Nick Saban’s crown as highest paid college football coach seems safe, but before this weekend there was a chance someone could’ve commanded similar compensation. Before everything settled this weekend the following Power-5 schools had potential openings: Southern California, LSU, Georgia, Miami and Virginia Tech. That doesn’t take into account schools that could have had openings if their coach left for one of the aforementioned schools — rumors placed Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher as the main target of LSU — or schools that still may fire their current coach — so basically Texas. Now that things have settled, don’t expect there to be bidding wars driving up Power-5 salaries.
The major reason is that most of those schools don’t have openings anymore. It’s supply and demand. USC removed the interim tag from Clay Helton today, naming him the head coach. LSU came to its senses — apparently some time in the third quarter of LSU v. Texas A&M — and announced Les Miles would return. Virginia Tech immediately snapped up Justin Fuente to replace Frank Beamer. That leaves Georgia and Miami as the big-name programs without a head coach. Miami typically isn’t a big spender on coaches, and Georgia will be hard-pressed to offer more than the $4.1 million it spent on Mark Richt.
There still could be a bidding war if Texas relieves Charlie Strong of his duties, but there aren’t that many big names and rising star coaching candidates to go around. Tom Herman looks like he is staying put at Houston, and outside of Herman leaving there isn’t another big name candidate.
Saban will most likely keep his title as highest paid college coach — unless he jumps to the NFL, in which case it would be Jim Harbaugh. It could have been an interesting off-season for the Power-5, but everything seems to be settled. That is until Chip Kelly decides he likes college more than the pros.
Michael Colangelo is Managing Editor of The Fields of Green and Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute.