It surprised some to hear that Iowa’s Chris Doyle became the highest-paid strength and conditioning coach in America this offseason.

Doyle will now make nearly $600,000, which is more compensation that Alabama’s strength coach will receive. The longtime Kirk Ferentz assistant became a lightning rod for conversation among ESPN’s college football analysts.

Sam Ponder went to bat for Doyle, while the likes of Desmond Howard (Michigan), David Pollack (Georgia) and Booger McFarland (LSU) all disagreed with Doyle’s new deal. Imagine that.

Here was the debate they had:

Howard: …That is a lot of paper for a strength and conditioning coach.

McFarland: Are your strength coaches worth it? Absolutely. They’re the lifeblood of your program…when you look at Alabama, they’re the most physical team in the country, and the reason is because of that strength coach. Now, he’s worth it. But the strength coach at Iowa? I ain’t quite sure he’s worth it just yet. I know he’s gotten a raise and maybe it’s supply and demand, but he’s got to prove a little bit more to me before I want to give the strength coach at Iowa — by the way, they faded down the stretch, which is a product of the strength and conditioning coach — before I want to give him that amount of money.

Ponder: Booger, I could not disagree with you more.

Pollack: Ponder, you act like we’re dealing with apples to apples. Get that Iowa guy some of those full-grown men that are coming in with five stars, and it might be a little more measurable.

Ponder: But that’s exactly what they do. That’s why I disagree with you because it’s even more important at Iowa because they’re getting guys who are walk-ons and turning them into NFL players. I think they’ve had six or seven in the last 15 years who have ended up being drafted after being walk-ons. The development is more important than it is at other schools where they get five-star guys.

Howard: Can I make one point? All I have to say is normally you get paid by your body of work. If you want to look at the strength and conditioning coach at Iowa, his body of work, all you need to do is turn on the B1G Championship game, where it was in the fourth quarter, that last drive, where Michigan State just methodically marched the ball down the field on that defense…and you want to give this guy a raise after you see his product perform that way on the biggest stage at the biggest moment? I’m just saying, Sam.

Iowa coaches and former players did not disagree with the ESPN analysts:

Which side of the fence are you on?