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Originally published Thursday, December 25, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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College Football | Bonuses become bonanza for Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops

The national-title game is two weeks away, but the presents might continue to appear underneath Urban Meyer's tree well after Christmas...

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The national-title game is two weeks away, but the presents might continue to appear underneath Urban Meyer's tree well after Christmas Day.

Like the Holiday carol says, "Joy to the Meyers, for payday has come." Should the Florida Gators defeat Oklahoma in the Bowl Championship Series title game on Jan. 8 in Miami — giving Meyer his second title in three years — there will be no denying his financial leverage in Gainesville.

The last college football coach to win two national titles in his first four seasons at a school, USC's Pete Carroll, has quadrupled his original salary to become the highest per-year earner in the game at just above $4.4 million.

Considering Meyer's salary jumped from $2 million to $3.25 million per year after his 2006 national title, he could become the country's highest-paid coach after a second title. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley declined comment on Meyer's contract.

"Everybody understands that we have one of the best, if not the best, coach in the country," said a prominent Florida booster who spoke on condition of anonymity. "You've got to pay them what the market allows. The way you keep a guy is you keep him financially happy."

Here's why the Meyer family could celebrate a Christmas worth millions in guaranteed money as the chance at a second national title looms.

Meyer's opponent in two weeks, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, reportedly earns more than $6 million this season thanks to a unique bonus. Oklahoma is paying Stoops an extra $3 million for reaching the 10-year mark in Norman.

Stoops stands to receive a $250,000 bonus if the second-ranked Sooners beat Florida in the BCS championship game.

Stoops' contract calls for him to get $150,000 for leading the Sooners to the BCS title game, and an additional $100,000 for a win.

Stoops has already earned an $80,000 bonus for winning the Big 12 title and another $30,000 for being selected the conference's coach of the year. He shared that honor with Texas Tech's Mike Leach. Stoops' contract also calls for a $75,000 bonus if the Sooners finish in the top 10 in the BCS standings.

Though topping $6 million is doubtful, Meyer could easily become the Southeastern Conference's highest-paid coach over Louisiana State's Les Miles, who makes $3.751 million per year after winning the 2007 national title.

Florida will likely find a way to raise pay under the University Athletic Association's financial model driven by TV, licensing, marketing and booster contributions.

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Ohio State's Jim Tressel received a reported $1 million raise in 2008 after getting outmuscled in two straight national-championship games.

Meyer's current contract, good until the year 2013, includes a performance-based incentives package that maxes out at $450,000. A win should secure most of that money.

Meyer already earned $75,000 for winning the SEC title game and another $100,000 for reaching a BCS bowl. If the Gators win the title, that BCS amount more than doubles to $250,000.

Bowl games
Date Bowl Site Teams / result Time TV Payout
Dec. 20 EagleBank Washington Wake Forest 29, Navy 19 $750,000
Dec. 20 New Mexico Albuquerque Colorado State 40, Fresno State 35 $750,000
Dec. 20 St. Petersburg St. Petersburg, Fla. South Florida 41, Memphis 14 $1 million
Dec. 20 Las Vegas Las Vegas Arizona 31, Brigham Young 21 $1 million
Dec. 21 New Orleans New Orleans Southern Miss 30, Troy 27 (OT) $325,000
Tuesday Poinsettia San Diego TCU 17, Boise State 16 $750,000
Wed. Hawaii Honolulu Notre Dame 49, Hawaii 21 $750,000
Friday Motor City Detroit Fla. Atlantic (6-6) vs. Central Mich. (8-4) 4:30 p.m. ESPN $750,000
Saturday Meineke Charlotte, N.C. N. Carolina (8-4) vs. West Virginia (8-4) 10 a.m. ESPN $1 million
Saturday Champs Sports Orlando, Fla. Florida State (8-4) vs. Wisconsin (7-5) 1:30 p.m. ESPN $2.125 million
Saturday Emerald San Francisco California (8-4) vs. Miami (7-5) 5 p.m. ESPN ACC: $750,000
Pac-10: $850,000
Dec. 28 Independence Shreveport, La. La. Tech (7-5) vs. Northern Illinois (6-6) 5 p.m. ESPN $1.1 million
Dec. 29 PapaJohns.com Birmingham, Ala. Rutgers (7-5) vs. N. Carolina St. (6-6) noon ESPN $300,000
Dec. 29 Alamo San Antonio Northwestern (9-3) vs. Missouri (9-4) 5 p.m. ESPN $2.25 million
Dec. 30 Humanitarian Boise, Idaho Nevada (7-5) vs. Maryland (7-5) 1:30 p.m. ESPN $750,000
Dec. 30 Holiday San Diego Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Oregon (9-3) 5 p.m. ESPN $2.3 million
Dec. 30 Texas Houston Rice (9-3) vs. Western Michigan (9-3) 5 p.m. NFLN $750,000
Dec. 31 Armed Forces Fort Worth, Texas Houston (7-5) vs. Air Force (8-4) 9 a.m. ESPN $750,000
Dec. 31 Sun El Paso, Texas Oregon State (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (9-3) 11 a.m. CBS $1.9 million
Dec. 31 Music City Nashville, Tenn. Vanderbilt (6-6) vs. Boston Coll. (9-4) 12:30 p.m. ESPN $1.7 million
Dec. 31 Insight Tempe, Ariz. Kansas (7-5) vs. Minnesota (7-5) 2:30 p.m. NFLN $1.2 million
Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Atlanta LSU (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (9-3) 4:30 p.m. ESPN $3 million
Jan. 1 Outback Tampa, Fla. Iowa (8-4) vs. South Carolina (7-5) 8 a.m. ESPN $3.2 million
Jan. 1 Capital One Orlando, Fla. Georgia (9-3) vs. Michigan State (9-3) 10 a.m. ABC $4.25 million
Jan. 1 Gator Jacksonville, Fla. Nebraska (8-4) vs. Clemson (7-5) 10 a.m. CBS $2.5 million
Jan. 1 Rose Pasadena, Calif. USC (11-1) vs. Penn State (11-1) 2 p.m. ABC $17 million
Jan. 1 Orange Miami Cincinnati (11-2) vs. Virginia Tech (9-4) 5 p.m. Fox $17 million
Jan. 2 Cotton Dallas Texas Tech (11-1) vs. Mississippi (8-4) 11 a.m. Fox $3 million
Jan. 2 Liberty Memphis, Tenn. Kentucky (6-6) vs. East Carolina (9-4) 2 p.m. ESPN $1.8 million
Jan. 2 Sugar New Orleans Utah (12-0) vs. Alabama (12-1) 5 p.m. Fox $17 million
Jan. 3 International Toronto Connecticut (7-5) vs. Buffalo (8-5) 9 a.m. ESPN2 $750,000
Jan. 5 Fiesta Glendale, Ariz. Texas (11-1) vs. Ohio State (10-2) 5:30 p.m. Fox $17 million
Jan. 6 GMAC Mobile, Ala. Tulsa (10-3) vs. Ball State (12-1) 5 p.m. ESPN $750,000
Jan. 8 BCS title game Miami Florida (12-1) vs. Oklahoma (12-1) 5 p.m. Fox $17 million

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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