4 College Football Coaches Due for Huge Raises

By David Hayes
Northwestern State v LSU
Northwestern State v LSU / Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
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If there's one thing we learned from head coaches like Alabama's Nick Saban or Clemson's Dabo Swinney, it's that if you know how to win college football games, then schools will know how to pay you.

While most are familiar with the highest-paid names in the game, here's a look at four college football coaches who are either headed toward, or already deserving of a big raise after the 2019 season.

4. Ed Orgeron, LSU Tigers

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

2017-18 Annual Salary (School Pay): $3,500,000
Ed Orgeron might be the highest paid head coach on this list, but his 30-9 record since taking over for the Tigers in 2016 is also the highest winning percentage. LSU is one of college football's elite, blue-blood programs, and "Coach O" hasn't missed a beat since replacing former Tigers' national championship head coach Les Miles midseason. Orgeron has also maintained LSU's golden standard of recruiting throughout the nation's most competitive stomping grounds for college football talent, and his 2019 Tigers' squad already appears to be the best we've seen out of Baton Rouge since LSU's trip to the national championship in the 2011 season, if not better.

3. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

2017-18 Annual Salary (School Pay): $2,129,638
While Brian Kelly's record against major programs, that Notre Dame likes to think it is of similar competitive caliber, is abysmal, he might have a case for the most underpaid head coach in America given his overall success with the Fighting Irish. Even though the NCAA has since vacated his 2012 and 2013 season wins with Notre Dame, Kelly has still led the Irish to their first College Football Playoff appearance (2018), a national championship appearance (2012) and four double-digit win seasons since 2012. Not to mention, Kelly ranked as just the 59th-highest paid college football head coach in the nation last season.

2. Sonny Dykes, SMU Mustangs

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

2017-18 Annual Salary (School Pay): N/A
Even though Sonny Dykes led SMU to just a 5-7 record in his first full season with the Mustangs, if there's one program that knows how to pay its own for college football success, it's certainly SMU. Dykes has his 2019 Mustangs off to the best start in program history since 1982, sitting a perfect 5-0 and ranked No. 24 in the latest Week 7 AP Top-25 Poll. It's still both early in the season and in Dykes's tenure in Highland Park, but for a school that had to wait 25 years before returning to its first bowl game after its title-caliber program was infamously ceased by the NCAA's death penalty in 1987, there could be more money on the table soon.

1. Mario Cristobal, Oregon Ducks

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

2017-18 Annual Salary (School Pay): $2,500,000
After Oregon's football program fell into a 4-8 disarray under Mark Helfrich just two seasons removed its 2014 national championship appearance, the Ducks handed the keys to Willie Taggart for a mediocre 7-5 finish in the 2017 season. Current Ducks' head coach Mario Cristobal took over for Taggart in the last game of that season, and he has since turned Oregon's narrative back in the right direction, with a 9-4 finish in his first full season at the helm in Eugene. The Ducks are 4-1 thus far, but with a two-loss Washington team struggling against Pac-12 competition, Oregon is staring at quite the opportunity to reclaim the Pac-12 title this year. For a program backed by one of the most influential college football boosters in Oregon alumnus and Nike founder Phil Knight, financial incentive to recreate the Ducks' winning culture feels like the smallest obstacle for Oregon to keep Cristobal rolling.


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David Hayes is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David Hayes also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username DavidWHayes. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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