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Nick Saban tops NCAA coaching salaries at over $5.5 million

AP Photo / Butch Dil
Alabama coach Nick Saban is looking to lead the Crimson Tide to a third consecutive BCS title.

Three of the top four highest-paid coaches in college football are from the SEC, led by Alabama coach Nick Saban at more than $5.54 million per season, according to USA Today's annual auditing of FBS coaching salaries.

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Texas coach Mack Brown ranks second at $5.45 million-plus, followed by first-year Arkansas coach Bret Bielema ($5.15 million) and Tennessee first-year coach Butch Jones ($4.86 million). While Saban and Brown lead elite programs and have each won a national championship -- in Saban's case, four -- Jones and Bielema were hired at the top of the market based on success at other programs. Arkansas (3-6) has lost six straight games, ranks last in the SEC West, and has yet to pick up an SEC win in Bielema's first season. Jones has been only slightly better in his first year, leading UT to a 4-5 record (1-4 SEC).

Eight coaches earn in excess of $4 million per year, 17 earn more than $3 million, and 50 are above the $2 million per-year mark. Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, just 10 months removed from a BCS National Championship game appearance against Alabama, ranks 70th at $1.08 million, and is the lowest-paid coach earning a million or more.

From there, the salary structure takes a significant dip. Louisiana-Monroe's Todd Berry ranked at the bottom (119th) at just more than $288,000. The rankings are slightly skewed by the absence of data for seven schools including three from the Atlantic Coast Conference (Boston College, Pittsburgh, Syracuse), one from the Pac-12 (Stanford), and Temple, Tulane and Brigham Young.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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