Between their teams’ success so far and what they can still accomplish in this weekend’s conference championship games and the College Football Playoff, four head coaches have a chance to end up with $1 million or more in bonuses.
And that’s without counting awards for coach-of-the-year honors or meeting other goals.
Because of adjustments to his contract that occurred in the wake of his team’s run to last season’s CFP title game, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney already is in position to receive $300,000 in bonuses, as long as the team’s final NCAA Academic Progress Rate is at least 950 – which is anticipated, Clemson athletics spokesman Joe Galbraith said Thursday.
If the Tigers defeat Virginia Tech for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship on Saturday and go on to win the national title, Swinney’s bonus total will grow to $1.4 million.
Each of the coaches in Friday night’s Pac-12 title game also has a chance for $1 million in on-field bonuses.
Washington’s Chris Petersen has secured $125,000 so far, but he would reach $1 million by reaching the CFP final and get another $500,000 for winning it.
Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre has picked up $375,000 and does not get an additional amount specifically for winning the Pac-12 title, although it would guarantee the additional $50,000 he gets if his team plays in any of the six bowl games affiliated with the CFP.
Penn State's James Franklin can get a maximum of $1 million in bonuses of any kind in any one year, according to the financial term sheet the university released when he was hired in January 2014. (Under Pennsylvania law, Penn State is not required to release Franklin's contract -- and it has not done so.) He already has secured $550,000 in bonuses, including $100,000 for a Big Ten coach of the year award. He would reach $950,000 with wins in the Big Ten title game and a CFP semifinal.
Below are the full details of the bonuses achieved and available to head coaches whose teams are in contention for the CFP semifinals, based on an analysis of documents USA TODAY Sports has obtained from the schools.