We thought (and some of us still think) we'd be watching Urban Meyer's final stint with the Florida Gators when the Sugar Bowl kicks off on New Year's Day.
We know for certain that the Gator Bowl will be Bobby Bowden's last game as head coach of Florida State.
And one never knows what Joe Paterno is thinking...
For those few head coaches whose last games are an occasion, the stakes are highest. On what note will their tenure conclude? Will it mar outstanding service? Or will it rectify a year, or several years, of unforgivable losses?
I've commemorated 10 leaders who fielded their final games in 10 very different stages of a coach's life: success, shame, ignorance, ignominy, suffering, hype, heat.
At the conclusion of this season, we'll be able to say which coaches are, right now, fighting these same private battles within, the pain of which we can only comprehend in retrospect.