Highest paid NCAA football coaches list has some surprises

On Thursday, USA Today published a report which shows the total pay for each NCAA football coach and there are some surprises.

As you can see below, Nick Saban (Alabama) is the highest-paid college football coach as he is receiving a total pay of $9,5000,000.

Some of you may be surprised to see that Jim Harbaugh (Michigan) is all the way down at No. 32 on the list after he took a pay cut prior to the 2021 season. Harbaugh is the 11th highest-paid coach in the Big Ten.

Michigan State's Mel Tucker comes in at No. 13 on the list (3rd highest paid in the Big Ten).

Rank
Coach
School
Total Pay
Conf.
Scheduled School Pay
Contract Year Pandemic Reduction
Actual School Pay
Total Pandemic Reduction
School Buyout
as of 12/1/2021
1 Nick Saban Alabama $9,753,221* SEC $9,500,000 $0* $9,500,000 $0* $38,400,000
2 Ed Orgeron Louisiana State $9,012,917* SEC $8,687,500 $300,000* $8,387,500 $300,000* $17,150,000
3 David Shaw Stanford $8,924,683* Pac-12 $8,924,683 $0* $8,924,683 $0*
4 Dabo Swinney Clemson $8,370,775* ACC $9,508,575 $1,250,000* $8,258,575 $1,250,000* $47,500,000
5 Lincoln Riley Oklahoma $7,672,710* Big 12 $7,857,293 $214,583* $7,642,710 $515,000* $25,188,000
6 Dan Mullen Florida $7,570,000* SEC $7,570,000 $0* $7,570,000 $0* $12,000,000
7 Jimbo Fisher Texas A&M $7,500,000* SEC $7,500,000 $0* $7,500,000 $0* $95,575,000
8 Kirby Smart Georgia $7,133,600 SEC $7,003,600 $7,003,600 $14,614,167
9 Ryan Day Ohio State $6,614,693* Big Ten $6,750,000 $135,307* $6,614,693 $236,877* $28,416,668
10 Gary Patterson Texas Christian $6,103,543 Big 12 $6,103,543 $6,103,543
11 Pat Fitzgerald Northwestern $5,748,179 Big Ten $5,748,179 $5,748,179
12 Chip Kelly UCLA $5,600,000* Pac-12 $5,600,000 $0* $5,600,000 $0* $9,000,000
13 Mel Tucker Michigan State $5,566,303* Big Ten $5,632,553 $166,250* $5,466,303 $266,000* $19,284,375
14 Steve Sarkisian Texas $5,450,000* Big 12 $5,450,000 $0* $5,450,000 $0* $20,603,333
15 Mark Stoops Kentucky $5,263,600 SEC $5,250,000 $5,250,000 $19,921,875
16 Kyle Whittingham Utah $5,200,000* Pac-12 $5,200,000 $0* $5,200,000 $365,822* $18,250,000
17 Scott Frost Nebraska $5,000,000* Big Ten $5,000,000 $0* $5,000,000 $166,667* $20,416,667
19 Bryan Harsin Auburn $5,000,000 SEC $5,000,000 $5,000,000 $17,791,667
18 Kirk Ferentz Iowa $5,000,000* Big Ten $5,000,000 $0* $5,000,000 $100,000* $16,503,333
20 Mike Leach Mississippi State $5,000,000* SEC $5,000,000 $0* $5,000,000 $0*
21 Lane Kiffin Mississippi $4,841,937* SEC $5,000,000 $158,063* $4,841,937 $293,813*
22 Pat Narduzzi Pittsburgh $4,816,806 ACC $4,816,806 $4,816,806
23 Clay Helton Southern California $4,813,832* Pac-12 $4,813,832 $0* $4,813,832 $0*
24 P.J. Fleck Minnesota $4,420,000* Big Ten $4,650,000 $230,000* $4,420,000 $548,320* $15,851,875
25 Jeff Brohm Purdue $4,417,774* Big Ten $5,000,000 $582,226* $4,417,774 $873,340* $18,966,667
26 Mario Cristobal Oregon $4,402,917* Pac-12 $4,600,000 $197,083* $4,402,917 $360,208* $15,030,000
27 Paul Chryst Wisconsin $4,362,750* Big Ten $4,650,000 $321,250* $4,328,750 $751,250* $19,103,724
28 Tom Allen Indiana $4,260,000* Big Ten $4,310,000 $50,000* $4,260,000 $50,000* $30,000,000
29 Bronco Mendenhall Virginia $4,251,500* ACC $4,250,000 $0* $4,250,000 $264,794* $13,281,250
30 Mike Gundy Oklahoma State $4,203,125* Big 12 $4,375,000 $171,875* $4,203,125 $263,021* $7,119,792
31 Bret Bielema Illinois $4,200,000 Big Ten $4,200,000 $4,200,000 $15,138,425
32 Jim Harbaugh Michigan $4,030,901* Big Ten $4,000,000 $0* $4,000,000 $264,687* $4,444,444
37 Matt Campbell Iowa State $4,000,000* Big 12 $4,000,000 $0* $4,000,000 $248,562* $28,333,333
35 Josh Heupel Tennessee $4,000,000* SEC $4,000,000 $0* $4,000,000 $0* $20,666,667
34 Greg Schiano Rutgers $4,000,000* Big Ten $4,000,000 $0* $4,000,000 $266,664* $19,218,750
36 Eliah Drinkwitz Missouri $4,000,000* SEC $4,000,000 $0* $4,000,000 $100,000* $11,550,000
33 Dana Holgorsen Houston $4,000,000* AAC $4,000,000 $0* $4,000,000 $190,000* $5,431,250
38 Herm Edwards Arizona State $3,886,500 Pac-12 $3,700,000 $3,700,000 $11,408,333
39 Justin Fuente Virginia Tech $3,825,000* ACC $4,250,000 $425,000* $3,825,000 $425,000* $10,000,000
40 Mike Norvell Florida State $3,750,000* ACC $4,250,000 $500,000* $3,750,000 $968,750* $16,220,833
41 Dave Clawson Wake Forest $3,611,071 ACC $3,611,071 $3,611,071
42 Dino Babers Syracuse $3,504,958 ACC $3,504,958 $3,504,958
43 Justin Wilcox California $3,444,996* Pac-12 $3,600,000 $155,004* $3,444,996 $228,756* $16,158,333
44 Mack Brown North Carolina $3,431,250* ACC $2,800,000 $68,750* $2,731,250 $112,500* $2,406,250
45 Luke Fickell Cincinnati $3,400,000* AAC $3,400,000 $0* $3,400,000 $85,000* $20,400,000
46 Karl Dorrell Colorado $3,240,000* Pac-12 $3,400,000 $160,000* $3,240,000 $320,000* $14,800,000
47 Dave Doeren NC State $3,180,000* ACC $3,500,000 $325,000* $3,175,000 $460,417* $7,656,250
48 Scott Satterfield Louisville $3,087,500 ACC $3,250,000 $162,500 $3,087,500 $325,000 $7,515,625
49 Jimmy Lake Washington $3,040,972* Pac-12 $3,100,000 $59,028* $3,040,972 $92,088* $10,416,667
50 Matt Wells Texas Tech $3,034,083* Big 12 $3,100,000 $65,917* $3,034,083 $193,083* $7,099,601