Hot seats, cool extras for coaches

In the big business that major college football has become it doesn’t take much before a coach is declared to be on the hot seat.

Close to home you have a small minority of Ohio State fans and some media outlets in search of internet clicks who speculate that Ryan Day, with a 53-6 career record, could be on the hot seat if OSU loses to Michigan again this season.

There is no doubt Penn State coach James Franklin’s name would have been added to the hot seat list if the Nittany Lions had followed up a tenth loss in 11 years to Ohio State with an unthinkable loss to Indiana last Saturday. And USC’s Lincoln Riley would have been there with him if the Trojans had been upset by California after back-to-back losses to Notre Dame and Utah.

But at the level of success Day, Franklin and Riley have reached it is much more likely the only real hot seat they will encounter in the foreseeable future is if their Lexus has heated seats.

According to USA Today’s data base of college football coaches salaries, 10 head coaches had contracts that would pay them $10 million or more this year. Every one of them, and most coaches farther down the list, also have hefty buyouts unless they are fired for cause.

For example, Georgia would owe Kirby Smart $92.6 million if it fired him without cause. Franklin, at $64.6 million, has the Big Ten’s biggest buyout.

Nebraska’s first-year coach Matt Rhule is second in the Big Ten at $62 million and Day is third at $46.2 million. Wisconsin’s Luke Fickell is fourth at $39.6 million. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is seventh at $27.2 million.

Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.