Clemson coach Dabo Swinney racked up more than $1 million in football-related bonuses last season, and he’s gotten a quick start on this season.
The No. 3-ranked Tigers’ victory against Boston College on Friday night improved their record to 6-0, making them the first team to become bowl eligible this season and all but assuring Swinney of at least a $75,000 bonus, as long as the team’s soon-to-be-calculated multiyear NCAA Academic Progress is at least 950 — which has been the case for nine consecutive years. (Clemson athletics director Dan Radakovich will get a bonus of at least $10,000 for a bowl appearance by the Tigers.)
By the end of Saturday, though, Swinney will have company in the bowl bonus category. Five other coaches who can get a bonus for any bowl appearance have their teams at five wins going into Saturday games, and two of those teams meet this afternoon.
If No. 9 Tennessee wins at No. 7 Texas A&M, coach Butch Jones will virtually lock up the minimum $100,000 bonus he can get if the Volunteers appear in any bowl game. If the Aggies prevail, Kevin Sumlin would be set for at least $50,000.
Also on the verge of bowl bonuses are:
►No. 25 Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck ($25,000), whose team is at home against Northern Illinois.
►No. 1 Alabama’s Nick Saban ($65,000), whose team visits No. 17 Arkansas.
►No. 6 Washington’s Chris Petersen ($75,000), whose team plays at Oregon.
No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Houston also can become bowl eligible on Saturday, but Jim Harbaugh and Tom Herman need their teams to reach bowl games that will require more than six wins for them to qualify for bowl bonuses.
However, Herman already has gained another bonus — a $7,500 award that’s triggered once if the Cougars appear in any of the major national rankings at any time during the season.