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Major-college football coaches have been qualifying for bonuses here and there since the first preseason rankings came out.
Things begin getting serious Saturday — especially for Penn State coach James Franklin. He can all but assure himself of at least a $200,000 payout if the No. 4-ranked and undefeated Nittany Lions beat Northwestern for their sixth win of the season, which would make them eligible to play in a bowl game this season.
Six other teams can become bowl eligible Saturday, setting in motion bonuses for a wide range of coaches, staffers and athletics administrators who will be hoping those incentive payments get larger as the season progresses. These figures are based on documents provided to USA TODAY Sports by the schools in response to open-records requests.
Clemson's Dabo Swinney is the only head coach among this week's potentially bowl-eligible teams who can't qualify for a bonus by leading his team to any bowl game. The Tigers need to have at least eight regular-season wins for Swinney to get rewarded for participation in a game that's not among the six affiliated with the College Football Playoff.
Alabama, Georgia, San Diego State, Washington and Washington State also reach bowl eligibility Saturday.
Franklin's $200,000 bonus would be for an appearance by the Nittany Lions in any non-CFP bowl game. He can get much more if they play in one of the CFP games -- especially if that occurs after an appearance or victory in the Big Ten Conference championship game, as happened last season.
Washington coach Chris Petersen and Washington State's Mike Leach each have entry-level bowl bonuses of $75,000, and their respective athletics directors also would get payments.
Washington State's Bill Moos would get an amount equal to one month of his basic annual guaranteed compensation, or $50,000.
Washington's Jennifer Cohen would get $10,000.
Alabama coach Nick Saban's bonus for a non-CFP bowl appearance is $65,000. For Georgia's Kirby Smart and San Diego State's Rocky Long, it's $50,000 if it's a lower-echelon game.
Long already has claimed $20,000 in bonuses -- $10,000 for each of his team's victories over a Power Five conference team. The Aztecs defeated Arizona State and then-No. 19 Stanford in consecutive weeks.
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