My body is completely failing me, but I refuse to be held down this week.
I assume that 95% of you will be filling out at least one bracket at some point this week, and that you've done the same thing each year for about as long as you can remember. For most of us, this year will be as forgettable as the last, but for a few, this will be the bracket or the pick that you'll be bragging about 15 years from now.
We all have our own "bracket highlight reels" from over the years that include a monumental upset pick, a correctly picked Final Four or maybe a victory in an office pool. Of course now that people can enter 75 brackets online and claim they picked every upset correctly it's a little less fun, which is why I stress the importance of always having one "official bracket." It's a true test of skill and makes your personal highlight reel legitimate. I also like to stress the importance of doing at least one "coin flip bracket," just because it's fun (congratulations Baylor Bears).
The vast majority of my brackets over the years have been extremely pedestrian, thanks in large part to my consistent overconfidence in Arizona, but there is one year that stands out like a boner in sweat pants: 2002.
My 2002 highlights include:
--Finishing 17th in the SportingNews.com's bracket challenge.
I was actually in second place heading into the national championship game, but had Maryland falling in the final. The participation level wasn't anything like ESPN's but there were still about 55,000 or so entered, so finishing 17th was a pretty boast-worthy accomplishment, and one that earned me a free pair of binoculars. Sure I have no idea where said binoculars are at this moment, but that doesn't change the fact that they will be brought up every March for the rest of my life.
--Sincerely picking a 16 to beat a one.
That's right, I won a prize with a bracket that had a 16 seed knocking off a one. This wasn't a joke, I was honestly convinced that Boston was going to beat Cincinnati, and even though the Terriers fell 90-52, UC did get knocked off in the second round by UCLA.
--Correctly advancing Kent State to the Elite Eight.
This was a pick that I talked about extensively before it happened, and one that led to severe ridicule, namely by one Mark Mugavin who you might now know from the hit MTV show America's Best Dance Crew. The Flashes didn't let me down though, and I still love Trevor Huffman.
--Picking every game in an entire region correctly.
It was the Midwest, and it was awesome.
Sadly, those are really all the bracket highlights that I can think of off the top of my head. Feel free to share yours and publicly shame me.