March Madness and Peyton’s place |

March Madness and Peyton’s place

Sports Geek
Jeff Sauer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Jeff Sauer

Worried about that jackal from human resources catching you filling out your March Madness brackets while on the company dime this morning?

Don’t sweat it.

She spent all of yesterday on the clock, handicapping the opening-round matchups before turning in several brackets of her own already.

And, because nothing feels worse than throwing your bracket in the trash after the first weekend of the tourney, here are a few pointers to make sure it doesn’t happen to you:

1. Don’t pick No. 1 or 2 seeds to lose before the Sweet 16 – plain and simple. As much as you visualize the upset happening, or as much as you despise a particular team or their mascot, refrain from crossing them out in the early rounds.

2. Do pick a couple 4s or 5s to fall early, though, especially if you find credible information from some hoops geek that lives and breathes college basketball 24/7. Sometimes top-seeded teams struggle against good zone defenses, and it never hurts to pick an upset by a team that has a starting lineup full of seniors and juniors playing against younger teams. Just don’t get carried away with the whole upset thing.

3. Do pick someone other than the favorite to win it all. Think about the teams that dominated the regular seasons in sports of late that couldn’t seal the deal – Packers, LSU, Canucks, Phillies, Bulls. All of them were gunned down eventually. Besides, half of the people in your office pool will have Kentucky as their eventual champion. Why not walk your own path and pick someone else? Still can’t sleep? Submit a second bracket with Kentucky as the champ to hedge your bet.

Free-agent frenzy

The official start of the NFL’s free agent-signing period begins at 2 p.m. Mountain time today, and by the time you read this, the Broncos may have already landed the best player to ever hit the free-agency market.

Think it can’t happen?

Denver might actually be the best fit for Peyton Manning from the short list of teams that have shown interest so far. If Manning truly wants to stay in the AFC, and Baltimore doesn’t jump into the picture, then why not choose Denver? When you factor in the other AFC teams that clearly want him – Kansas City and Miami – the Broncos are the quickest ticket for Peyton to win coming out of the gate.

Don’t put it past Bowlen and Elway to sweeten the pot for Manning by adding another receiver in a package deal – someone like a Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson, or even bringing back Brandon Lloyd – via free agency to get Manning to sign. The Broncos could line up their new wideout opposite Demaryius Thomas, and convert Eric Decker to the slot receiver, giving Manning plenty of weapons. Don’t forget that Denver had the top-ranked rushing game in the league (which Manning didn’t have in Indy) and a defense that features premier book-end pass rushers capable of creating a lot of turnovers (which he did have).

If Peyton Manning does become a Bronco, Tim Tebow’s future then becomes a big question mark. Ideally, you’d love to see him mentor under Manning for a few years, but that might just be wishful thinking on my part. Most likely, he’d be traded.

One thing is clear, the Broncos want to win now, and they’re not going to lie down quietly in their pursuit to acquire Manning.

Jeff Sauer is a longtime western Colorado resident and former Roaring Fork Valley resident. He can be reached at

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