What’s almost as lucrative as being a big-time college coach? Being an ex-big-time college coach.

Public universities in FBS conferences paid out more than $533 million in “dead money” to fired coaches in football and men’s and women’s basketball to fulfill their unexpired contracts since Jan. 1, 2010, ESPN reported. The top five:

• Auburn, $31.2 million

• Nebraska, $25.8 million

• Texas, $21.5 million

• Ole Miss, $20.4 million

• Kansas, $20 million

Lovely parting gifts, indeed.

Headlines

• At TheOnion: “Braves owner pushes team off podium as MLB lockout begins.”

• At Fark.com: “Hurricanes remain a perfect storm.”

Bonus headline

And this one is not satire:

• At FoxNews.com: “Monkey belonging to Texas special-teams coach’s stripper girlfriend bites child on Halloween.”

Scheduling note

The Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (broken finger) and the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (unvaccinated arm) will face off Nov. 14 in Green Bay — maybe.

Just call it the Pins and Needles Bowl.

Political baseball

The Mets can’t even win in the offseason.

Ex-manager Bobby Valentine, 71, lost his election bid for mayor of Stamford, Conn.

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No Benatar fan

Probably not on Aaron Rodgers’ playlist: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”

Return of explosive plays?

Q: What do Russell Wilson’s surgically repaired finger and a hand grenade have in common?

A: Neither is effective until you pull the pin.

Clearing the air

Just-acquired Ram Von Miller — notorious for his flatulence in Broncos team meetings — ought to do wonders for the smog in Los Angeles.

Not this year

Astros win the World Series this year? No can do.

The rush is off

In Nevada’s 51-20 win over UNLV 20, the teams combined for rushing 30 yards on 42 carries — 0.7 yards per carry.

At that rate, it would have taken 14 cracks just to get a first down!

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Paging Geraldo Rivera

Clear evidence that we’re running out of things to investigate: On Nov. 19, FX/Hulu is offering up a probe into Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

Gone fishing

BASS announced its 2022 high-school bass-fishing schedule, four tournaments scheduled on weekend days called the Bassmaster High School Series.

Back in the good old days, fishing took place on a weekday and we just called it hooky.

Talking the talk

• NFL guru Dan Daley, after the Von Miller trade left the Rams without their top four draft picks next year: “But they do have a compensatory third-rounder, a couple of bottle caps, a buffalo head nickel and an old Cleveland Rams media guide.”

• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, after new kicker Chris Blewitt missed three of his first five kicks with the Washington Football Team: “And you don’t even want to know how badly their new punter, Joe Shank, is doing.”

A ring of truth? Nah

WWE released a slew of its stars, leading to speculation it’s for budget cuts or vaccination status.

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At least, we don’t think they’re faking it.

Quote marks

• A Guy Called Kraft, via Twitter, after the Texas football team blew leads of 41-33, 24-16 and 21-17 entering the fourth quarter in losing three straight: ”I dunno. Texas might need some work on remembering how long a game is. I think someone might have told them it’s like hockey with three periods.”

• Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, after Inglewood (Calif.) High School beat Morningside 106-0: “Wonder how many SEC coaches wondered if they could put Morningside on their schedule.”

• Nick Canepa of The San Diego Union-Tribune, on the Lakers’ aging roster: “The Lakers will be OK — if they only play day games and can get to the Early Bird dinner.”

• Ex-Sports Illustrated writer Michael Farber, via Twitter: “Although it’s only October, the Canadiens seem to be in midseason form. Unfortunately, it’s the midseason of the 1974-75 Capitals.”

Crying all the way to the bank

The San Francisco 49ers have lost $80,711,027 to players going on injured reserve from 2009-21, reported The Compensation Experts using Spotrac data, and the Arizona Cardinals are next with $72,887,027.

The Seahawks are 23rd with $27,628,090.

Quote, end quote

• Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News, via Twitter, after Ice Cube bailed on a movie project the other day because he’s not vaccinated: “He can shoot hoops with Kyrie.”

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• Greg Cote of The Miami Herald, after the 76ers’ Ben Simmons said he is not mentally ready to play: “I’m sure famously empathetic Philly fans are quite understanding.”

• NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, on his league’s new TV deal with ESPN: “I’ve said a number of times that if ESPN is half as good at promoting us as they were at freezing us out when they didn’t have our rights, this is going to be great.”

• Mike Bianchi of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, with his latest NFL power ratings: “(1) Rams, (2) Cowboys, (3) Packers, (4) Cardinals, (5) Odell Beckham Jr.’s father.”

• Tim Hunter of Everett’s KRKO Radio, on reports of deer testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in Michigan: “Good luck getting their masks on.”

Hey, bettor, bettor

Latest odds from sports-betting site MyBookie.com, on what will happen first with Texans QB Deshaun Watson:

• Deshaun Watson NFL pass: -400

• Deshaun Watson mug shot: +250