Watching the Week 7 outcomes unfold, a theme arose: Some schools aren’t getting a good — or even adequate — return on investment from their high-dollar coaches. The college football coaching market has ballooned and universities hand out massive contracts like candy on Halloween.
Texas A&M is the poster child for this with its humungous, fully guaranteed deal for Jimbo Fisher, whose team is now 4-3 after a 20-13 road loss at Tennessee. Mark Stoops is making over $9 million dollars a year at Kentucky, and he’s lost his last two games by a combined score of 89-34. Stoops’ status within the program is unwavering, but the price per win is notable.
Michigan State, in fact, may avoid a considerable buyout nearing $80 million depending on the result of a sexual misconduct case against former coach Mel Tucker.
Some programs pay a king’s ransom to attract a top-billed coach from another program. Miami ran off a Manny Diaz to sign Oregon’s Mario Cristobal to a 10-year contract worth $80 million. The Hurricanes are off to an 0-2 start in ACC play in Year 2 under Cristobal following one of the worst blunders in college football history against Georgia Tech and a follow-up loss to North Carolina.
USC made Lincoln Riley the fourth-highest paid coach in the sport, and now the Trojans appear, at best, to be the third-place team in the Pac-12. Their 28-point loss to Notre Dame was a thorough dispatching. The Sooners, meanwhile, are paying Brent Venables, Riley’s replacement, just over $7 million a year — nearly $4 million less — and he has Oklahoma right in the thick of the College Football Playoff race.
To be fair, some of these crazy extensions and big-money deals work out. Coaches like Alabama’s Nick Saban and Georgia’s Kirby Smart…