College Football Top 25 Teams Compared by Head Coach Compensation

Analysis of College Football Coaches Salaries

Every year, the good folks over at USA Today Sports puts out their list of NCAA College Football Coaches salaries, and the figures for 2014 were released just a couple days ago. At first glance, there seems to be no surprises with Nick Saban at the top of the list and followed by Michigan State and Oklahoma. The top ten is dominated by teams from the powerhouse conferences SEC, Big Ten, and the Big 12. Nothing new, right?. Well, as with many things, things get interesting when you add more data and dig in to the numbers.

College Football Top 25 and Head Coach Compensation:

The coaches’ salaries are the estimated total compensation for the current season (2014-2015). So, I thought it might be fun to compare this year’s coaching salaries to their respective team’s performance so far this year. Using data from ESPN, I have added the current win-loss record and winning percentage for every team on the list. After listing the teams according to their position in the College Football Playoff Top 25, I expected to see the highest salaries at the top and progressively going lower while going down the chart. Interestingly, that was not the case. The distribution of salaries within the top 25 is very random, as illustrated by the interactive chart below.


One of the more interesting things about this chart is the two teams at the top – The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Oregon Ducks. Nick Saban earns nearly 3.5 times the salary of Oregon’s Mark Helfrich. To be fair, Nick Saban’s success since arriving at Alabama has been much greater, but if Oregon wins out I see a substantial raise coming for Mr. Helfrich.

College Football Coach Salaries and Win Percentages by Conference:

Another interesting way of looking at the salary and winning percentage data is to aggregate by conference. The interactive chart below outlines the disparity between the top 5 conferences and the remainder. There is a large gap between the two groups in average coach salary and average winning percentage.

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