Feuds of the Week is a collection of the week's most pressing matchups. It was also THIS close to being the subject of James Cameron's new opus. Now, I'm going to have to settle for Ron Howard. Psh, Howard.
Usain Bolt vs. Other Sports
Bolt, the undisputed Fastest Man on Earth had a pretty standard week for him -- two world records (100m, 200m) and a solid variety of poses. Unfortunately, though, being the most dominant athlete in the world isn't good enough for some people (bored sports radio hosts grasping at straws until football season starts), so the speculation has begun as to whether or not Bolt could run fly routes, steal bases or score breakaway goals.
Guess what? He can't. Sports are highly specialized activities. They require a foundation that consists of years of training, learning, and adapting. Furthermore, how much do you hear about who Bolt actually beat? Sure, we know about Tyson Gay because he's the fastest American alive, but the biggest opponent Usain Bolt has taken down is Usain Bolt (circa last August). Learning a new sport while adapting to a team locker room and gaining the trust of teammates would all be completely foreign.
The Verdict: He's not going to learn how to read a pitcher before stealing a base, he's not going to build up the tenacity to beat jams at the line of scrimmage, and he's not going on endless breakaways on the soccer pitch. As great an athlete as Bolt clearly is, there's only one true sport that produces champion athletes versatile enough to excel at any game.
Bryce Brown vs. NCAA Eligibility
OK, try to stay with me here. You're telling me that the No. 1 ranked incoming college running back who was repeatedly the subject of rampant suspicion during his recruitment because of his "advisor" may now be ineligible to play for Tennessee, a school that only started recruiting him a month before college football's signing day?
To be fair, Brian Butler, Brown's trainer and recruiting advisor has stated that the case is over cash sums raised to take Brown and other prospects on an "academic" tour of major universities around the country. The only problem is that prospects may only visit schools unofficially if it is at their own expense, which in this case, may not be the case. Shockingly.
The Verdict: Not that anyone could predict specifically what would've happened with Brown, but after his trainer/advisor started charging for updates and masterminding the recruitment of numerous prospects, it was just a matter of time before there was something. This, of course, in no way has to do with the fact that I partly revolve my February emotions around the recruiting class of Oregon, a Brown-spurned school. Weird coincidence, that's all.
MLB Pitchers vs. Preventing Head Trauma
Generally, August is the most boring month of the baseball season. The dog days. The season isn't new and postseason races have yet to fully materialize. Luckily, the second-to-last month of the regular season is now the "August o' Attempted Decapitations." In what has become a near-everyday occurrence, pitchers are headhunting in the name of "retaliation" and "pitching inside."
The aggressive approach to pitching raises many questions: Will Major League Baseball take actions against managers who call for HBPs and the pitchers who carry out their orders? Will this lead to more players adopting safer helmet technology?
The Verdict: You can almost understand when a pitcher goes at the backside of a hitter to protect teammates after an opponent tries to send a message, but a retaliation pitch shouldn't go higher than that.
John Calipari vs. Rules and Regulations
This week, Memphis became the second Calipari-coached school (the first being UMass) to vacate a Final Four appearance. The punishment handed down stems from Derrick Rose's alleged SAT violations and benefits given to the brother of a Memphis player (also rumored to be Rose).
Calipari, who has since moved on to Kentucky, now officially has a pattern of breaking NCAA rules in an effort to do anything it takes to win a championship. As asinine as the NCAA can be, preventing coaches or programs from cheating is generally regarded as a worthwhile cause. Just saying.
The Verdict: Hey Kentucky, you know that 2011 Final Four appearance that you're going to treasure? Maybe wait a month or 20 before ordering that dumb, oversized Final Four shirt. You'll thank me later.
Shaq Vs vs. Nash Vs
Even though both parties are denying any sort of issue, the rumor goes that Steve Nash told Shaq months ago the pitch for his reality show in which Nash would take on various other top athletes at their chosen sport. Months later, Shaq announced plans for the same exact idea (the new ABC show, Shaq Vs). Supposedly Nash hired an entertainment lawyer, and then (poof!), the Suns point guard is now a credited executive producer.
Shaq has the advantage when size, power, and (occasional) touch is involved. This includes football, rowing, field events, volleyball, etc. Nash has the advantage when coordination, precision, and timing are involved. This includes action sports (skating, surfing, etc), baseball, and soccer.
The Verdict: Shaq's would get bigger ratings, but I would argue that Nash's would be more interesting, as he's got a wider athletic range and his own sense of humor. In any case, we can all agree that neither would be nowhere near as good as Robin Lopez Vs.
Dan Rubenstein writes for SI.com and co-hosts The Solid Verbal college football podcast with SI.com's Ty Hildenbrandt. He can e-mailed here.