Friday, December 09, 2005

Freaking out and geeking out! 

But before I explain those two, last night I was weirded out after initially being creeped out. Out out. You see, sometime between when I returned to work from lunch and quittin' time, someone had been in my car. Unsupervised. I'd call it a break-in, but there was no evidence of forcible entry into my car -- and, yes, I locked the doors. What freaked the hell out of me, though, was that the contents inside were strewn about as though somebody was looking for something. Admittedly, my car interior is a mess. It's like a category four disaster in there. But the chaos is organized. So imagine my worry when I noticed that my organized chaos was wrecked all over the backseat, the dashboard is in shambles, and all the little compartments around my radio and glove box were dishevelled. Amazingly enough, nothing appears to have been stolen. All of my title, insurance, registration was still there. No CDs were missing (in fact, I found a couple I thought had gone missing), sunglasses were still there. My guess is that the thief was looking for a key (why a spare key would be in a locked car, I don't know) or money. Also, I have a theory that the car itself wasn't taken because there was an accident at the intersection just next to it and police were on the scene. Maybe the guy got scared at the sight of the po-po and fled? I don't know. What I do know is that street parking is bullshit.

Okay, okay. Okay... Okay, seriously, guys. 'Kay. I'm freaking out about the World Cup draw taking place in just a couple hours! Guys! Really, guys. Oh man. I've been geeking out all week during the final build-up. If you're like me, you can watch the draw unfold on your interweb either here or here. And I'm sure several other places, too. Here's how the draw will work, in case you have no idea:

Pot One: Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Spain

Pot Two: Australia, Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo, Tunisia, Ecuador, Paraguay

Pot Three: Croatia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine

Pot Four: Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago, United States

Special pot: Serbia & Montenegro


• The eight seeded teams will be drawn into eight different groups. Germany have already been allocated Group A and Brazil Group F.

• The eight unseeded European sides, in pot three, will be drawn.

• The lowest-ranked European side, Serbia and Montenegro, will be allocated to one of the groups containing either Brazil, Argentina or Mexico to ensure there is no more than two European sides in any group.

• The pot containing the five African countries, Australia and the two remaining South American sides, pot two, will be drawn.

• The pot containing the four Asian countries, the USA, Costa Rica and Trinidad, pot four, will be drawn.

Thoughts before we know the groupings --

- This incarnation of the German team is not the vintage world talent we've all come to know. They're suffering from a lack of homegrown talent and haven't looked particularly special in the last couple of years. While being the host, and gaining a decided advantage as a result of that, I think they make the semifinals at best.

- There's been a lot of talk around these parts that the USA was deserving of a seed. Let me assure you, the very notion is nonsense. FIFA's subjective, baseless rankings aside, the US has failed to impress on many levels. Perhaps in 2010 will we be considered a force, but winning a pathetic Gold Cup, topping Concacaf (with only Mexico as the other quality team in the region) on goal difference, and a constant failure to succeed away from home keep the America's reputation at the level of darkhorse. Regardless of what group we are drawn into, we will be underdogs to finish in the top two. Certainly, I think we're capable of reaching the 2nd round, but we're not a lock. Especially given our history of futility playing on European soil.

- My top 5 teams as of today: Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, Italy, England. Your World Cup champion will emerge from this lot. I'll be able to handicap the field once the groupings are set.

- In lieu of Nigeria, Cameroon, and South Africa (grr...) all failing to qualify this year, I'm tabbing Ghana as the African team most likely to make waves and pull off a couple upsets. I think the "Black Stars" could do really well for themselves, maybe even be this year's Senegal and shockingly reach the quarterfinals. Hmm... maybe not. But possibly so!

- Dream draw scenario for the United States: Spain (we can't be drawn in with Mexico), Switzerland/Ukraine, Angola/Togo.

- Nightmare draw scenario for the United States: Argentina/Brazil, Australia/Paraguay (only if the US isn't in Argentina or Brazil's group could we face Paraguay), Netherlands/Czech Republic.

Hold damn hell, I can barely stand it. Nerding out so hard, right now. Significantly less excited about week 14 in the NFL, though there are a couple good games slated:

Pittsburgh over Chicago -- This is the one to watch. Steelers right the ship at home after sliding big time in the AFC playoff race.
Cincinnati over Cleveland -- Blowout. (BB)
Seatlle over San Francisco -- Blowout. (BB)
Indianapolis over Jacksonville -- Would've been a great game if Leftwich was healthy.
Tennessee over Houston -- Someone has to win.
Oakland over NY Jets -- Raiders!
NY Giants over Philadelphia -- If there was any doubt the Eagles were done this season, it was erased when they lost at home 42-0 to Seattle on Monday night.
New England over Buffalo -- Patriots look like just another team lately. It's weird.
Kansas City over Dallas -- Here's a huge game. Chiefs are white hot, though, thanks to Larry "totally saving my fantasy team" Johnson.
Carolina over Tampa Bay -- Playoff implications galore in this one. Panthers have a better offense.
Denver over Baltimore -- Broncos rebound from last week's loss. Blowout. (BB)
Washington over Arizona -- Wouldn't be shocked if the Cards got the W, but I would be mildly surprised.
Minnesota over St. Louis -- Vikings are on fire! Losing Culpepper for the year was the best thing that ever happened to them. Stunning!
San Diego over Miami -- Everything is clicking for the team with the best chance (in my opinion) off beating the Colts.
Green Bay over Detroit -- These teams both really suck. A lot.
Atlanta over New Orleans -- Watch Michael Vick dazzle on Monday Night Football.

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