Florida State and Auburn meet on January 6th at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for the final BCS National Championship game.
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But whereas the match-up between the Seminoles and the Tigers should be highly competitive, neither school can hold a candle financially to The University of Texas.
And that should have alums of both schools nervous that one of them will be fishing for a new coach soon.
With Mack Brown stepping down from the Texas position after the Longhorns upcoming bowl game, and with Nick Saban signing a long-term deal with Alabama, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher (hearing his name always makes me crave gumbo) and Auburn coach Guz Malzahn have become widely discussed as possible replacements for Coach Brown.
Coach Malzahn currently ranks 11th among SEC coaches at $2.44 million, which ranks 32nd in the nation. Coach Fisher just signed a 5-year deal worth more than $4 million annually, a raise over the $2.75 million he was earning which makes him the 9th highest-paid coach in the country.
Because Coach Fisher just signed a new deal, and because Coach Malzahn is only in his first year as the head coach of a BCS conference program, there are reasons to expect that both coaches are out of consideration for different reasons.
However, the finances at Texas are so overwhelming that no doors should be closed just yet.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, consider these figures:
- Texas…$165.6 M ($27.5 M) in total athletic revenues (profits), with $109 M ($80 M) in football revenues (profits);
- FSU…$89.1 M ($10.8 M) in total athletic revenues (profits), with $43.1 M ($20 M) in football revenues (profits);
- Auburn…$102.8 M ($5.4 M) in total athletic revenues (profits), with $75.1 M ($40 M) in football revenues (profits).
In short, Texas could easily blow these schools out of the water financially with a new contract for either Fisher or Malzahn.
If Malzahn is smart, he waits until after the championship game to see what additional leverage he can generate. If Auburn wins the national title, Auburn AD Jay Jacobs better be prepared to pay north of $5 million annually.
Malzahn is more likely to jump since he has less time vested at Auburn than Fisher has at FSU, and because the pay jump would be even more significant for Malzahn.
Texas may not be in the running for this year’s championship.
But they are still very much in the game for one of these coaches because of their financial largesse.
Patrick is an Economics Professor at the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University in St Louis, MO, and the Founder/Director of Sportsimpacts. Follow him on Twitter.
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