Couchsideshow.com is pleased to announce that bloggers Chuck Constantino, Trevor Gould and Brett Murdock earned their Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Ariz., last weekend.
Constantino, Murdock and Gould spent the past four years working for the Lumberjack, NAU’s weekly student newspaper. Constantino served as the Lumberjack’s sports editor for two of his four years at NAU while Murdock proved as a solid sports reporter. Gould also served on the Lumberjack staff, covering Arts & Entertainment as well as sports. The pair join other Couch Side bloggers, Stayson Isobe, Matthew Vinsko and myself as other NAU graduates on our staff. I would personally like to thank and congratulate Constantino, Murdock, who earned print journalism degrees, and Gould, who earned a public relations degree, for their work on this website and their accomplishments in the classroom. All of you can now be proud to call yourselves GRADUATES! You’ve earned it.
Here’s a closer look at my experiences with these bloggers: (more…)
Led by cannon armed passing aficionado Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints’ high-powered offensive aerial assault lit up the highlight reels and posed a significant threat to even the most talented defensive secondaries. The “who dat” Saints racked up an impressive 13-3 regular season record and entered the playoffs with unrelenting momentum and confidence. They went on to beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV, earning the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
Yet the Saints success was much sweeter then just their championship.
They singlehandedly helped revitalize the world-weary city of New Orleans and bring it from the depths of despair into a new era of optimism. Many Saints players were active members in the community, and could be seen helping clean up Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. The team was much more than a successful sporting franchise to New Orleans: it was a beacon of hope and renewal, and gave the citizens an emotional outlet to heap their hopes and dreams upon. At the helm of this revolution was the illustrious young coach Sean Payton, a man who represented every positive quality an individual could ever ask for.
Now, after the recent revelations of the Saints bounty system, Payton has been suspended for the entire 2012 season. All the pride and glory has been swept away. The gaudy images of the Saints hoisting the championship trophy seem warped and distorted, a distant memory that is slowly eroding before our very eyes. (more…)
Hailed as the premier pitching force in the Nippon Professional Baseball League, Darvish spent seven years throwing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, posting an absurd stat line consisting of a 1.99 ERA, 1,259 strikeouts, and 93-38 win-loss record. Off the field, Darvish has lived the lifestyle typically associated with that of a rock star, dating adult film stars and engaging in erratic and somewhat childish behavior on a regular basis.
Standing at an imposing 6’5, Darvish is a righty who wields a versatile arsenal of pitches that include a sizzling 4-seam fastball, vicious slurve, cutter, splitter, curveball, and 2-seam fastball. Course, his total number of pitches will be diluted down in Spring Training,
As evidenced by his stellar career pitching stats, Darvish dominated his Japanese hitting opposition, winning the Pacific League’s MVP Award in 2007 and 2009.
Out of all the potential places he could land, 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III would be best suited to start his NFL career in a Washington Redskins jersey.
The Washington Redskins are one of the many teams currently contemplating trading up to receive the Ram’s second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. They are reportedly willing to offer their sixth overall pick and next year’s first round selection along with two other picks for the opportunity to draft RG III. While it is a very steep price, it will be well worth it.
For starters, the Washington Redskins need a true franchise quarterback. For too long now have they rested all their hopes upon the shoulders of journeymen (John Beck), inconsistent youth (Jason Campbell), and aging veterans (Donovan McNabb).
As pitchers and catchers reported to their respective camps during the past few days, Couch Side also has Spring Training fever.
And with the Major League Baseball season about a month away, we’ve decided to begin a look into the top players at each position. So here is our fist in a series of 12 blogs in which we will break down the top five players at each position during the next few weeks. Couch Side’s own Trevor Gould appropriately chose to start our series off with starting pitchers. Here is who he sees as this year’s movers and shakers from the hill.
1. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Last year, Justin Verlander almost singlehandedly redefined the definition of domination. The right-handed fire-baller posted a league high 24 wins along with a stellar 2.40 ERA, scintillating 250 punch-outs, and a .92 WHIP, the lowest in the league. Major League Baseball rewarded Verlander handsomely for his accomplishments by handing him both the AL Cy Young and league MVP award. Verlander’s pitches often exceed 100 MPH, and he is able to accurately pinpoint all areas of the strike zone, keeping hitters constantly guessing. Thanks to the Tigers’ offensive potency and the recent addition of power bat Prince Fielder, Verlander has a very good chance of racking up an equally gaudy number of wins this season.
So much for Ricky Rubio being unable to adapt to life in the NBA.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound point guard from Barcelona has shown he is right at home amongst the fast-paced play and formidable competition of the NBA. Plus, it’s just been too much fun watching SportsCenter highlights of Rubio’s precise and lighting quick passes.
So far this season, Rubio has demonstrated impressive court vision and pinpoint passing accuracy. His unselfish team play and desire to make everyone look good has allowed him to divvy up a bevy of impressive bounce passes, lobs, and alley-oops which have translated into points. While he’ll never put up huge scoring numbers, Rubio is currently averaging 11 points per game and shooting 46 percent from the field.
Immense basketball IQ aside, what really makes Rubio special is how his passes don’t simply make it into the hands of his intended targets; they help create shots. He uses his passing prowess to put his teammates in a better position to score. He is currently averaging 8.3 assists per game, along with 2 steals and 3.8 boards. Rubio recently posted his first double-double in a game against the Miami Heat.
For the longest time, sports pundits and analysts questioned Rubio’s ability to effectively make the transition from European basketball to the faster paced and more athletic NBA. He has shown that not only can he adapt, he can potentially excel. The increased physical skills of his teammates allow him to deliver faster passes on the break and give him the opportunity to dazzle audiences with alley-oop lobs that bring crowds to their feet. His job is also made easier due to the fact he is playing with double-double machine Kevin Love, athletic rookie specimen Derrick Williams, and aspiring second year shooting guard Wes Johnson.
BY TREVOR GOULD, Couchsideshow.com writer
At 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, and boasting a 4.35 40-yard dash and 44 inch vertical leap, Calvin Johnson has always been a man amongst boys.
Ever since being selected No. 2 overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2007 NFL Draft, the wide receiver known as “Megatron” has made opposing cornerbacks look like small children, compiling 5,628 yards receiving and 48 touchdowns since entering the league. For years he was the only legitimate offensive threat on a horrendous Lions offense that consistently ranked in the bottom half of total team offense every year. Johnson’s progression has been further hounded by minor injuries that plagued his first few seasons. Yet as the Lions emerge into relevance for the first time in over a decade, a healthy Calvin Johnson is reaping the benefits and establishing himself as the premier wideout in the NFL.
With one game left to play in the 2011 NFL regular season, Calvin has amassed 85 receptions, totaling a career-best 1,437 receiving yards with a league leading 15 touchdowns. In addition, he is 2nd in the league with 25 25-plus yard receptions and 1st in receptions of 40-plus yards with nine. Much of Johnson’s impressive production can be attributed to his stellar rapport with gunslinger Matthew Stafford, who has finally proved he can stay healthy over the course of a full season. Other offensive weapons include veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson, rookie burner Titus Young, promising tight end Brandon Pettigrew,
and the running back trio of Jahvid Best, Maurice Morris, and Kevin Smith (too bad they all keep getting injured). Now that the Lions offense contains other playmaking weapons, defenses cannot key in solely on Calvin, which has allowed him to take his game to a higher level.