Best bargains among college football coaches

It’s getting increasingly difficult to find a bargain in major college coaching -- or at least, the concept of value is being redefined because of continually climbing salaries.

Even with an evolving marketplace, a handful of programs are still getting solid deals. Here are the best examples, culled from contract files obtained by ESPN.com and USA Today’s salary database. Themes among the choices include Pac-12 coaches, veterans and private school employees.

1. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

Estimated 2015 salary: $3 million

Rodriguez’s failed run at Michigan worked out fantastically for Arizona and AD Greg Byrne. Not only did it make Rodriguez available but it dropped the price tag for a proven coach who is again proving himself. The Wildcats, even with a freshman quarterback and a number of young skill players, broke through to win the Pac-12 South and reach the Fiesta Bowl in 2014. Michigan is looking more and more like an aberration for Rodriguez. Maybe it was more program than coach in Ann Arbor, huh? “That guy can coach,” one peer of Rodriguez’s texted last week. “I know that.”