September 04, 2009

Feuds of the Week is a collection of the week's most pressing matchups. Not included this week: LeGarrette Blount's Right Fist vs All Boise State Comers.

Men's Tennis vs Women's Tennis

First of all, allow me to clarify. This isn't a comparison of actual ability, but rather which sex's game is now more compelling.

For the past 10 years or so, every tennis analyst spoke of how bored they were of the big serves and quick points on the men's side and conversely, how in love they were with the wide range of personalities on the women's side.

Turn on the U.S. Open, though, and you're likely to find that things have shifted back to the men's side. The biggest rivalry in the game is there (Federer/Nadal), serving and volleying is all but dead, Novak Djokovic is hilarious (No. 4 in the world), and Andy Murray is much more of a threat from the UK in the majors than Tim Henman ever was. Plus, they're even copying each other's haircuts, which always gets you points.

On the women's side, you have the excellence of the Williams sisters and then, well, a number of vaguely robotic Russian backboards. The dropoff from Venus and Serena to the next American woman is No. 3-No. 70. Yikes.

The Verdict: The ladies had a nice run, especially during the Hingis/Kournikova/Capriati/Davenport era. but the men are once again the bigger story. That said, if Ana Ivanovic bounces back into the top three, I'm completely willing to backpedal on this verdict. No questions asked.

Rich Rodriguez vs the Michigan Wolverines

The week before the Michigan football season begins should be a crazed, exciting one for everyone involved in the program. Well, too bad for you Maize and Blue.

Rodriguez, in the same week, was accused (by members of his own team) of violating NCAA rules by overworking Michigan players and then sued over a Virginia real-estate deal.

The NCAA's rules about offseason workouts are specific, but the term "voluntary" can be interpreted in a number of ways. It seems that, for whatever reason, Michigan players are either: A) quick to cry foul about working hard or B) not the biggest fans of Rodriguez and his staff.

The Verdict: Whatever you had penciled in as Michigan's win total for 2009, go ahead and knock one or two off. The surprising thing is that Michigan, a legendary midwestern program on the verge of implosion, still hasn't been picked for a national championship run this season. There's still time, Lou...

Ricky Rubio vs the Minnesota Timberwolves

Rubio, he of the shaggy Spanish hair and dubious shooting technique, has decided that Minnesota isn't the place for him and will opt instead to sign a new deal with FC Barcelona to continue his career in Spain.

Rubio predictably blames the breakdown on the Timberwolves unwillingness to up their buyout offers, while Minnesota will now be forced to move on without the fifth pick in the this year's draft.

Minnesota continues to own Rubio's rights, while Rubio has the option to leave his current deal in two seasons.

The Verdict: Minnesota has had plenty of time to shop Rubio around the NBA -- probably the wise move when your draft pick openly doesn't care to even see what your city looks like. It's too bad, nobody wants to see Rubio and Prince standing back-to-head on a T'wolves billboard more than I do.

NFL Assistant Coaches vs Unemployment

This week, the second-to-last week before Week 1 of the NFL season, saw three offensive coordinators get the axe. Chan Gailey was let go by the Chiefs for, well, being Chan Gailey, Jeff Jagodzinski was relieved of his duties by Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris over disagreements regarding the starting QB job and the Bills fired Turk Schonert.

Gailey's dismissal makes a little more sense since he wasn't hired by Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. That falls to Herm Edwards, who may have been too busy doing wind sprints and building on things to fully appreciate that which is Chan Gailey's resumé.

Jagodzinski was both hired and fired by Morris before he had the chance to even coach for the Bucs.

The Verdict: It's a little asking a girl out, having her say "yes" and then being told that she's going in a different direction -- all before your first date. Good times. Still, as bad as it probably is to be Jagodzinski today, I say it's not too far off from the barrel that Frank Spaziani could be looking down this season.

Curt Schilling vs The Senate

After the passing of Ted Kennedy, the longtime Massachusetts senator, many important names were repeatedly (and rightfully so) discussed regarding the legendary politician's career and lasting relationships.

Naturally, the topic of the open U.S. Senate Seat has come up, and of all the names to be tossed around, the one that has seemed to generate the most news is .. Curt Schilling?

Schilling hasn't exactly squashed the story, saying he has "interest in the possibility."

It boils down to this: The outspoken Schilling gets a much bigger platform and The Senate gets an outspoken, former power-pitching blogger.

The Verdict: While it'll never happen in Massachusetts, Schilling is likable enough that, down the road, it's not completely unfathomable. There's always a shot when Stuart Smalley can make it.

Craig Ferguson vs Attractive Actresses

When Conan started hosting The Tonight Show a couple of months ago, I wondered who would win the brand new 11:30 late night battle.

Well, after watching Mila Kunis and Zooey Deschanel sit on Craig Ferguson's couch, the Scotsman is now making a case for himself to be mentioned alongside the heavyweights of late night comedy.

His monologue and interviews (especially when faced with especially good-looking, young actresses) have been consistently off-the-charts great. Really, anytime a host can throw in an unexpected question about hang gliding during a lull in the conversation with Kunis, I'm pretty much won over.

The Verdict: Since the current state of TV comedy is so disappointing, late night is now the best place to see good comedy consistently hitting on all cylinders. Ferguson has the advantage of having almost no pressure. He's free to just wing it constantly and he's turning out gold. Additionally, me like pretty girls.

Dan Rubenstein writes for and co-hosts The Solid Verbal college football podcast with's Ty Hildenbrandt. He can be e-mailed here.

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