The Orange Bowl is over.
Let the Harbaugh Hyperventilation begin.
Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh – big surprise – didn’t announce he’s bolting to San Francisco, Denver or Ann Arbor, Mich., after the Cardinal routed Virginia Tech, 40-12, tonight in Miami.
Instead, he avoided ESPN’s Michelle Tafoya in the moments after the game and dodged a trophy presentation question about his future by insisting the spotlight remain on his players.
“It’s all about them,” he said.
As far as many Niners fans are concerned, it’s all about Harbaugh, who has transformed Stanford from patsy to power and, even better, is an offensive-minded former NFL quarterback who appears to have done OK working with Andrew Luck.
In the pre-Orange-Bowl Harbaugh news cycle, it was reported/speculated by NBC’s Mike Florio that Harbaugh would want former Raiders executive Michael Lombardi – not frontrunner Trent Baalke – to be the next GM if he were to come to San Francisco. But Lombardi downplayed such talk in a chat with the Sacramento Bee and the San Francisco Chronicle says Baalke and Harbaugh have a “relationship.”
So that clears it all up.
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King said it’s between the Niners and the University of Michigan for Harbaugh (he’ll make a decision by Wednesday, King says) while there is at least one report that incoming Broncos executive John Elway, an honorary Stanford captain at the Orange Bowl, discussed the Denver job with Harbaugh in Miami.
By the way, King also said that if the Niners can’t get Harbaugh, they would be interested in Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher, assuming Fisher leaves the Titans.
It’s a lot to digest, but don’t worry – there will be more news. Probably by the time you finish reading this sentence.
Also, not to get ahead of ourselves here, but the 49ers are scheduled to play at Baltimore in the 2011 season.
The Ravens, of course, are coached by Harbaugh’s older brother, John.