Nobody can put you on the spot quite like an old friend. And, thanks to the Barking Spider, I've been recommended to you as a papal enclave handicapper.
The white smoke went up about a half-hour ago. I'm afraid that I won't live up to the pressure; in fact I've been hanging my own hat on Kathryn Jean Lopez's Corner updates, along with the local news broadcast. As of 12:36 PM, no announcement yet to the new man's identity, however.
My initial thought is that it won't be Cardinal Ratzinger. I like one of the two young Italians (whose names escape me currently), not because of the whole Italian pope thing but because it's likely the Cardinals will choose a young, dynamic priest in ironic counterpoint to John Paul II (who started out exactly that way 26+ years ago). Cardinal Arinze from Africa is also a contender.
Ratzinger may be looked upon unfairly as a chair-warmer - a man who was instrumental during the Second Vatican council forty years ago, and who would keep John Paul's legacy going while a "real pope" was planned. The problem there is that John Paul's declining health was a long-term concern; the Cardinals would have already been doing such planning. And I seriously doubt that the Church would look at it that way; I'm trying to get inside the secular head a little here, and it's such a confined area... Besides, the broadcast heavily features Notre Dame's Fr. Richard McBrien, who can give you all the non-Catholic thought you care to have.
The name? John Paul III seems like a lead-pipe cinch. If it is Cardinal Ratzinger, he may go Leo XIV, or perhaps Gregory (I think it would be VIII). Either choice would rock.
More in a bit...