I'm told that Clemson will pay its next coach between $1.25 million and $1.75 million.
The biggest reason, the school can't afford to go get a bigger name coach and pay him $2 million-$3 million per year. The school will probably spend in the neighborhood of $6 million to get rid of Tommy Bowden. They owe him a $3.5 million buyout starting Dec. 1. That will come in six installments.
"These buyout figures are like a prenuptial agreement ... " agent Mike Brown told me on Monday. "There's no bean counter that comes up with an Excel spread sheet. For the athletic director it's, 'What number can I live with if I fire you?'
"If you are going to make a change, it impacts you on the quality of guy you can go get. I don't see them (Clemson) going out and paying a guy who can be in the $2 to $3 milion category. Most of those guys making $1.5 or $2 million might have a buyout equal to that amout."
So what's the answer for Clemson?
Will Muschamp, defensive coordinator, Texas -- The toast of Texas after helping beat Oklahoma, Muschamp had been mentioned for the job before Tommy Bowden left. At age 36, is he ready to become a head coach? Making $425,000 per year, Muschamp comes affordable too.
Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt -- Not many know BJ is a Clemson grad. If he was going to leave, this would be the time. His stock will never be higher.
Skip Holtz, East Carolina -- Familiar in South Carolina after helping his dad with the Gamecocks. He was the hottest name in the country until a recent slide by the Pirates.
Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee -- solid coach familiar with Clemson.
Bud Foster, defensive coordinator, Virginia Tech -- If Clemson is tired of going the offensive route, Foster is their guy. He is one of the top defensive minds in the country and is more than ready to take over his own program.
Dabo Swinney, receivers coach, Clemson -- the new interim could be the guy. He's affordable and accomplished at Clemson. Swinney reportedly helped land running back C.J. Spiller. A former Alabama walk-on, Swinney knows how to work. He was Tommy's assistant head coach before being tapped on Monday.
Todd Graham, Tulsa -- the genius behind Tulsa's mind-blowing offense isn't a man to be tied down. He left Rice after one season and now has Tulsa as one of the nation's 10 undefeated teams. If Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips wanted to energize the program, this is his man.
Brent Venables, defensive coordinator, Oklahoma -- Bob Stoops no doubt would give his blessing for his long-time assistant to take this job. Venables defensive credentials are top notch. Get him a top offensive coordinator and Clemson would take off.