Quick Bit: Sporting News details the ten highest-paid coaches in college football, based on 2022 salaries.

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The bag in college football is different. Nothing exemplifies that more than the bloated salaries some of the nation’s finest coaches receive.

Case in point: Georgia’s Kirby Smart inked a 10-year extension that now makes him the highest-paid college football coach in history. Pretty neat stuff, all things considered.

Smart now sits at the top of the totem pole for collegiate coaches. But just how much are the top coaches in the nation getting paid? Sporting News has you covered.

Who is the highest-paid coach in college football?

For a few months, the answer was Lincoln Riley. Riley spurned Oklahoma for La La Land, taking helm of USC earlier this year. Although private institutions (like USC) aren’t legally obligated to release their employee salaries, estimates placed Riley’s contract at an AAV of $10 million per year.

Smart’s takes the cake with his new deal, though. The terms of the deal (10 years, $112.5 million) mean Smart is making an AAV of $11.25 million per season, a new watermark total.

MORE: Sporting News’ post-portal deadline top 25 – where does Georgia come in?

Alabama’s Nick Saban, who mentored Smart prior to his move to Athens, sits close by, reeling in $9.9 million per season.

Top ten highest paid coaches in college football

Smart isn’t the only SEC coach to get a bag. Four of the ten highest earners in college football are SEC coaches. That’s unsurprising given the dominance of the conference in recent years. After all, 12 of the last 15 national champions have come from the conference.

Big Ten coaches are also well-represented in the list of highest-paid earners. Three Big Ten coaches are ranked in the top 10 earners in the sport (Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, Ohio State’s Ryan Day and Penn State’s James Franklin). That number will only rise once Riley and the Trojans join the conference in 2024. Don’t be surprised to see more Big Ten tacticians break into the list as the conference looks to compete with the SEC for the title of toughest competition in college football.

MORE: College Football Playoff contenders 2022: Who can sneak up on Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia

Here’s the full list of the ten highest-earning coaches in college football based on 2022 salary. Information for the table was provided by using a May report from 247Sports (and ensuing raises from the likes of Ohio State’s Ryan Day):

2022 salary
Kirby Smart
$10.25 million
Lincoln Riley
$10 million*
Nick Saban
$9.9 million
Brian Kelly
$9.5 million
Mel Tucker
Michigan State
$9.5 million
Ryan Day
Ohio State
$9.5 million
Jimbo Fisher
Texas A&M
$9 million
David Shaw
$9 million*
Dabo Swinney
$8.5 million
James Franklin
Penn State
$8.5 million

*Figures shown are estimates only. Private institutions are not legally obligated to release employee salaries.

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