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Monday, December 27, 2010
Start the Jim Harbaugh speculation

By Ted Miller

The San Francisco 49ers have fired Mike Singletary, which means speculation about Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh's future is about to become frenzied.

Think some folks at Michigan are paying attention? You'll note that the Wolverines' present coach, Rich Rodriguez, has been lacking any type of definitive vote of confidence from the Michigan powers that be.

Harbaugh, whose Cardinal arrived in Miami on Monday to begin on-site preparations for the Discover Orange Bowl, might be the hottest football coach in the nation. Odds are somebody is going to try very hard to lure him away from Stanford. 

Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby has said that he believes Harbaugh will sign a new contract extension. It appears that Harbaugh and Bowlsby aren't exactly on the same page.

Michigan would be alluring for Harbaugh because it's his alma mater. But he wouldn't even have to move to take over the 49ers.

Expect this to be a hot topic leading up to the Orange Bowl, one that could be settled one way or another shortly thereafter. Of course, things could break before then, and that would be a shame because it would obscure one of the best seasons in Stanford history.

Big question: Does the "Where is Harbaugh going?" talk distract the Cardinal this week as it gets ready for Virginia Tech?