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Can't Wait For Saturday | Sarkisian deal another feather in legend Saban's mentor cap

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Greetings from "Can't Wait For Saturday," your morning morsel of college football, courtesy of longtime Illini beat writer, AP Top 25 voter and Heisman state rep Bob Asmussen. He'll give you his views each day on the game he loves.

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Does Nick Saban get a finder's fee for all the head coaches he mentored? Or saved their careers?

The list of Saban mentees making a bundle is staggering. Deep into his just-started retirement, the legend will have a long-lasting impact on the profession and its financial structure.

Maybe the best example is Steve Sarkisian. His career was in shambles following his ugly ouster at Southern California. It involved alcohol abuse and his apparent violation of a zero-tolerance policy., The coaching future of the one-time Washington boss seemed to be in jeopardy.

But Saban gave him a chance, hiring him as an analyst, which led to a job in the NFL Sarkisian returned to Alabama for two successful years as offensive coordinator, then was hired by Texas in 2021. And the rest is history.

Sarkisian just agreed to a contract extension at Texas that bumps his pay to $10.3 million annually. With yearly raises and a bunch of incentives that will make him one rich Texan. Nee-haa.

Texas is more than willing to pay after Sarkisian made the program relevant again. The Longhorns are moving to the SEC this season, have their star quarterback returning and figure to be a great bet for a bye in the expanded 12-team playoff.

I've had them at the top of my preeason ballot, or just behind Georgia, Depends on the day,

According to published reports, Sarkisian will be oe of seven college football coaches raking in $10 million or more in 2024.

The list includes Southern California's Lincoln Riley, Florida State's Mike Norvell and Alabama's Kalen DeBoer all on the number. Ohio State's Ryan Day is just ahead at $10.2 million, then Sarkisian at $10.3, Georgia's Kirby Smart at $10.7 million and No. 1, Clemson's Dabo Swinney at $11.7.

Obviously, the numbers aren't done climbing. My guess is somebody hits $15 million in the next few years. And $20 million not long after that.

Thanks Uncle Nick.