This guy is in. That guy is out. This guy will be re-signed, and that guy will be fired. This guy will get an extension, and that guy will get a pink slip. Rumors are swirling about the futures of such sporting names as LeBron and Raheem, Vinny and C.C. So what will happen? Where will these people be exactly one year from today? Here's one opinion on where these athletes and coaches will — or won't — be.
Bobby Bowden will be coaching Florida State
Didn't you hear what his wife told USA Today? Dagummit, Bobby ain't going anywhere! FSU will have to fire him … if it has the guts. And the guess here is it doesn't. Everything sets up to give Bowden one more season to cap off what has been a splendid career. It seems to be what he wants. So FSU has two choices: It can let Bowden have his final season in the hope he can go out on an up-note with quarterback Christian Ponder, or it can blow up the special relationship between Bowden and the program he has built. As badly as some at FSU want Bowden out, denying him one more season doesn't seem worth ruining that relationship over. If Bowden, 80, wanted to come back for, say, two or three more seasons, this might be a different story. But if it's one season, Bowden can have it.
Charlie Weis will not be coaching Notre Dame
Weis seems like a decent fella, and it's not entirely his fault that Notre Dame has fallen off the national landscape. But a 36-27 record — which Notre Dame is likely to have when we close the books on this season — just isn't going to cut it, and too many other good coaches are out there for the Irish alumni to sit and swallow losing to the likes of Navy anymore. Weis will end up back where he belongs, as an offensive coordinator in the NFL, while Notre Dame places calls to Cincinnati's Brian Kelly, former Bucs coach Jon Gruden and maybe even Gators coach Urban Meyer. One year from now, Kelly will be calling the shots in South Bend.
Raheem Morris will be coaching the Bucs
Back when the Bucs were 0-7, there were two questions: Will the Bucs win a game, and if they don't, will Morris get the ax? Well, the Bucs have won one and nearly another, and though a second victory might not come, they do seem to have enough signs of life with quarterback Josh Freeman for Morris to keep his job. Unless the Bucs tank it and start losing games, like 55-0, Morris will get the chance to keep building. What about two years from now? That's not so certain.
Jon Gruden will not be at ESPN
Yeah, we know, the former Bucs coach just signed a multiyear extension with ESPN, and the network seems convinced he will be in the booth for years to come. But Gruden was born to coach, and if the right job comes along, he will drop his microphone and grab a whistle. But Gruden won't leave for just any job. It would have to be high profile, and there could be such an opening with the Cowboys or Redskins. Notre Dame is a possibility, too, but does Gruden really want to sit in living rooms trying to convince snot-nosed 18-year-old kids to play for him? The guess here is he will be in Dallas one year from today.
Tim Tebow will be playing in the NFL
First, Tebow is way too good of a player not to be playing in the NFL next season. The questions are where and at what position. Some believe he will be a tight end or fullback for his hometown Jaguars. Jacksonville does seem like a good fit, but the prediction here is that he will be somebody's No. 3 quarterback a year from now. Tebow has done too much as a quarterback and the league has way too many good quarterback coaches who can work with him for a team to switch his position, at least for a year or two.
Carl Crawford will not be playing for the Rays
This is the Rays' small-market nightmare. Crawford can test the open market next offseason, and why wouldn't he? What he could get is likely way more than the Rays could afford to pay him. Plus, Crawford must wonder whether he is shaving years off his career by running on the fake turf at Tropicana Field. Know which teams have real grass? The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers. Know which teams have lots of money? The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers. Okay, maybe we're wrong. Maybe Crawford won't go to one of those teams. Maybe he'll go to the Cubs or Phillies. He could end up with a lot of teams. The Rays just don't seem like one of them.
LeBron James will not be playing in Cleveland
James will be a free agent in the summer, and whenever he is asked about where he will be next season, he rarely says more than "We'll see,'' which isn't a reason for optimism if you're a Cavaliers fan. James wants an NBA title, and the Cavs brought in Shaquille O'Neal to help him get it. But even with Shaq, the Cavs are not better than Boston, Orlando and maybe even Atlanta. If LeBron is going to play for a team that isn't going to win a title, he might as well play for the Knicks. New York — the biggest market in the country, with a team that has cleared the salary cap space to pay him a king's ransom — seems like the perfect fit. Sorry, Cleveland, but everybody — the league, the fans, the networks, everybody except Ohioans — want to see LeBron calling Madison Square Garden home.
Vinny Lecavalier will not be playing with the Lightning
We've been hearing these rumors for years, and we're certainly not advocating a trade of perhaps the best player in franchise history. But let's face it, the Lightning continues to rebuild, and Steven Stamkos, right, has emerged as a legitimate star and heir apparent to Lecavalier as the face of the franchise. The future Lightning will build around Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman, and the Lightning brass might believe the best way to accelerate the rebuilding is to deal Lecavalier for two or three solid players. Lecavalier turns 30 in April. To get the best value in return, the Lightning would have to pull the trigger next summer at the latest.
Vinny Lecavalier will not be playing with the Lightning
We've been hearing these rumors for years, and we're certainly not advocating a trade of perhaps the best player in franchise history. But let's face it, the Lightning continues to rebuild, and Steven Stamkos has emerged as a legitimate star and heir apparent to Lecavalier as the face of the franchise. The future Lightning will build around Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman, and the Lightning brass might believe the best way to accelerate the rebuilding is to deal Lecavalier for two or three solid players. Lecavalier turns 30 in April. To get the best value in return, the Lightning would have to pull the trigger next summer at the latest.