Top 10 bang-for-the-buck coaches

Updated: July 13, 2012, 9:56 AM ET
By Travis Haney

Head coaches' salaries went through the roof, oh, about six or seven years back. They have escalated with, notably, Mack Brown, Les Miles, Nick Saban and Bob Stoops raising the bar for one another in excess of $3 million, $4 million and now $5 million. Those top-shelf coaches are being paid somewhere between $3.75 million and $5.2 million a year.

But there is still some value out there. Perhaps it's only a matter of time until the bargain coaches have their paydays too, but some schools are getting a lot for their money in the interim. In a couple of rare instances -- Joe Paterno, all issues related to his dismissal aside, was making about $1 million in salary at the time of his ouster -- they have for a long time. But most of these coaches are up-and-comers climbing the ladder.

Here is a list of the 10 best bang-for-buck coaches in college football:

(Note: Salary information courtesy USA Today salary database, published in November 2011. Any contracts that have been extended or altered since that time have been reflected via various attributed documents and reports.)

1. Chris Petersen, Boise State Broncos

Salary: $1,525,000

Just because Boise has ascended as a program doesn't mean its budget has followed suit, at least on a relative scale. The football budget is currently in the neighborhood of $9 million, according to Idaho Statesman columnist Brian Murphy's research.