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Salary: $3.75 million

    Contract: Through 2017

    For how criticized Les Miles is by the LSU fan-base and the national media, he sure does inspire confidence in the people paying him. He just signed a seven-year deal that pays him $3.75 million with plenty of room for incentives.

    He's a terrific and underrated coach, but he is overpaid.

    Until Miles starts winning SEC Championships again instead of tiptoeing around them, the public perceptions about him will not change.

16. Will Muschamp: Florida

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 14:  Former defensive coordinator for the University of Texas, Will Muschamp speaks to the media after being introduced as the head coach of the University of Florida on December 14, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida.  Muschamp is re
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Salary: $2.64 million

    Contract: Through 2015

    Will Muschamp has never been a major college football head coach.

    So, of course the Florida Gators gave him a five-year contract worth $13.5 million to coach one of the premier programs in one of college football's most competitive conferences.

    Did I miss something here?

    Muschamp looks like he'll be a fine football coach, but Florida is overpaying by at least a half-million dollars per season.

    Let the guy prove himself before you fund his retirement.

15. Jim Tressel

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/G
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Salary: $3.5 million

    Contract: Through 2014

    It's hard to say that a coach who has won a share of the Big Ten title six years in a row is overpaid—even at $3.5 million.

    But, it's also hard to say that a coach who hasn't won a national championship since 2002 isn't overpaid at $3.5 million.

    Tressel is close to being accurately paid, but it's still a little too much—Ohio State fell in love with that '02 national championship.

14. Mark Richt: Georgia

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    AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 13:  Head coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Salary: $2.8 million

    Contract: Through 2013

    What exactly has Mark Richt done to earn $2.8 million plus incentives each season?

    Georgia is five seasons removed from its last SEC Championship.

    Richt recruits well, but has failed to consistently translate that talent into success.

    He's done some great things and earned a good part of his paycheck, but definitely not all of it.

13. David Cutcliffe: Duke

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 07:  Head Coach David Cutcliffe of the Duke Blue Devils watches on against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Image
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Salary: $1.5 million

    Contract: Through 2013

    In defense of David Cutcliffe, what does Duke really expect?

    It's Duke.

    It's about academics, not football. Getting six or seven elite basketball players on campus is much easier than 40 football players.

    Even so, Cutcliffe teased with a four-win season in 2008 followed by a five-win season in 2009. That's due reason for excitement in Durham, NC.

    However, it's not worth $1.5 million per season—especially when five wins seems like the best a coach can do consistently.

12. Mike London: Virginia

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 09:  Head coach Mike London of the Virginia Cavaliers against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Salary: $1.7 million

    Contract: Through 2014

    It's a little premature to say that Mike London will never earn his salary, but he definitely didn't in 2010.

    Virginia swung for the fences by giving London—who is in his first Division I head coaching job—a big-time contract.

    He responded by winning two games over FBS programs.

    Two.

    London managed two other victories over FCS teams, but he'll have to pick it up to be worth even half of his salary.

11. Al Golden: Miami (Fla.)

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    CORAL GABLES, FL - DECEMBER 13:  Former Temple University football coach Al Golden, 41, speaks to the media after being introduced as the new head coach at the University of Miami  on December 13, 2010 in Coral Gables, Florida.  Golden is replacing Randy
    Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    Salary: $2 million

    Contract: Through 2014

    Miami expects big things from Al Golden and they are paying him accordingly.

    But how does a coach that led Temple to 17 wins in two seasons suddenly deserve $2 million and the reigns to a premier football program?

    One of the two would be fine, but not both.

    Again, I would let somebody prove themselves at $1.5 million a year and keep an extension and raise in mind if things go well.

    Would Golden have really turned down such an offer to stay at Temple? He made just over $500,000 last season.

10. Gary Pinkel: Missouri

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Head coach Gary Pinkel of the Missouri Tigers reacts on the sidelines during the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona.  The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (Photo
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Salary: $2.55 million

    Contract: Through 2015

    Missouri has enjoyed many of its best seasons under Gary Pinkel. Yet, they've never won a Big 12 championship and have only been to two Big 12 Championship games.

    Pinkel is getting paid like a championship coach: Reduce the salary by 20 percent and then it's fair.

    As it stands, Pinkel is milking it.

9. Jeff Tedford: Cal

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    BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Head coach Jeff Tedford of the California Golden Bears watches his team warm up before their game against the Stanford Cardinal at California Memorial Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Salary: 2.3 million

    Contract: Through 2015

    When expectations are at their highest, the Cal Bears have faltered under Jeff Tedford.

    He's won one Pac 10 championship and finished second only one other time—in nine seasons.

    Tedford has had a nice tenure at Cal, but he's being paid like a top-20 coach.

    Is there any question that Tedford hasn't proven he deserves to be included amongst the coaching elite?

8. Houston Nutt: Ole Miss

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 20:  Head coach Houston Nutt of the Ole Miss Rebels against the Louisiana State University Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Salary: $2.5 million

    Contract: Through 2011 with three-year option

    There are few coaches more entertaining or more dangerous to ranked opponents than Houston Nutt.

    He brought some bright days to Arkansas and has done the same—at times—at Ole Miss.

    At the same time, a few sensational victories don't make up for overall shortcomings.

    $2.5 million per season? That's about $1 million too high.

7. Paul Johnson: Georgia Tech

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 09:  Head coach Paul Johnson of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets against the Virginia Cavaliers at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Salary: $2.3 million in 2010

    Contract: Through 2016

    Georgia Tech wasn't shy when it signed Paul Johnson—they signed him to a seven-year deal worth $11 million and then, promptly gave him a new seven-year deal worth $17.7 million.

    In other words, Johnson was given a $1 million per year raise after one nine-win season.

    Granted—he earned an ACC championship in 2009, but how had he earned such pay before?

    Dropping to 6-7 in 2010 makes the $2.3 million he earned seem a bit crazy.

6. Bob Stoops: Oklahoma

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Bob Stoops looks on while taking on the Connecticut Huskies during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Salary: $4.375 million in 2010

    Contract: Through 2015 with $250,000 raise each season

    By the end of Bob Stoops' contract, he will be earning more than $5 million per season.

    No college coach should make that much.

    And for what? Stoops is one of the best coaches in the country but hasn't won a national championship in 11 seasons.

    He's won seven Big 12 championships, which easily earns him $3 million per season.

    But more than $4 million per year—soon to be $5 million—is an absurd price tag.

5. Jim Grobe: Wake Forest

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    PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Head coach Jim Grobe of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons watches his team play the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Salary: $2.9 million

    Contract: Through 2016

    What exactly is Jim Grobe doing making nearly $3 million per season? More to the point: What is Wake Forest doing paying anyone that much to be its football coach?

    Grobe was paid $2.9 million in 2010 to win one game.

    One!

    He had another one-win season in 2004. He's put together three-win campaigns five times.

    When exactly did he earn such a huge contract, again?

4. June Jones: SMU

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    Salary: $2.1 million

    Contract: Through 2014

    I get it. Southern Methodist wants to return to prominence for the first time since it landed the "Death Penalty" in 1987.

    So it paid for big dollars for the coach it trusted to do help it do that.

    But $2.1 million is too much for a Conference USA coach. It's too much for a Mountain West or WAC coach.

    Neither of those conferences have a $2 million man, unless BYU's Bronco Mendenhall's undisclosed contract makes him one.

3. Mack Brown: Texas

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    DALLAS - OCTOBER 02:  Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns yells on the sidelines during play against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl on October 2, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Salary: $5.1 million

    Contract: Through 2016

    Mack Brown is an elite coach in charge of a premier program, but making him a $5 million man is unjustified.

    He could win three consecutive national championships and still not deserve that—these are football coaches, not CEOs of Fortune 500 companies!

    Brown will get his chance to make a real argument for himself while breaking in inexperienced offensive and defensive coordinators this season.

2. Kirk Ferentz: Iowa

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Head coach Kirk Ferentz of the Iowa Hawkeyes stands in the tunnel before the Insight Bowl against the Missouri Tigers at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona.  The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (Photo b
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Salary: $3.675 million

    Contract: Through 2020

    For some reason, every analyst seems extraordinarily infatuated with Kirk Ferentz. Apparently, so are Iowa executives, who extended his contract through 2020 before the 2010 season.

    What exactly has warranted such a lengthy and expensive contract? Two conference championships to his name and Ferentz makes more than Jim Tressel, who has won seven.

    I'm no mathematician, but that just doesn't make sense.

1. Nick Saban: Alabama

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on from the sideline during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ronald Martin
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Salary: More than $6 million

    Contract: through 2017

    If you need to go throw up, go ahead. I'll wait. You back now?

    This is not an indictment on Nick Saban's coaching ability. He's easily one of the five best coaches in the country and many would argue that he is the very best.

    But even the very best does not deserve $6 million annually.

    Making that type of money, Saban should be expected to win no less than 10 games each season, win an SEC championship every other year and win a national championship every three seasons—at least.