This is an article from the Dec. 7, 2009 issue
SEC title game
Technically it's a conference championship, but it might be the de facto national title game: No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Alabama meet on Saturday (CBS). It's the fourth time the AP's top teams have met outside of bowl play since the BCS's birth in 1998. The last time? This game last year, when the Gators beat the No. 1 Tide.
World Cup draw
We know which 32 teams will be in the 2010 Cup finals. On Friday we find out who plays whom. The field, split into eight four-team groups, will be set by random drawing in Cape Town, where the title match will be played next July. Not a soccer fan? There's still reason to tune in (Fox Soccer Channel): Native South African Charlize Theron will help host.
A checklist for those going to baseball's winter bazaar: checkbook (G.M.'s), cellphone (agents), sweater (everybody). The four-day meetings begin on Dec. 7 in Indianapolis, the farthest north they've been since 1966. (Poor Scott Boras: He may get richer but not tanner.) Track the deals on the MLB Network.
Davis Cup final
Spain defends its title against the Czech Republic beginning on Friday in Barcelona (Tennis Channel). The Czechs haven't been in a final since 1980, but this might not be a Spanish cakewalk. Rafael Nadal, the defending champs' best player, is struggling; he was 0--3 at the ATP World Finals last week.
Sports Jobs with Junior Seau
He's back with the Patriots, but the linebacker spent the off-season trying new careers for Versus, toiling at such thankless tasks as stadium construction worker and Dodgers batboy. (He also covered a college game for SI.com.) Judge his skills on Wednesday nights.
The Pop Culture Grid
|Athletes in the mix||New Moon is ...||Dish I'd cook for Martha Stewart||My ____ needs fine tuning||Most I've spent on furniture||I think I'm obsessed with ...|
|JOAKIM NOAH Bulls F-C||Not for me||Something with Opus wine||Guitar||$2,000 on a Sleep Number bed||College house parties|
|MATTHEW STAFFORD Lions QB||A phase of the moon?||Eggs and bacon||Singing skills||$1,500 on a bed||Mexican food|
|HAMED HADDADI Grizzlies C||Maheh Jadid (New Moon in Farsi)||Ghormeh sabzi (rice, beans, meat and parsley stew)||Hairstyle||$2,000 on a TV stand||Foreign romance novels|
|ANDRE WARD Boxer||Nothing||Eggs with feta cheese and chicken-apple sausage||Dancing||$4,000 on a custom sectional sofa||Winning|
Inside the Grid
"I miss my college days a lot," says Noah, who won NCAA titles at Florida in 2006 and '07. To Haddadi the element of surprise is the best part of a romance novel. "They never end the way they are supposed to," he says. "Sometimes I can imagine myself as a character in them."