Baylor Bears Football: A New Reason to not Mess with Texas


If I asked you what team hasn’t had a victory by less than double digits this season, has a defense allowing only 17.4 points per game and beat its highest ranked opponent by more than four touchdowns, what team would you name? After another typical Saturday of hanging up more than 60 points on their opponent, the Baylor Bears have gone from unranked in the preseason to No. 3 in the current AP poll. Stanford’s loss to USC Saturday night allowed for the remaining undefeated teams to hold the top four spots in the latest BCS standings. While also undefeated Ohio State still holds the No. 3 spot in the BCS standings, it’s sweating with its .0013 advantage over the Bears in the computer rankings. Baylor heads to Stillwater this weekend to face No. 10 Oklahoma State, and a dominant victory over the Cowboys on their own home field should be enough to allow for Baylor to overtake Ohio State. While we’re still on a crash course for Alabama to meet Florida State in the BCS Championship game, barring one of the two losing, Baylor can make a strong argument for being the best team in the country.

Baylor ranks third in passing yards per game (384.4)and ninth in rushing yards per game (300.3) which explains its absurd 61.2 points per game. The Bears are the highest scoring team in the nation, averaging roughly 10 more points per game than Florida State, Oregon or Ohio State. Comparing the explosiveness of the Baylor offense to any other team is like comparing Usain Bolt to your high school track star. If the Bears continue their current scoring pace and continue to average 684 yards per game, they’ll be the new NCAA record holders for both categories at the end of the season. How explosive is this offense? When down 20-7 against Texas Tech this past Saturday, Baylor overcame the deficit in under three minutes. Oh, and that’s without leading rusher Lache Seastrunk and their second-best receiver Tevin Reese. The Bears offense just keeps rolling no matter what happens. The Bears offense is probably the most exciting thing that has ever come out of Waco. RGIII was a one-man show, the 2013 Baylor offense is a highly efficient scoring machine. While the Bears could certainly hold their own in any offensive shootout, it rarely comes to that.


The Bears defense can simply play, allowing only 17.4 points per game. Yes, the highest scoring offense also ranks seventh in points allowed. The Bears allow more than 300 yards per game to the opposing team, but they lead the Big 12 in both total defense and points allowed categories. The Bears defense has held opponents to single digits three times this season, and only allowed more than 25 points twice. As prolific as the offense is, the Bears have the defense to be able to keep the game close when the offense can’t get going. The game against Oklahoma is probably the best example of this. The Baylor offense only managed a field goal through the first quarter and a half, before exploding for 21 points. Oklahoma had multiple scoring opportunities but the Baylor defense demonstrated itself with a goal line stand, a defensive stop from within 10 yards of the end zone and forcing a missed field goal. While the offense of the Bears gets most of the attention and the credit, the Bears defense will be crucial in the game against Oklahoma State. Not only does Baylor need to win, but it needs to win decisively if it hopes to secure the No.3  spot in the BCS rankings over Ohio State. A high scoring shootout would be exciting for fans, but it’s not going to help the Bears cause as much as a dominant victory.

Now, everyone is going to say that it’s not hard to put up stats when you play the schedule that Baylor plays. It’s like saying that it’s fair that Britney Griner gets to play basketball against women.There’s nothing impressive about hanging up 70 points on Buffalo and UL Monroe or preventing those teams from scoring. I’m of the opinion that putting up 70 points is generally always impressive and that the defense shouldn’t be criticized so long as it does its job. Baylor hasn’t just beat these teams, it has flat out destroyed them. Their closest game is a 35-25 victory against Kansas State. At the time that didn’t seem so good, but Kansas State has now rattled off four straight victories including a win against No. 25 Texas Tech. If it goes on to beat Oklahoma next week, that  10 point victory starts to look a little better. Then-No. 10 Oklahoma is the only ranked opponent that Baylor has played so far, but it won by more than 30 points. With Ohio State having games against Michigan and Michigan State (in the Big Ten championship game) remaining, Baylor will need to take advantage of this opportunity against Oklahoma State. A defining win may be enough to keep the Bears in the No. 3 spot until the end of the season, while a slight victory may only have it switch places with Ohio State for a week. The Bears need a lot of cards to fall into place if they hope to play in the National Championship game, the first being a defining win this weekend. Even if the national championship game is Florida State-Alabama, Baylor is having a record breaking season that may have us wishing the College Football Playoff was starting this year.


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Tye Masters
Sports Activist for The Cover 4


The Sound Off by Long Island Sound

The Cover 4 presents you The Sound Off by Long Island Sound…

Let us know what you think!

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Long Island Sound
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

Don’t Be “That Guy” During your Fantasy Draft


It’s officially August, and that means it’s the time of year that sports fans forget about all other fantasies that don’t involve fantasy football. Although many of us have been doing mock drafts and rating running backs since the Super Bowl ended, draft time is officially right around the corner. With crimes being so rampant in the NFL right now, I’m here to make sure you don’t commit one during your draft. Don’t be the one who ruins their league’s draft and gets his trades vetoed all season long. Everyone hates “that guy.” Nobody wants to be “that guy.” So, don’t be “that guy.” Protect yourself and don’t act as any of the following:

The Delay of Game

Don’t be the guy who shows up late to his draft. Odds are you’ve known about the date and time for weeks. If you’re doing an online draft, all it takes is one or two auto drafts and not only can your team be ruined, but the whole league drastically changes. If you are all drafting in person, you are making the whole league wait on you. We all know that fantasy drafts are a process that will take hours to get done. Also, by being late you drastically increase the risks that the beer will be gone before the kickers start going. If you make the league wait for the draft, you will wait on the league during the draft. Enjoy being the guy to grab everyone’s beers from the fridge.

The Bum

If you’re playing in a money league, don’t show up to the draft without having paid your dues. Asking someone for money is always an awkward situation, so do your best to avoid it and pay on time. Don’t be the douche that keeps trying to get out of paying because he doesn’t like the team he drafted. The earlier that all the money is collected, the better it is for the entire league. Good luck trying to get a guy that is 2-10 to fork over $100 come playoff time. Make it easy for everyone and don’t be the bum that can’t pay.

The Caveman

This is the guy who has been living under a rock, sat in the dark, or suffered a serious head injury the day before the draft. You know, the guy who is going to draft Aaron Hernandez in the fourth round and think he got a steal. You’ll know you are this guy because you will draft a person and immediately hear the entire room laugh out loud at you. Not only will you ruin your draft, but you will be the butt of every joke the entire season.

The Whiner

We’ve all heard them before: “I never get the first pick,” “this is the worst year to pick eighth,” or “if I had your pick my team would be so much better.” There’s always that guy who decides to whine about his draft position. Nobody wants to hear your excuse for why your team sucks. It’s not where you drafted, it’s just you.

The Whistleblower

This is the guy who gets most hated by his fellow fantasy players. It’s bound to happen at some point during the draft, and odds are it will ruin the pick you had lined up. This is the guy who yells “How is (insert player here) still on the board in this round?!” If you scream about a player still sitting on the board, everyone who wanted that player will hate you and rightfully so. Odds are some people saw him, but didn’t want to blow their chance getting him by yelling it out. This is a fantasy no-no and may get you punched in the throat.

The Einstein

Big whoopdy doo, you watched NFL Network and ESPN all week long and are throwing around more facts than Biogenesis throws out steroids. Few things are more annoying than this guy. Just because you watched and read Matthew Berry all week doesn’t mean you should pretend to be him. Nobody likes a know-it-all and everyone hates a person who simply is ACTING like a know-it-all. No matter what you say, I don’t need to know the name of every center, tackle or guard and their lingering ankle, middle toe or nipple injury to draft my running back. Some things are better left unsaid.

The Computer Thief

If you’ve ever had to share your computer with someone during a fantasy draft, you’ll know that this is one of the worst things that can happen. Don’t be the guy who forgets to bring his laptop to the draft. When you make someone else share their computer with you, you take away their time to research, can look at their draft queue, and just all around piss that person off. Make sure to bring your own computer and charge it before the draft. Draft picks are like girlfriends, some things you just don’t share.

The Macaulay Culkin

This is the guy who brags about his fantasy championships throughout the draft even though he hasn’t won in years. The only champ that escapes being a Macaulay Culkin is the league’s champion from last year. If you won your league last year, boast away, you’ve earned it. If you have to talk about the 8-man league you won five years ago, nobody wants to hear it. You may have been a hit in the past and had some glory moments, but you’re washed up now.

The Snail

There’s a time limit on draft picks for a reason, so don’t be that guy who uses the ENTIRE time limit each and every time you pick. Fantasy drafts are already a long process and don’t need to be made longer by you taking forever to decide between kickers. Few things are more annoying than the first or twelfth pick taking the full time for their two picks in a row. It’s like being stuck in line at a drive-thru because the guy in front of you placed a huge order. Don’t be the guy that slows everything down to a snail’s pace.

The Ed Hochuli

This is the guy who is constantly asking about the rules of the league. He’s either complaining about them, asking what they are or suggesting new ones. He’s bound to bust out, “we should really go PPR” or “the flex position shouldn’t allow running backs,” if it would help his team out. All this does is make everyone else wish they hadn’t allowed you in the league. The draft is not the time to bring up issues with league rules.

The Sleeper

This is the guy who read a bunch of fantasy articles about this year’s fantasy football sleepers and proceeds to draft every player named. Not only does he draft every sleeper, he also makes sure everyone knows that the player is indeed a sleeper. If you say “this guy is going to be good, he’s my sleeper pick,” you’re guilty. He’s everyone’s sleeper pick and ESPN has shown him about 10 times in their fantasy sleeper segment. By the end of the draft this guy is bragging about his team’s potential and the entire league is hoping that they’re all busts.

The Roster-bater

So the draft is completely over and you managed to not commit any of the acts that’ll turn you into “that guy.” You’re not out of danger yet, however, and the last thing you want to do is be caught roster-bating. Roster-bating is when you simply stare at your team saying how good your team is and how much you love it. If you’re going to do it, don’t do it out loud or in public, you’ll only embarrass yourself.

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Tye Masters
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

Tiger Woods: Major or Bust


Tiger Woods is one of the most successful and wealthiest athletes in this modern era. He changed the sport of golf for the better and arguably will go down in sports history as one of the most iconic sports figures of all time. That is a monumental accomplishment considering he’s a golfer. His run in golf at the turn of century will always be remembered as one of his highest levels of play, but it was a long time ago. With 13 Majors, it wasn’t a matter of if Woods would pass Jack Nicklaus for most majors won, but when would it happen.


Tiger won the 2008 U.S. Open by defeating Rocco Mediate in a playoff on a surgically repaired knee. Ironically and sadly, this was the last major he has won. And last time I checked my iPhone, it did read May 2013. It’s been almost five years and the new normal question for Woods is, “Will he ever win a major again?” A lot has happened to Tiger on and off the course. By now, most people are aware that Woods is human and like all athletes, subjected to the temptations that the fame and power that famous athletes experience. He divorced the mother of his two children and bottomed out when he checked himself into a sex addition rehab center.


However, Tiger still has many fans and followers, myself included, eager to get a taste again of what we witnessed back in 2001. Without Tiger dominating the sport, golf is not as exciting as a viewer. With Tiger, so goes the sport of golf. With the chase of the major streak, so gives us a story of anticipation and fascination of every major that is played. He needs five to tie and six to beat Nicklaus’ record, but winning one major is looking pretty good at this point.


Tiger has slowly improved and revamped his golf game in the past years, giving the fans hope and optimism that we might once again be seeing the Tiger of old. He has had new swing coaches, therapists and a new caddy desperately trying to help reestablish himself as the sport’s top golfer. He has indeed won his fair share of tournaments, thankfully helping himself regain his spot as the number one golfer in the world. Nothing against Lee Westwood or Luke Donald, but they were the Millard Fillmore and Rutherford B. Hayes of that spot.


Tiger just won The Players Championship in compelling fashion this weekend at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. He won by two strokes and had a competitive moment with Sergio Garcia that added to the tournament’s headline. “(Sergio’s)….always complaining about something,” Tiger muttered, reminding us who’s the top dog in the sport. Tiger has already won four tournaments this year, the fastest he has won four ever in his career. But the only one that matters at this point in his life is major titles. And this year, he is 0 for 1.


Going into this year’s Masters, he was hyped again as usual as everyone’s pick to win. With the improvement of Tiger’s game and hope restored amongst golf’s experts, the fact still remained that Tiger had not won a major since 2008. Every major that has gone by, Tiger has been a favorite and every one has gone by without him winning it. As a matter of fact, I cannot even recall him seriously contending recently. Going into this year’s Masters, however, something seemed different with his game. The putter. The putting stroke, where nothing was missed under ten feet, was back. The 50-foot snake putts were showing up in his game again like a forest in the Amazon jungle. The fist pumps were back like a club at the Jersey Shore. Energy was there. Confidence was rising.


In this year’s Masters, Tiger hung around after the first round, and made his move after day two. Just when we thought Tiger was ready to re-break through for a major title, we found out that Tiger literally and figuratively dropped the ball toward the end of his second round. He committed a rules infraction when dropping his ball after hitting his shot into the water. After the media scrutiny and an additional two-stroke penalty, Tiger once again faded out of major contention. He said he played well, but actually playing well and winning are two different things. He still has three majors left this year, but it seems as if Tiger does not break through with a major victory in the next year or two, we might be justified in wondering if he will ever win another one.


Tiger will be the favorite going into next month’s U.S. Open and he should be. He is the world’s number one golfer. He has already won four tournaments this year including The Players Championship, which he has not won since 2001. We remember that year for him, right? He looks to have that Tiger swag back. The staredown during his putting routine. The fierce look in his eye as a ball is in flight toward the pin. The red shirt on Sunday seems brighter than ever. He even is openly dating Lindsey Vonn, professional skier. Not that he wasn’t before, but he is doing quite well right now for himself, on and off the course.
However, in this golf fan’s eyes, the above details mean nothing to me if Tiger is not winning majors. And if he does not win one soon, I fear he might not win one for a long time. He is 37 and in golf that still allows many opportunities to win, but the pressure will continue to mount when a golfer that talented does not win for a period of time. See Phil Mickelson. But once Phil won his first major at Augusta, he quickly won three more. For Tiger, I believe if he wins one this year, he will get that proverbial newfound monkey off his back, and begin the final quest to break Jack Nicklaus’ major record. Show us what you got Tiger. We all desperately want to see it.


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Paul Culley
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

The Betting Corner: NBA Playoffs May 14, 2013

             New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers

amare                      7:00pm tip

                      I see Melo and Amare getting back on track against the stout pacer D

                      With JR Smith: Knicks ML

                      Without JR Smith: Knicks +5.5


Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs


9:35pm tip

Coming off an OT loss in Game 4, the Spurs look to rebound at home. However with Curry and Thompson shooting lights out in San Antonio in the first two games, I don’t see the Spurs covering -7.

Golden State +7








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For the Fans. By the Fans. Period.

Alex Plumb
Sports Activist for The Cover 4


The Cover 4 Introduces “Would You Rather….”

Welcome to the new Cover

We are rolling out a new series called “Would You Rather…”. The new video debates will consist of The Cover 4 team debating hot topics and key issues in today’s sports headlines. They might be serious, funny, or even awkward, but our content will be refreshing to our views.


Please let us know what you think and thanks for following along!


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Long Island Sound & Tye Masters
Chief Sports Activist for The Cover 4

Lebron James: The Most Underpaid Athlete


The Cover would like to highlight a segment done by our great friends on

Lebron James is the most underpaid athlete! Yes, we said it. Don’t believe us? Well our friends at are going to show us how.


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James Kaikis
Chief Sports Activist for The Cover 4

Eastern Conference Playoff Preview

Ovechkin Skates in Washington, DC


With the NHL season winding down and the playoff races start to get tighter between fewer teams, let’s take a look at the playoff-bound and contending teams in the Eastern Conference. We’ll start with the preseason projections and see how all the teams are now in the playoff race.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins – Clinched No. 1 overall seed in the East and Atlantic Division title

Preseason scoop: “Pittsburgh Penguins – No doubt that the thought of a healthy and extra-motivated Sidney Crosby playing with defending MVP and scoring champ Evgeni Malkin is going to cause many coaches and players to lose some sleep in the coming weeks. The two-headed monster spearheads a potent offensive lineup with the likse of Kris Letang and James Neal hiding in Crosby and Malkin’s shadows. The big question for the Pens will be on the blueline, and in net after that colossal defensive breakdown versus Philadelphia in last year’s playoffs. Marc-Andre Fleury will need to return to his dominant form from the regular season, and put that playoff series behind him.”

It didn’t go according to plan for the Penguins this year, but it’s clear that they are thinking cup or bust. Crosby has been sensational in all the games that he has played, and despite missing the last quarter of the season with a broken jaw, he is still likely to win the MVP.Reigning MVP Evgeni Malkin has battled injuries and inconsistency this season, but is getting plenty of time to fully heal down the stretch. General Manager Ray Shero went all-in around the trade deadline acquiring veterans Douglas Murray, Jussi Jokinen, Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla. The Pens are surely the team to beat in the East.

2. Boston Bruins – Clinched playoff berth and are neck-and-neck with Montreal for the No. 2 seed in the East and Northeast Division title

Preseason Scoop: “Despite former MVP and Conn Smythe-winning All-Star goalie Tim Thomas sitting the season out due to personal reasons, the Bruins are still sitting pretty in the drivers seat of the division. Tuukka Rask is a more than capable starting goaltender, and there won’t be much of a drop-off for the B’s in the crease. Zdeno Chara captains a roster that will see the return of a healthy Nathan Horton, who was dealing with concussion issues last  season. The big, physical Bruins should be in control of the division from the get-go, especially if their offense starts hot.”

It has been an emotional season for the Bruins. They started by making a “paper trade” of Tim Thomas (although he was sitting out the year, he still counts against the salary cap, so he was dealt to the Islanders so New York could have more salary on the books and the Bruins would have cap room) early in the season. They have been battling with the Canadiens for the division all season, and that race will go right down to the wire. The big story about the Bruins this year is how they will bounce back long-term after the terrorist attack and subsequent man-hunt through the streets of suburban Boston, causing them to have to postpone two games. When play returned to the TD Garden, emotions ran high and were capped by a touching rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by the Boston crowd. With the situation over, and the season winding down, look for the Bruins to get back to business and try and lock up the Northeast.

3. Washington Capitals – Three points ahead of Winnipeg for the Southeast Division with three games left

Preseason Scoop : “Led by superstar Alex Ovechkin, the Caps look to find their winning ways again. A perennial playoff team, and often times a legitimate threat to win it all, the Caps have kept finding ways to blow it. They have yet to put a significant playoff run together, and their goaltending can go from perfect to disastrous in a matter of days. Loaded upfront with Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and new addition Mike Ribeiro, the Caps cut dead weight in Alex Semin, and Braden Holtby proved in last year’s playoffs that he is a franchise-caliber goalie. If Backstrom can shake his concussion issues from last year, and defenseman Mike Green and Ovi can find their form from a couple years ago, and solid role players like Brooks Laich can hold the fort in the defensive zone, the Caps can be a truly dominant team.”

The Caps struggled mightily early in the year and at one point, looked to be a lottery pick. They were losing game after game in ugly ways, letting stupid penalties and disastrous turnovers doom them, and the goaltending was nowhere to be found. Brooks Laich was hurt for most of the year, and Alex Ovechkin’s production was OK, but his desire came into heavy question. Now, Ovechkin has hit the 30-goal mark, which is good for a player in ANY season, let alone a 48-game one (in which he still has three games left). The Caps, if they get in, are going to be very dangerous come playoff time. They’ve gotten hot at the right time, winning nine of their last 10, and Ovi and Mike Green have found their potent offensive forms. Only question will be goaltending for the Caps (as it is for every team).

4. Montreal Canadiens – Clinched playoff berth, battling with Boston for the Northeast Division

Preseason Scoop: “It was a rough season last year for the Habs that saw them finish dead last in the Eastern Conference, and third-worst in the entire league. There is not too much reason to believe this year will be much better. Young star defenseman and future franchise player P.K. Subban has yet to report to camp as a restricted free agent, and the Habs feature an aging lineup of veterans with some young upstart players like Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty. Unless Carey Price can stand on his head night in and night out and steal more than his fair share of games, the 48-game season will feel like an 82-game season in hockey’s promised land.”

Time to eat a little crow on this one. I completely wrote off the Habs at the beginning of the year, and totally underestimated the effect that new coach Michel Therrien would have on Montreal. He got the most out of every player on that roster on a nightly basis, including rookies Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. PK Subban finally signed after a holdout, and now leads the Canadiens in points on the year and is a budding star in the NHL. Carey Price has stolen his fair share of games for them this year, but the majority of the Habs wins have been team wins. As of late however, Montreal has fallen into some inconsistency and some troublesome goaltending. Many feel that Montreal overachieved early in the year, and it’s possible it did. It is also possible that it is just hitting a rough patch that nearly every team has hit and will snap out of this in time for the postseason.

5. Toronto Maple Leafs – Clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2004.

Preseason Scoop: “The hockey-crazed city of Toronto has been desperate for a winner, and this year maybe its year. To say Toronto is a longshot to win the Cup may be an understatement, but I for one am a beLEAFer. After a monumental collapse late last season, Toronto may be a team to benefit from a shortened season. Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul had fantastic seasons last year and look to pick up where they left off. The forward unit is bolstered by the addition of James van Riemsdyk who was traded at the draft from the Flyers for Luke Schenn. While Schenn will be a tough loss, the blueline was and is the Leafs deepest spot, and JVR is a stud. Of course, we can’t for get to mention that  James Reimer needs to be lights out. If the Leafs get into the postseason, you never know what could happen.”

After my “eat crow moment”, here comes the “I told you so moment.” Despite Phil Kessel starting off horribly slowly, and Joffrey Lupul missing a huge portion of the season with a broken arm, the Leafs have returned to the postseason for the first time since 2004, and they are a team that could make some noise. James Reimer has stood tall in net for the Leafs all year, and while they could finish as low as eighth still, look for them to take the fifth seed. Kessel has come on lately and since returning from injury, Lupul has been nearly unstoppable. James van Riemsdyk has been phenomenal for the Leafs, and Nazem Kadri finally had his breakout year in the NHL, showing that they were right to develop him slowly. You have to feel for former GM Brian Burke though, who was fired at the beginning of the year (for refusing to trade for Roberto Luongo according to the rumor mill), he was the one that put this team together, and his last move as GM (trading Luke Schenn to acquire JVR) was arguably his best move yet as GM.

6. New York Islanders – Clinched playoff berth. Currently in a three way tie for sixth place.

Preseason Scoop: “An intriguing team to watch, the Islanders have been a perennial basement dweller in the Atlantic, however they boast an emerging star in John Tavares, backed up by the likes of Matt Mouslon and Michael Grabner. The Islanders are a young team that may benefit from playing every other night, and if they develop of winning streak early, they can be a contender for a playoff spot.”

Again, not many saw the Islanders contending for the playoffs, but for us here at TC4, we are not surprised. John Tavares continued his development as a former first-overall pick to quietly emerge as an MVP candidate. Tavares is 14th in the league in points with 45, but is third in the league in goals with 26, and has really come on the second half of the season. The captain-in-waiting of the Isles has been tremendous, and his supporting cast has done the job too. Moulson has kept pace with Tavares in points with 42, and free-agent signee Brad Boyes has been effective, posting 32 points. Goaltending has been the crutch to this team as Evgeni Nabakov (who refused to even join the team in 2010-11 when it picked him up off of waivers) is tied for the league lead in wins with 32. If he can get to 33 wins, the Isles will be headed to the dance.

7. Ottawa Senators – Clinched playoff berth. Currently in a three way tie for sixth place.

Preseason Scoop: “The Sens present one of the most balanced lineups in the NHL. They’re backstopped by Craig Anderson in net, who is one of the most underrated keepers in the league. In addition, the feature a balanced forward lineup of veterans like Daniel Alfredsson , Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Chris Neil that compliment defending Norris Trophy champion Erik Karlsson’s solid D corps. Injuries have taken a chunk out of the D corps however, and those suiting up will have to play to their max ability right from the hop for the Sens to compete for the division.”

Every player mentioned in our preseason preview for the Senators has missed an extended period of time, with key forward Jason Spezza and defending Norris champ Erik Karlsson still out of the lineup. Injuries have been the storyline for the Senators all season long, but despite having an injured list equal to their active roster, the Senators are in good position to make the playoffs. With only three games left, and a three-point lead over the ninth-place team, their fate lies in their hands, and they are getting healthy. Anderson is back, playing at his Vezina-worthy level, leading the league in GAA and save percentage, but he may have missed too much time due to injury to win the Vezina. If Ottawa gets in, it can present a tough matchup for any team because of Anderson’s play.

8. New York Rangers – Clinched playoff berth. Currently in a three way tie for sixth place.

Presseason Scoop: It’s Stanley Cup or bust for the Rangers this season. After having an impressive season last year despite under-production from superstar free-agent signee Brad Richards, Henrik Lundqvist was lights out and carried them to the Eastern Conference Finals. This season, the Broadway Blueshirts have added yet another star in Rick Nash, and feature an impressive young blueline with Michael Del Zotto, Marc Staal, and Dan Girardi. Up and down, the Rangers boast the most formidable lineup in the Eastern Conference.”

The most surprising team in a certain position, the New York Rangers are teetering on the edge of the playoff picture, currently sitting in the final position in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They underachieved for most of the season, and many were wondering if coach John Tortorella, only a year removed from the Eastern Conference Finals, was on his way out of Broadway. Underachieving star winger Marian Gaborik was shipped out of town, and star defenseman Marc Staal suffered a terrible eye injury after taking a shot to the face, and his return this season is questionable at best. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Rangers are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, and seem to be catching fire at the right time. There is no room for error anymore, which has them playing “playoff hockey” early, and if they can get in, WATCH OUT. Henrik Lundqvist has been sensational all season and is the single biggest reason that the Rangers are still in the hunt, and not talking golf with the Lightning, Panthers and Flyers. Everyone’s preseason pick for Eastern Conference champs still may pull through.

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Pat Davis
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

Mock Draft: Version B

Mock Draft: Version B April 25, 2013

There’s only one day until draft day and it’s time to see whether your team’s pick will leave you smiling, yelling at the TV or simply nodding your head. While I’m sure there will be some trades made throughout the draft, this mock is composed if the order goes as is. Usually people build mock drafts that they think improve their old one, I’m going a different direction. It’s not more likely to happen, but a set of scenarios that could result in a completely different draft. Version B takes a few more chances and goes a little unconventional. Draft day always has a couple shockers though.

To view Version1:

(Please read Version 1)

 1. Kansas City Chiefs

Positions of need: Defensive Line and Offensive Line

The Chiefs drafting Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joekel still makes too much sense. Andy Reid needs to protect Alex Smith if he wants to see him do anything productive. Yes, the Chiefs are still looking to trade down to snag some more picks but I don’t see any team trading picks to get the first overall pick. Again, we’re more likely to see Andy Reid in a Weight Watchers commercial before we hear of a trade happening. The Chiefs are going to bring in Joekel, trade Brandon Albert to the Dolphins and hopefully begin a new era in Kansas City. If the Albert trade doesn’t go through, the Chiefs are going to be stuck with more tackles than their run defense had last year.

 Previous Pick: Luke Joekel

Pick: Luke Joekel

 2. Jacksonville Jaguars

Positions of need: Quarterback, Linebacker, Offensive and Defensive Line

As seen from the positions of need for the Jaguars, they need help everywhere.  It’s damn near impossible for the team to make a pick and have it not be a good move. They’re that bad. I still like the idea of taking a pass-rusher here. The entire team had less sacks than J.J. Watt last year. They need the help on the defensive line, and Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan provides that. While the Jaguars may be tempted to snag Ziggy Ansah, Jordan is the more polished of  the two.

 Previous Pick: Dion Jordan

Pick: Dion Jordan

 3. Oakland Raiders

Position of Need: Defensive Tackle

Oakland fans, there is only one day left until the draft and your team has managed to keep its draft pick. Let’s hope they can make it through the next 24 hours. The Raiders lost both Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour this off-season leaving them with a huge need at defensive tackle. I’d prefer Utah’s Star Lotulelei but the media has hyped up Florida’s  Shariff Floyd as the go-to-guy for defensive tackle. The Raiders haven’t had a first rounder in a while and hopefully it’s something that they won’t mess up. The pick’s staying the same and rolling with Floyd.

 Previous Pick: Shariff Floyd

Pick: Shariff Floyd

 4. Philadelphia Eagles

Positions of need: Quarterback, Linebacker and Offensive Line

 Hey, it’s our first change in the draft! From everything that has been coming out of the Eagles camp in the draft, Chip Kelly’s offense GOES. I’m personally about the “try and draft as many Eagles’ players as I can” in my fantasy draft. With this new offense, the Eagles are about to need some offensive linemen that can hustle and keep up. So, whose name will we see on a personalized post-workout smoothie in Eagles camp after the draft? They’ll get themselves an athletic offensive lineman and we’ll see Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher running up and down the field come September.

 Previous Pick: Star Lotulelei

Pick: Eric Fisher

 5. Detroit Lions

Positions of need: Offensive Line and Defensive Line

The Lions lost Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril and Jeff Backus this year. That leaves some major holes at the line of scrimmage. Rumor has it that they really want Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner as well. So do they go for a pass rusher or take the corner to protect from being destroyed by Aaron Rodgers twice a year? I think they’ll roll with Milliner rather than take the risk on Ziggy Ansah. Even though that ESPN article came out about Milliner’s surgeries, I think that’s more news to us than to NFL teams.

 Previous Pick: Eric Fisher

Pick: Dee Milliner

 6. Cleveland Browns

Positions of need: Cornerback and Linebacker

If Milliner fell to them I think they would take him, but they might not have the opportunity. It’s too much of a reach to take a linebacker, they don’t need the last top lineman available, and their dream cornerback tandem is gone. So, I think it’s between snagging West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith or improving their pass rush. I think Smith makes sense with this pick over Ansah. It might seem like a bit of a reach but what do the Browns have to lose? Brandon Weeden is not the future, take the best quarterback in the draft and see where it goes.

 Previous Pick: Dee Milliner

Pick: Geno Smith

 7. Arizona Cardinals

Positions of need: Offensive Line. They need something that can actually move.

 The Cardinals are screaming that Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson made it to them. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if someone was willing to trade with the Browns to move up and snag the last of the elite tackles available. Johnson will never make it past the Cardinals. Old man Carson Palmer will be protected.

 Previous Pick: Lane Johnson

Pick: Lane Johnson

 8. Buffalo Bills

Positions of need: Quarterback

This is where I go a little crazy and completely buy into rumors. As much as I’d love to see Kevin Kolb Kolbing it up next year, I don’t see it happening.  Kolb is the guy that enters the game and everyone you’re watching the game with knows he’s going to mess up, get hurt or both. Doug Marrone and the Bills coaching staff have a good relationship with their former Syracuse quarterback and it seems like they may just take Ryan Nassib with this pick, especially if Geno is gone. Do I think Nassib is a first-round pick? No, but it’s nothing new for me to be surprised on draft day.

 Previous Pick: Geno Smith

Pick: Ryan Nassib

 9. New York Jets

Positions of need: Defensive Line, Linebacker and Wide Receiver

I still think that Rex Ryan is taking a pass rusher, the name has just changed. I said in the first version of this mock draft that it was between BYU’s Ziggy Ansah and LSU’s Barkevious Mingo. The media have been talking up a storm about Ansah and may have just talked him past Mingo. It may be the case that Ryan develops Ansah into an absolute beast. The Jets will now be hoping that Ziggy will be able to cause more fumbles than the ass of Mark Sanchez’s lineman.

 Previous Pick: Barkevious Mingo

Pick: Ziggy Ansah

 10. Tennessee Titans

Positions of need: Offensive Line and Defensive Line 

I still think that its too early to take a guard in this draft and after Lane Johnson there isn’t a lineman worth a top-10 pick.  I think they’ll help bolster their pass rush and add LSU’s Barkevious Mingo. Mingo is one of the best pass rushers available in the draft and is a more polished product than Ansah.

 Previous Pick: Ziggy Ansah

Pick: Barkevious Mingo

 11. San Diego Chargers

Positions of Need: Offensive Line & Linebacker

I just said that guards are not generally top-10 picks and luckily this is pick number 11. The Chargers have a huge need on the offensive line and to give Philip Rivers some protection. Ideally, the Chargers would trade up to the Browns position or higher and take one of the elite tackles. If they’re not able to do that though, look for them to go to the next best thing and take North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper.

 Previous Pick: Jonathan Cooper

Pick: Jonathan Cooper

 12. Miami Dolphins

Positions of need: Offensive Line, Defensive Line and Cornerback

 The Dolphins lost their staple on their offensive line when Jake Long decided to head to St. Louis and have had their eye on Brandon Albert. This pick is going to be contingent on whether the Dolphins feel they can get the deal done. I think the Albert deal gets done and the Dolphins will still focus on their offensive line. Ryan Tannehill just got some nice toys and is going to need time to play with them. Take a chance on Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack and protect the quarterback.

 Previous Pick: D.J. Fluker

Pick: Chance Warmack

 13. Jets (From the Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Positions of need: Cornerback, Tight End and Defensive Line

The Bucs got the deal done with Darrelle Revis and gave up the 13th pick in the process. The Jets give themselves two picks in the top 13, but gave up arguably the best position player in football. I think the Bucs got a steal by not having to pay future guaranteed money to Revis, and the Jets will look to make a steal of their own with this pick. While Rex Ryan loves defense, the Jets need a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. I think they take the best wide receiver in the draft and snag West Virginia’s Tavon Austin. The Jets somehow need to find a way into the end zone.

 Previous Pick: Xavier Rhodes (Bucs)

Pick: Tavon Austin

 14. Carolina Panthers

Positions of need: Defensive Line, Cornerback and Wide Receiver

The Panthers need to address their defensive issues. The Panthers are salivating at Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei falling to them in the draft. In my previous version, I had Lotulelei going fourth overall to the Eagles, but its very possible he falls here in the draft (especially considering his medical issues). He could be the steal of the draft if the Panthers can get him here. They’d be fools to not draft him.

 Previous Pick: Sheldon Richardson

Pick: Star Lotulelei

 15. New Orleans Saints

Positions of need: Linebacker, Defensive Line, Safety and Offensive Tackle

 I still think that the Saints and Rob Ryan get themselves a pass rusher with this pick. D.J. Fluker is sitting there but Ryan will convince them to pass him up. Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones didn’t do himself any favors with his draft or pro-day performance, but I STILL can’t see him falling below here. They keep with Jones.

 Previous Pick: Jarvis Jones

Pick: Jarvis Jones

 16. St. Louis Rams

Positions of need: Wide Receiver, Safety and Linebacker

 The Rams have a need at wide receiver but they won’t be able to get the one they want. If Austin is gone at this point in the draft, they might as well snag the best safety in the draft and address their wide receiver issue later. They’ll roll with Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro and improve their secondary immediately.

 Previous Pick: Tavon Austin

Pick: Kenny Vaccaro

 17. Pittsburgh Steelers

Positions of need: Linebacker, Defensive Line, Safety and Tight End

While I didn’t think the Steelers would take an offensive player with their first-round pick, it’s entirely possible. With Kenny Vaccaro, the elite outside linebackers and defensive ends gone, the Steelers may look to potentially replace Heath Miller. Miller’s coming off of surgery and Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert is just getting more and more hype. I had him going  30th last time but this could be the right fit and the right situation. Don’t be surprised if you hear Eifert’s name come pick 17.

 Previous Pick: Kenny Vaccaro

Pick: Tyler Eifert

 18. Dallas Cowboys

Positions of need: Offensive Line and Safety

 As a Cowboys fan I want Kenny Vaccaro to be available here. If he is available and he is passed up, I will be screaming at the TV and hoping Jerry Jones can hear me. Odds are that it’s not going to happen so I think they look towards one of their lines. It’d be between Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker to boost the offensive line or Sheldon Richardson to help the move to the 4-3 defense. Jerry invested heavy in Tony Romo this offseason and needs to protect that investment. Take Fluker and protect the quarterback.

 Previous Pick: Chance Warmack

Pick: D.J. Fluker

 19. New York Giants

Positions of need: Linebacker and Defensive Line

Although the Giants have a need on the defensive line, it wouldn’t surprise me if they addressed some secondary issues. With Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes on the board, I think they would be inclined to take the chance. If you think I’m overvaluing him, opposing receivers against him averaged just 5.7 yards per completion.

 Previous Pick: Bjoern Werner

Pick: Xavier Rhodes

 20. Chicago Bears

Positions of need: Linebacker and Defensive tackle

For the same reasons I said in version 1,  if the Bears take the best player available, they take Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree.

 Previous Pick: Alec Ogletree

Pick: Alec Ogletree

 21. Cincinnati Bengals

Positions of need: Cornerback, Linebacker and Running Back

I think its going Ogletree then Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o or Te’o then Ogletree. I think the pair are going in these two picks.

 Previous Pick: Manti Te’o

Pick: Manti Te’o

 22. St. Louis Rams (from the Washington Redskins)

Positions of need: Safety, Wide Receiver and Linebacker

The Rams do it right here. They get Kenny Vaccaro with their first pick and address their receiver issue with their second. They snag Tennessee’s Cordarelle Patterson and help boost a receiving corps in deep need of a threat. Patterson’s size and speed gives them a legit deep-threat receiver.

 Previous Pick: John Cyprien

Pick: Cordarelle Patterson

 23. Minnesota Vikings

Positions of need: Wide Receiver, Linebacker and Defensive Line

The Vikings need a receiver but with Patterson off the board, it’d be a stretch to grab one here. Also, the elite middle linebackers go right before them. The good news is that they can still address their defensive line issues. I think they’d be smart to snag defensive tackle Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. He may just be too good to pass up.

 Previous Pick: Cordarrelle Patterson

Pick: Sheldon Richardson

 24. Indianapolis Colts

Positions of need: Wide Receiver, Cornerback and Safety

Same argument from version 1 and the same pick.

 Previous Pick: Desmond Trufant

Pick: Desmond Trufant

 25. Minnesota Vikings (from the Seattle Seahawks)

The Vikings have two picks in the first round. They address their defensive line problem in this version with their first pick, meaning they need to take a receiver here. California’s Keenan Allen comes off the board.

 Previous Pick: Sylvester Williams

Pick: Keenan Allen

26. Green Bay Packers

Positions of need: Safety, Defensive Line, Linebacker and Running Back

Again, do the right thing Green Bay.

 Previous Pick: Eddie Lacy

Pick: Eddie Lacy

27. Houston Texans

Position of need: Wide Receiver

The Texans still need a wide receiver but Allen is off the board in this version. They snag USC’s Robert Woods who is just as good, if not better.

 Previous Pick: Keenan Allen

Pick: Robert Woods

 28. Denver Broncos

Positions of need: Defensive line, Running Back and Linebacker

Same reasoning as last time to bolster the defensive line. The only difference is there are better players available in version 2. They still take a Williams, just a better one.

 Previous Pick: Jesse Williams

Pick: Sylvester Williams

 29. New England Patriots

Positions of need: Wide Receiver and Defensive Line

Like I said in version 1, the most dangerous passing game tries to take it to another level. They take the best receiver on the board.

 Previous Pick: Robert Woods

Pick: DeAndre Hopkins

 30. Atlanta Falcons

Positions of need: Cornerback, Defensive Line and Tight End

 Eifert is gone in this version so the Dirty Birds are going to go defensive. Their offense isn’t the reason they are not making Super Bowls. Take the other Florida State defensive end. When have people ever gone wrong with a guy named Tank?

 Pick: Tyler Eifert

Pick: Tank Carradine

 31. San Francisco 49ers

Position of need: Safety

 There’s not too much change for the 49ers and not much change in the safeties. I like Florida’s Matt Elam slightly over Jonathan Cyprien and I think they stick with him.

 Previous Pick: Matt Elam

Pick: Matt Elam

 32. Baltimore Ravens

Positions of need: Linebacker and Safety

The Ravens are looking for a replacement for Ed Reed. Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien is more than willing to try and step up. The safety from a small school is looking to make a big name for himself in the NFL.

 Previous Pick: Kevin Minter

Pick: Jonathan Cyprien




Barcelona Exposed in Lob-sided Defeat


It was supposed to be a highly touted semi-final Champions League clash of two world football titans.  It was supposed to be Germany versus Spain.  It was supposed to be Lionel Messi and the unbreakable passing of Barcelona vs. Bastian Schweinstager and the complete team of Bayern Munich.  But what it turned into was a showcase of the pure physical talents of the Germans and it exposed a serious weakness in Barcelona.

The game in Germany started out as to be expected.  Barcelona had the lion’s share of the possession, and Bayern did its work on the counter-attack, feeding off a potent attack from Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben.  But the one thing that stood out even in the beginning was the physical dominance of Bayern in the air; they have a serious height advantage and looked to feed the ball in the box through the air.

Messi, the soccer golden-child, nursed a hamstring injury and looked a shell of himself against the physical Germans.  And it showed in Barcelona’s lack of ability to find the goal, both goals themselves and even shots on target.  However, midway through the first half, Bayern made Barcelona pay for their disadvantage.

In a brilliant build-up, Thomas Muller found himself in the box, but heavily guarded.  After a quick pass out to Robben, Robben chipped the ball through to Dante, who headed it directly back to an open Muller who headed in for the first goal of many for the Germans.  It was that airplay that would ultimately prove to be the demise of the Spaniards, who could not physically compete with the men of Bayern.

Early in the second half, they were once again exposed.  Off a corner, Robben found Muller on the far post.  Muller, everywhere on the pitch during this game, headed it right back to the center, where beloved German striker Mario Gomez was waiting to smash home the second for Bayern.  Barcelona looked lost and physically mismatched.  However, they began to build some momentum, driving and pushing forward and finding the ability to get good looks at the goal.

But the Germans were not finished.  Robben, who is regularly given flak for his disinterest in passing to his teammates, showed why he is capable of holding onto the ball with a brilliant bit of skill in the 73rd minute. With a little help from a Muller screen, he switched the ball from his right to his natural left and smashed home from an incredibly difficult angle to put the Germans up by an unthinkable score of 3-0.  Muller later scored again to make the score 4-0.

This was a very telling game for both squads.  The Germans asserted themselves and claimed their proper reward.  A dominant 4-0 win that made a statement to the football world and Barcelona, long thought of a football giants.  The smooth passing and game control of Barcelona have long been the staples of their huge success.  But Bayern played the counter-attack with brilliance and sent a message to both their opponent, as well as both of their potential future opponents in Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, who face off in their own Champions League semi-final Wednesday at 11:45 PST.

As for Barcelona, the opposite was true.  More questions were raised than answered.  They were unable to finish in front of goal with Messi hobbled.  They were unable to compete on set pieces and crosses.  They accumulated four yellow cards on ten fouls, and were majorly outnumbered on corner kicks, 11-4, and shots taken 15-4.  They melted down as the game went on and truly looked as though they were in a game out of their league, which is mind-boggling, because this is Barcelona we are talking about.  This team is essentially the Spanish national team, the same team that throttled Italy 4-0 in the Euro-Cup finals in the summer of 2012.

Now they head back home to the Bernabeu down 4-0 and they need to win by the same margin without allowing any goals to the visitors to even have a chance at penalty kicks.  Not the ideal position for the former Champions.


Player of the Match: Thomas Muller.  Muller was DOMINANT in this one, scoring two goals and registering an assist, not to mention making the physical play that allowed Robben’s goal in the 73rd minute.   His strength of pace and willingness to fight into the box was unparalleled on the pitch.


Worst Player of the Match: Gerard Pique.  Being married to Shakira has its perks, but the Spaniard was horrendous in this one.  His is the staple of the back four for Barcelona, but he looked lost, much like the rest of his team in the lob-sided defeat.  He also should have been called for a handball that would have resulted in a penalty kick, but he got away with it.  Karma struck though, and his team was throttled 4-0 in an embarrassing fashion

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Sammy Scherr
Sports Activist for The Cover 4


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