Commentary

You pay for what you get

Updated: November 19, 2009, 12:33 PM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

WEEK: Preseason | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Bye | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

The Bottom 10 inspirational thought of the week:


Work ourselves, fingers to the bone
Suck the marrow, drain my soul
Pay your dues, and your debts
Pay your respect, everybody tells you
You pay for what you get
You pay for what you get

-- "Pay For What You Get," Dave Matthews Band

If only every college football program were getting what it paid for when it comes to coaching.

Of the last three teams to occupy the Bottom 10's highly coveted No. 5 spot, each pays its head coach more than $2 million a season. As you might (or might not) know, the Bottom 10's No. 5 spot goes to one of the sport's traditional heavyweights that isn't currently carrying its weight.

Michigan's Rich Rodriguez, whose team occupied the No. 5 spot two weeks ago, earns about $2.5 million per season, according to a salary survey recently published by USA Today. Notre Dame's Charlie Weis, whose team was No. 5 last week, is thought to be among the country's highest-paid coaches, at more than $3 million per season.

Southern California's Pete Carroll, whose Trojans debut at No. 5 after getting blasted 55-21 by Stanford last week, is believed to be the highest-paid coach in the country, earning more than $4 million.

And while Carroll has earned his paycheck in the past, this season has hardly been his best work. The Trojans are 7-3 and are out of the Pac-10 championship race with a 4-3 conference mark.

Matthews knows all too well about short returns on investments. The South Africa native formed his band while living in Charlottesville, Va. The hometown Virginia Cavaliers are paying coach Al Groh more than $2 million per season. The Cavaliers have lost four games in a row and might not win again this season.

The rest of the Bottom 10? Let's just say they're probably getting what they pay for. According to USA Today, the combined salary of the other nine coaches in the Bottom 10 (excluding Carroll) is about $3.5 million.

That's less than what Florida and Alabama, the top two teams in the BCS standings, are paying head coaches Urban Meyer ($4 million) and Nick Saban ($3.9 million), respectively.

At least a couple of former Bottom 10 coaches earned their paychecks last week. Rice and Florida Atlantic, which were in the Bottom 10 a week ago, get at least a one-week reprieve after winning games. The Owls won their first game by beating Tulane 28-20, while Florida Atlantic blasted fellow Sun Belt disappointment Arkansas State, 35-18.

With apologies to Steve Harvey and Dave Matthews, here's this week's Bottom 10:

Waiting list: Maryland (2-8), Memphis (2-8), North Texas (2-8), Syracuse (3-7), Tennessee (5-5), Texas A&M special teams, Vanderbilt (2-9).

Mark Schlabach covers college football and men's college basketball for ESPN.com. You can contact him at schlabachma@yahoo.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball