USA Today released the updated edition of the coaching salaries database Wednesday. Your attention is first grabbed by the $9 million tag next to Michigan's Jim Harbaugh. Elsewhere, we can find value by comparing a coach's salary for the 2016 season to how his team has started on the field.
Not every school responds to USA Today's request for information and the numbers provided might fall short of a coach's total compensation, thanks to endorsements and apparel deals outside of the traditional pay from the school for coaching services. But with that database, we can rank the top five power five coaches currently providing the most bang for their school's buck.
We begin with a Big 12 coach who is the most highly compensated of our five coaches and the only one that enters Week 9 undefeated.
5. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia ($2.980 million): Ranked well below Charlie Strong (Texas), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State) and Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech) in pay for 2016 is a Big 12 coach still in the running for the conference title. West Virginia's strong start to 2016 is a payoff for giving Holgorsen time to restructure the program following the move from the Big East. The Mountaineers don't have the same kind of offensive attack that hung 70 on Clemson in the Orange Bowl, but they've got more wins per dollar spent on a coach than anyone else in the league this season.
4. Mike Leach, Washington State ($2.950 million): Paying Leach includes accepting who he is and letting him do his thing. There is some unwritten value to that for an administrator who goes into the process of hiring Leach as the school's coach. But in 2016 it looks like Leach has a group that will rebound from an FCS loss and finish as a Pac-12 North title contender. The $3 million price tag is expensive, but what if comes with spoiling your rival's season in the Apple Cup?
3. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin ($2.706 million): The Big Ten money truck rivals the SEC's when related to spending on coaches, but Wisconsin didn't need to break the bank to bring one of Madison's own back home. He's got a middle-of-the-road salary for the conference but a 15-5 record as the Badgers' coach, currently battling through a brutal schedule in the hopes of a second-straight 10-win season and top-25 finish.
2. Larry Fedora, North Carolina ($1.986 million): One of four Power Five coaches with a listed salary south of $2 million, he's coming off an 11-win season and ACC Coastal Division title. Fedora is joined in the sub-$2M group by Tracy Claeys (Minnesota), Lovie Smith (Illinois) and David Beaty (Kansas). Every school has its own priorities and each coach his own goals, but Fedora belongs in a different bracket with a different set of peers if salary is supposed to match production.
1. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado ($2.011 million): Patience has paid off for Colorado as the Buffs finally broke through in 2016. The program has let the full lose big-lose-small-win-small cycle play out, and now they're on the verge of the final step -- "win big" -- as a legitimate Pac-12 South contender. MacIntyre has the lowest salary of any Pac-12 coach in the database, though that is certain to change should the Buffs memorable 2016 continue.