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Iowa's Hyde looks forward to NFL draft

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Iowa's Hyde looks forward to NFL draft

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) There were few bright spots for Iowa last season as the Hawkeyes stumbled to their worst record in more than a decade.

The struggles didn't include the play of cornerback Micah Hyde.

Hyde closed out a stellar career by being named the Big Ten's defensive back of the year for 2012. He was also the only Iowa player to be named a first-team All-Big Ten pick by the league's coaches and media members.

``It was good that some people recognized me, and it was an honor to get that award. Obviously they respect my game,'' Hyde said.

Hyde hopes the NFL comes to feel the same way. The three-year starter at cornerback is perhaps Iowa's most promising NFL prospect this spring.

Hyde won the Big Ten honor despite intercepting just one pass this season as teams often thought better of attacking his side of the field. He did have a team-high 14 pass breakups to go with three fumble recoveries and a pair of forced fumbles.

Hyde has good size for a cornerback at 6-foot-1 and just over 190 pounds, and he's got plenty of positive game film for scouts to pore over dating to 2009. But Hyde has a lot of work ahead of him over the next three months, so he's signed up with the TEST Football Academy in San Diego to prepare for the scouting combine and April draft.

``The last year I ran the 40 (meter dash) was my sophomore year in college. I ran (in) 4.5 (seconds), and I know I'm faster than that,'' Hyde said. ``It's basically everything. To get stronger, to get faster.''

The Hawkeyes have had a decent run of defensive backs who've reached the NFL in recent years like Carolina's Charles Godfrey, Amari Spievey of Detroit and Tyler Sash of the New York Giants.

Hyde's college career can stand up with any of his recent Iowa peers. He was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick in 2010 while playing alongside Sash, and his 72-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter sealed a win over Missouri in the Insight Bowl.

Hyde started a pair of games at free safety the following year. His size and play-making ability seemed to make the move a logical one - and Hyde could end up playing safety at the next level - but the Hawkeyes moved him back to cornerback out of necessity. He finished his Iowa career as the veteran leader of a defense whose issues extended far beyond anything Hyde could fix.

Hyde also stumbled personally for the first and only time with the Hawkeyes.

He was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and interference with official acts in early October. Coach Kirk Ferentz stripped him of his captaincy, but cited Hyde's track record of positive behavior in not suspending him.

Hyde said Ferentz did force him to face reporters a few days later and explain his mistake.

``He knew exactly what happened. He knew that I'm not a bad individual,'' Hyde said of Ferentz. ``He told me to keep my nose clean, don't get in trouble again. It was unfortunate. It could have been a huge deal.''

Hyde also returned punts at Iowa and should be able to offer versatility in both special teams and the defensive backfield. Hyde will certainly be missed by the Hawkeyes, who are in full-fledged rebuilding mode after a 4-8 season that surprised even Hyde.

He's optimistic a more experienced defense will help Iowa bounce back next fall.

``I wouldn't worry about it, to be honest. The defense is coming up,'' Hyde said. ``Yeah, we had a bad season this year. But it's only going to make more guys that much more hungry.''

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Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

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NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Power Rankings: The West is set while the Caps still have work to do

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Power Rankings: The West is set while the Caps still have work to do

There are only two series left in the first round that have yet to be decided. The Caps just so happen to be playing in one of those series.

After falling into a 0-2 hole to start, Washington has rattled off three straight wins and now sits just one away from putting away the Columbus Blue Jackets and advancing to the second round.

Should the Capitals advance, they will play the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third consecutive season.

<<NHL POWER RANKINGS: STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS>>

The Penguins ended their series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday in Game 6. Jake Guentzel scored four goals in the effort proving once and for all that yes, goaltending is important in the playoffs. Head coach Mike Sullivan has still yet to lose a playoff series as the head coach of Pittsburgh as he led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons.

In the Atlantic, the Tampa Bay Lightning await the winner of the Boston Bruins - Toronto Maple Leafs series after dispatching the New Jersey Devils in five games. After a strong regular season, the Maple Leafs looked poised to take the next step, but Auston Matthews has only two points in five games and Toronto faces elimination at the hands of the Bruins Monday in Game 5.

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All four series in the West, meanwhile, have already been decided. Both the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks managed four-game sweeps in the first round and will face one another in the second  The miraculous season of the Golden Knights continues and it would be hard to argue at this point that they are not legitimate Stanly Cup contenders considering all they have accomplished in both the regular season and the playoffs.

Wins by the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets now sets up a second-round battle between the top two teams in the league from the regular season.

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The betting houses are bearish on the 2018 Redskins

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

The betting houses are bearish on the 2018 Redskins

With the NFL schedule dropped last week, many fans and media types went through and predicted wins and losses for the teams they follow, just for fun. But others predict the records of teams and it’s not for laughs, it’s for very high stakes.

The betting houses in Las Vegas and offshore have established their lines for over/under in wins. They then take this a step further and go through the playoffs to establish the odds of winning the Super Bowl. 

Over the weekend, BetOnline published one of each and let’s just say that they do not like what the Redskins have done this offseason. Or, more accurately, they think that the public perception is that the Redskins will not be a very good team this year. 

Their over/under for wins is 5.5. They won seven games last year so the under would represent a decline of at least two wins. This line seems to be low. The Redskins won seven games last year with the worst injury situation in the league, per the numbers crunchers at Football Outsiders. They also faced one of the toughest schedules in the league in terms of opponent winning percentages. 

Yes, they did lose Kirk Cousins to free agency but they replaced him with Alex Smith, who, like Cousins, is not elite or even in the top 10 but in the category of solid, reliable quarterbacks. The QB exchange was close to a wash. But despite the fact that the chances are they will suffer fewer injuries and face a schedule that isn’t as much of a meat grinder, this over/under has the Redskins producing double-digit losses. They have managed to stay out of 10-plus loss territory for three straight years. 

There are more reasons to think that they will win at least as many games as they did last year than there are to think that they will win fewer. If I’m betting, which I’m not, I’d be tempted to hit the over on that pretty hard. 

I would keep my money in my pocket when it comes to betting on the Redskins’ chances of winning the Super Bowl. I don’t think they’re close, but I think they’re much closer than the Browns but BetOnline has Cleveland and Washington with the same odds of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. The Redskins, Browns, and Bucs are at +6600 to win it all. The Redskins odds are worse than all but six other teams. 

Again, I don’t think that the Redskins are going to win the Super Bowl. Winning a playoff game would be quite an accomplishment for them. But same could be said of the Colts, Giants, Chargers, and 49ers, but they all have considerably better odds than the Redskins. 

In fact, there may be some irrational exuberance with the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo. They have the seventh-best odds at +1600. Sure, Jimmy G was very good in five meaningless games at the end of last season. Let’s see how he does with some pressure on and after defensive coaches have had a chance to study how to take away his strengths. It just goes to show you how little real analysis goes into this. 

I get a little annoyed when teams play the disrespect card, especially when they have to look too hard to find it. But if the Redskins look at this, they certainly can embrace the underdog role if they want to. What they do with it, we will find out starting September 9. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.