Colorado home-sellers could see a big bill as the result of a lesser-known change in GOP tax proposals

2017 Donor List

Years of rapid home price appreciation along the northern Front Range will leave homeowners in the region more vulnerable to changes in the tax code now before Congress.

Coloradans need to be aware of one change in particular that could have big implications for them when it comes time to sell — an extension in the time owners must occupy their homes to avoid paying capital gains taxes.

“Homeowners across the country should pay attention. You will find the biggest effects, however, in your biggest, more expensive markets,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist with

Right now, owners must have lived in a home for at least two years within the last five years at the time of sale to avoid paying capital gains taxes on any increase in value up to $500,000. For most homeowners, that means holding on to a home for at least two years is a good idea.

But Congress, looking for ways to generate more revenues to pay for cuts elsewhere, wants to extend that to five years within the last eight years. That would force most homeowners to wait five years or more to avoid a tax penalty that could reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Much attention has been paid to proposed caps on deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes, differing versions of which are included in the Senate and House plans. While that change may only affect wealthier homeowners, it could lower home prices across the broader market and push second-home owners in places such as Colorado’s high country to sell.

But the change that will have the greatest impact on average homeowners is likely to be the longer holding period required to avoid capital gains taxes, said Lou Barnes, a senior loan officer with Premier Mortgage Group in Boulder.

“This one will surprise people. People will sell homes and not realize they have left the safe harbor. They will wind up with a large tax obligation,” Barnes said.

Owners with a tenure of between two years and five years accounted for roughly one in five home sales in metro Denver and Boulder over the past 18 months, according to statistics provided by Black Knight, a mortgage analytics firm based in Florida.

And according to, Denver is the country’s “most recovered” large metro housing market, with a federal home price index 72.3 percent above the peak reached last decade before the housing crash.

The median home price in Boulder is around $516,000 as of August and $392,000 in metro Denver, according to the Black Knight home price index.

Sellers in metro Denver had an average profit above their initial purchase price and other costs of $110,000, while those in Boulder pulled down profits of $150,000. Nationwide, the average gain on sale is around $80,000.

Up to $22,500

Capital gains tax rates vary based on income, but in the middle brackets they run 15 percent. That would translate into $16,500 in additional taxes in Denver and $22,500 in Boulder on a typical sale.

“Any capital gains will likely be felt to a higher degree in Denver and Boulder,” said Andy Walden, Black Knight’s director of market research.

Because the current rules on capital gains on a home sale are so accommodating, few people pay attention to them, Barnes said. Most homeowners will stay in a home at least two years, and those who do sell before that will not see as much appreciation, keeping the capital gains tax lower.

Under the proposed tax plan, if a real estate agent or accountant doesn’t warn a seller, or they don’t hear a horror story from someone hit with a huge tax bill, they risk falling into a trap.

Some sellers may not realize their obligations until they sit down to prepare taxes the following year, long after they rolled any proceeds into the next home, Barnes said.

That means owners, to the degree they can do so, will need to stay in their homes a minimum of five years. That creates another complication for the market.

The larger metro Denver area, with a population of 2.8 million people, had just over 5,000 homes available for sale at the end of November, according to the Denver Metro Association or Realtors.

Not only is that at a record low for the month of November, it is one-third of the normal inventory over the past two decades for the month.

“If any Denver home sellers decide to delay or forego home selling, this would also continue to constrain for-sale inventory,” said Walden.

Tax deduction changes

While changes to the capital gains holding period are an issue consumers need to plan for, there is less agreement on what more limited tax deductions for property taxes and mortgage interest will mean for housing.

Among the changes being hammered out in a reconciliation process between House and Senate tax plans is an elimination of deductions on property taxes paid above $10,000 and on the interest on mortgages amounts above $500,000.

Colorado has some of the lowest property taxes in the country, so the $10,000 cap isn’t as big an issue here. But given how much prices have risen, homes values topping $500,000 are becoming more common.

In the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area, about three-quarters of homes have a mortgage on them. Of those, just over a fifth have a value of $500,000 or higher.

In Boulder, seven in 10 homes carry a mortgage, and of those, just under half are valued at $500,000 or more, according to

A home price above $500,000, however, doesn’t mean the mortgage is that large, given down payments and the monthly principal paid.

Less than 4 percent of active mortgages in metro Denver and 8 percent in Boulder actually have a balance that high, according to Black Knight.

Given the run-up in home prices, about 8 percent of homes purchased last year had a mortgage balance above $500,000 in Denver, while 23 percent of new Boulder mortgages were that large, said Walden.

The proposals will grandfather those who already have a mortgage above the limits, softening the impact.

Also, households making above $250,000 a year already face limits on the deductions they can claim, said Barnes, who views warnings about home prices falling as overblown.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) argues the loss of real-estate-related deductions could cost homeowners $1,000 more on average in taxes while providing renters a savings of $500.

“The NAR is predicting home prices could fall from 7 percent to 11 percent (in Colorado) if both the mortgage interest and real estate taxes deductions are eliminated,” said Steve Thayer, chairman of DMAR and owner of Keller Williams Action Realty in Castle Rock.

That would translate into the typical homeowner in Colorado losing home equity in the $24,000 to $36,000 range, Thayer said.

The mortgage interest deduction on second homes, which account for about 5 percent of the state’s housing stock, is also on the chopping block.

In some mountain resort counties, the share of vacation homes can run 30 percent to 40 percent higher.

Hale said she expects more people will convert their second homes into rentals so they can claim the mortgage interest and other deductions they will otherwise lose.

That would make more rentals available to accommodate more tourists, whose spending would give resort economies a boost.

But that added inventory, combined with the loss of tax breaks that helped offset the cost of having a second home, could discourage new construction.

That would harm resort economies, more so second-tier markets such as Breckenridge and Grand County that rely on Front Range buyers rather than the stomping grounds of the wealthy including Aspen and Telluride.

Glen Weinberg, chief operating officer Fairview Commercial Lending in Steamboat Springs, said on his daily lunchtime jog, he has noticed more vacation homes coming up for sale.

People could be disappointed with the paltry snow or just making year-end financial moves. But the surge coincides with the Congressional wrangling over tax reforms.

His take is that some owners are trying to get ahead of what they perceive as a downturn in the second home market, he said.

“What does this mean for the second home market? It will be fascinating to see what happens,” he said.

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This is a computer-enhanced image of a Torosarus with its young as seen in the Discovery Channel documentary "Walking with Dinosaurs." (AP)

After a month of cleaning and studying what looked like a triceratops’ skull and skeleton, researchers have re-identified the fossil found at a suburban Denver construction site.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science said Tuesday said the fossil turned out to be the rarer torosaurus, a close cousin of the triceratops.

A dinosaur curator at the museum, Joe Sertich, says there are about 2,000 triceratops specimens in the Western United States and only about seven torosaurus fossils. Sertich added that this one is one of the most complete and better preserved than ever found before.

The fossil nicknamed "Tiny" was found Aug. 29 when workers building a public safety building in Thornton discovered a horn.

The museum says the cleaning process is expected to take several more months.

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If you are seeking a plumber to help with something around your home, you will want to find the best one around. If you aren’t sure how to find one, you are in the right place. Here you will learn some great advice that will help you find a plumber in Denver, Colorado that can help you.

Search Google for plumbers in Denver, Colorado. Browse over the listings for the plumbers in the area to see if you recognize any of the names. If there are reviews about the plumbers take a quick look over them to see what you can learn about past customers experiences with them. Take note of their phone number so you can contact them and get estimates from them.

Ask people you know like family and friends. See if they have hired a plumber to help them and ask them who they hired. Find out what kind of experience they had with the plumber they hired and how they found them. Learn what you can from them and you may find a great plumber this way.

Call the plumbers you want to hire and ask them for estimates on the work you need to have done. They may charge you a fee to take a look at the plumbing problems you are having so they can give you the most accurate price on the work. Get quotes from several of them before choosing the best one.

After reading the advice from above, it will be easy for you to find a plumber in Denver, Colorado. Start your search for the best plumber around and get your plumbing issues taken care of immediately. You won’t be disappointed with the plumber you choose when you do your research to find the best one.

2017 Donor List

For nearly a decade, voters across Colorado have made it clear that when it comes to having access to high-speed internet service in their businesses and homes, they want all options on the table.

Elections in county after county and city after city across the state have cast aside a 2005 state law that prohibits local governments from using taxpayer money to build their own broadband networks but allows communities to opt out of those restrictions at the ballot box.

During last month’s election, 19 more cities and counties — including Vail, Louisville and Kremmling — chose to override Senate Bill 152, bringing to 116 the number of Colorado municipalities and counties to do so since Glenwood Springs voters cast the first vote on the issue in 2008.

Colorado Municipal League deputy director Kevin Bommer said industry players haven’t been willing or able to extend their data pipes to all corners of the state, leaving many parts of Colorado — especially rural areas — with substandard connection speeds that make it hard to do business and enjoy high-bandwidth experiences such as Netflix viewing or online gaming.

“People, businesses, schools and rural hospitals are getting left behind,” he said. “When the private sector cannot or will not provide the service, the law allows for local governments to look to find a way to do it.”

But simply overturning the 2005 law — it was backed by cable and internet providers in the name of maintaining a level playing field in the deployment of expensive fiber-optic networks — doesn’t mean publicly funded broadband will suddenly appear. For most cities and towns, high cost, rough topography and dispersed populations make going it alone on construction of a high-speed network too tall an order.

Which is why some communities are finding that the best way to get moving on high-speed internet is to find a partner in the private sector — be it giant telecoms such as CenturyLink or any of a number of tiny rural phone companies — to share the costs and risks of building a fiber-optic network.

That’s what Wray, a city near the Nebraska border, is doing. Having done away with the 2005 law three years ago, it is now working with the Plains Cooperative Telephone Association to give its 2,300 residents access to affordable high-speed connections.

The city is spending $1.4 million — half of it from state grants — to put in 14 miles of “middle mile” fiber-optic in Wray, while Plains Cooperative takes care of the “last mile” connections to homes and businesses. The network should be complete by next year.

“It’s a unique opportunity to form partnerships that will improve service that could never happen if (SB) 152 was still in place,” Wray City Manager James DePue said. “If we didn’t do something, Wray’s business district would totally dry up.”

Plains Cooperative said it took coming together with Wray to make the project financially feasible for both sides.

“It took those additional funds to make it a workable business plan,” said Ronny Puckett, general manager of the 65-year-old Joes-based company.

On the Front Range, Centennial is also turning to the private sector for development of its fiber-optic network. The city is building an internet line to connect city offices and businesses, but for residential service it is leaning on third-party services, such as Ting Internet, to handle the last mile.

Ting, which is pitching residential 1-gigabit-per-second service starting at $90 a month, has hosted community sessions and is accepting pre-orders. But so far, no launch date has been set, a company official said.

On the Western Slope, Rio Blanco County has made a successful foray into municipal broadband, offering 1-gps service to its 6,500 residents across a sparsely populated 3,200-square-mile area that borders Utah. The $12 million effort is county-led but involves contracts with a network operator and two local internet service providers.

“What most counties are seeking is a public-private partnership where the county can help with the middle mile that will then attract an internet service provider to hook up their communities,” said Eric Bergman, policy director with Colorado Counties Inc. “The vast majority of counties do not intend to get into the broadband business.”

But some cities have.

Many point to Longmont, with its 1-gps NextLight internet service, as the city with the most aggressive response to an SB 152 opt-out vote. Residents there voted to override the state statute in 2011.

Now the city serves 17,000 residents and businesses with some of the highest internet speeds in Colorado — at a base price of $50 a month.

“Cities don’t do this because they want to compete with the incumbent — they do it because the incumbent refuses to,” said Tom Roiniotis, general manager of Longmont Power & Communications, which runs the network. “We didn’t have any interest (in network construction) from the private sector. Lifting the burden of (SB) 152 gives you the opportunity to explore those options.”

The Delta-Montrose Electric Association is heading up its own multiyear effort to build a high-speed fiber-optic network for the 28,000 residents it covers in southwest Colorado. Much of Delta and Montrose counties — including Paonia, Crawford, Delta and Cedaredge — cast off the state-sanctioned restrictions in the fall of 2015.

Virgil Turner, director of innovation and citizen engagement for the city of Montrose, said the churn of voters across the state overturning SB 152 amounts to a “rallying cry” for Coloradans desperate for an amenity that for many has become as vital as electricity and phone service.

“We’re not going to stand by as a city and allow our businesses and residents to fall behind Front Range communities,” Turner said.

Montrose’s electric utility says on its website that it will take six years to fully build the network, which it is calling Elevate Fiber. Speeds of 100 megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second will be offered. Talks with Charter Communications and CenturyLink about lighting up both counties with high-speed connections bore no fruit, Turner said.

“Our goal is ubiquitous fiber to the premise,” he said. “And we want a price point that is affordable.”

Mark Soltes, CenturyLink’s assistant vice president in Colorado for public policy and government affairs, said the gaps in service across the state are due to rugged landscapes and far-flung population centers.

“You’re looking at deployment in some places where there’s no payback,” he said.

Soltes said his company is discussing public-private partnerships with municipalities in Colorado, although he wasn’t ready to disclose specifics. CenturyLink, he said, has reached a deal with a neighborhood in Granby to provide high-speed internet to the 250 homes that will one day be built there.

Soltes said SB 152 is meant to prevent municipalities from using taxpayer money to unfairly crush private-sector competition or unnecessarily duplicate fiber-optic where companies have already spent millions putting a network in place.

Cities and counties have an inherent advantage over the private sector because they often own the right-of-way where the industry lays its conduit, he said.

“Your competitor is your regulator, too — that’s an unlevel playing field,” he said.

Pete Kirchhof, executive vice president of the Colorado Telecommunications Association, said voters need to know what they are getting into before committing millions of dollars to build a municipal fiber-optic network. SB 152 opt-out language, he said, is often “very generic” and rarely addresses cost, price, debt and risk.

“Long-term sustainability is the question. You can’t just throw fiber in the ground and be done,” Kirchhof said. “These are very expensive and complex networks that require constant maintenance and upgrades.”

Greeley is taking the extra step of spearheading an online survey of its residents — who last month voted to override the state-imposed restrictions — about whether they would be willing to team up with nearby Windsor to provide a gigabit service such as Longmont’s or whether a joint broadband effort with the private sector is the better route.

That kind of data could have been helpful in expediting the efforts of Glenwood Springs — which did away with SB 152 limitations nine years ago — to build out its Community Broadband Network. Run by the Glenwood Springs Electric Department, the network provides broadband to nearly 250 businesses but hasn’t been linked to residences yet.

Mayor Mike Gamba said the Great Recession curtailed network plans for years and that previous city councils didn’t make the initiative the high priority it needed to be. The city is getting back on track now, with plans next year to spend $320,000 on the first phase of its strategic broadband plan.

“Councils change, priorities change — you have to have a concerted political will,” he said. “By voting for the opt-out doesn’t make it immediately happen.”

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House at 346 Elm in Hilltop on Oct. 25, 2017 in Denver. The home is part of the Denver Designer Show House.

Metro Denver home prices increased 7.2 percent in September, unchanged from the annual rate of gains measured in August and July, according to the latest update from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices.

As Denver’s home price index maintained a steady jog, home prices nationally accelerated to a 6.2 percent pace in September, their fastest rate of annual increase since June 2014.

“Home prices were higher in all 20 cities tracked by these indices compared to a year earlier; 16 cities saw annual price increases accelerate from last month,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.

Seattle remains the uncontested leader among metro areas, with a 12.9 percent year-over-year increase in its home price index. Las Vegas was second with a 9 percent increase while San Diego, with an 8.2 percent gain, claimed the third spot that Denver held for much of last year.

Portland, Ore., was next at 7.3 percent and Boston and Tampa Bay tied Denver with a 7.2 percent increase.

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More than 150 volunteers will help serve 7,000 pounds of turkey all all the trimmings at The Salvation Army community Thanksgiving feast at the Colorado Convention Center on Thursday.

The homeless and anyone else are welcome to come and enjoy a warm traditional meal of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, string beans and other dishes, according to the Salvation Army.

Volunteers will start serving at 11:30 a.m. at Exhibit Hall B of the convention center at 700 14th Street. The entrance is on Welton Street. Those who come early will get coffee, hot chocolate and cookies.

“This event is great example of how generous and caring Denver truly is” says Lt. Colonel Daniel Starrett of the The Salvation Army, “This is a beautiful example of our community standing together to ensure every one of our neighbors has a full belly this holiday.”

In line with their “Zero Hunger – Zero Waste” mission, King Soopers/City Market has donated 100 percent of the food.

“For more than 44 years we have partnered with The Salvation Army to help those who come seeking help. We are pleased to add another year to our tradition to serve those in need.” said Adam Williamson of King Soopers.

Denver Sheriff Department deputies, Denver Broncos players and The Salvation Army staff and numerous other volunteers have prepared the food.

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Jonny Barber on his beloved Colfax Avenue in Denver. (David Kelly / For The Times)

One of the occupational hazards of dressing like Elvis is having a homeless guy throw you into a headlock and refuse to let go until you sing him a song.

“I said, ‘What do you want to hear, ‘Please Release Me?’” recalled Jonny Barber, the Elvis impersonator in question. “He says, ‘No, sing me ‘In the Ghetto.’”

Anywhere else it would have been a scene, but here on Colfax Avenue it was just another night.

As perhaps the nation’s longest commercial street, Colfax is jammed with history, freaks, neon and occasional peril as it cuts through Golden, Denver, Lakewood, Aurora and beyond.

Barber, 49, has spent the last 14 years chronicling the history of Colfax, collecting thousands of artifacts, including a stegosaurus footprint dating back 150 million years to the Jurassic period.

He’s now moving it all from his basement into the new Colfax Museum, a celebration of the road that runs 53.3 miles from the Denver metro area clear through Bennett on Colorado’s eastern plains. It’s actually part of U.S. 40, which once stretched from Atlantic City, N.J., to San Francisco but now ends in Utah.

Colfax is an eclectic patchwork of people, commerce and architecture. East African immigrants in traditional dress thread their way through clusters of homeless people at bus stops. Upscale condos stand near worn-out motels with flickering 1950s-era neon signs. World-class hospitals share the road with strip joints and dive bars.

“Everyone knows Route 66 because they had a better PR guy, a better song and a TV show,” Barber said. “But much of American pop culture got its start on Colfax.”

The Beat generation, he contends, was born when Hal Chase, a Columbia University anthropology major, met Denver native Neal Cassady at the old public library on Colfax. Chase later introduced Cassady to writer Jack Kerouac and poet Allen Ginsberg in New York.

“If Neal Cassady hadn’t met Hal Chase at the library, there would have been no Beat generation,” Barber said.

A mural on Colfax shows a quote from Jack Kerouac, who spent time in Denver.

Ginsberg later came to town, hanging out at the Colburn Hotel near Colfax with his fellow Beats; he mentions Denver in his poem “Howl.” Kerouac moved to a house off Colfax. His classic work “On the Road” describes its main character, Dean Moriarty, famously leaving Denver by roaring "east along Colfax and out to the Kansas plains."

Barber, a musician and semiretired Elvis impersonator, revels in this sort of history. He invited a visitor for a drive along Colfax, launching immediately into a stream-of-consciousness soliloquy on the life and legends of the road.

“That was once Smiley’s, the world’s biggest laundromat,” he said, passing a warehouse-like building. “That hotel? The uncle of the Red Baron had his funeral there. Clint Eastwood walked his orangutan past that place in ‘Every Which Way But Loose.’ The guy who created the Colorado Gay Rodeo worked over there. I performed an Elvis wedding at that church.”

He pulled up to the Satire Lounge, where a neon arrow leads to a big martini glass.

“This is where Judy Collins got her start,” Barber said. “The Smothers Brothers had an apartment upstairs.”

He wandered next door to Pete’s Kitchen, a 50-year-old Greek diner with a neon sign showing a pancake flipping through the air. A picture of Barber in Elvis regalia hangs on the wall.

A customer spun around. A fan?

“When are they going to take my order?” he groused. “I’ve been waiting like 20 minutes.”

Before U.S. 40 was shortened to end in Utah, it ran past the San Francisco hospital where Barber was born.

His father was a law professor who moved to Colorado and bought a ranch in the mountains. Barber managed it but he really wanted to sing and play guitar. He finally scored a gig at the Lion’s Lair, a renowned dive bar on Colfax.

“When I drove in someone literally shot at my van,” he said. “I get to the Lion’s Lair and two guys are having sex in a Dumpster.”

Finding it seedy yet thrilling, he rented a place nearby and began collecting the stories of Colfax. The road was named after Schuyler Colfax, vice president to Ulysses S. Grant and onetime speaker of the House.

“Everything that happened in Colorado or the American West passed through Colfax,” Barber said.

The road gained popularity after World War II with the birth of the automobile culture. Hundreds of motels, dinner clubs and tourist traps sprang up to reel in passing motorists. Kitsch was king.

Some places, like the futuristic Science Fiction Land, never got off the ground. Others, like Alligator Gardens and Snake Stockade, probably shouldn’t have.

“What would I have given to wrestle a gator on Colfax?” Barber asked dreamily.

He and his wife had plenty of run-ins with the two-legged denizens of the street. They were once managers of a bed-and-breakfast on a sketchy stretch of Colfax. There was occasional gunfire outside; prostitutes worked the street. One night a drunk broke through the door of Room 32. Barber kept the door, which will join the posters, postcards and historical photographs inside the museum, which opened Saturday inside Ed Moore Florist shop on Colfax.

The museum will also commemorate the 200 or so motels that once lined Colfax, places like Lloyds of Lakewood and Charlie Chan Village. The Bugs Bunny Motel, where actress Sue Lyon of “Lolita” fame once stayed, still stands. Its name was changed to Big Bunny Motel in 1997, Barber said, after a copyright dispute with Warner Brothers. The Golden Hours Motel, where John Hinckley plotted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, also remains.

The Big Bunny Motel on Colfax Avenue.

Barber has collected these details on his extensive site, earning him a reputation as the unofficial historian of the street.

“If Colfax looks different in 20 years, I can’t change that,” he said. “But I can create a time capsule full of its stories and tall tales.”

“Today, Colfax is undergoing a lot of development. It’s becoming a bit more mainstream than eclectic,” said former Colorado state Sen. Russell Hagedorn, who grew up near Colfax. “It’s inevitable that it will change, but the legend will live on. The museum will tell the story to future generations.”

Frank Locantore, executive director of the Colfax Avenue Business Improvement District, says the road has been defined by change.

“This is the most democratic street in Denver,” he said. “We are not going backward; we are creating our own new history, and that history will be very different from the 1950s.”

It already is. Many of the motels are gone; others are long-term rentals for low-income residents. Meanwhile, expensive condos are going up.

Back in the van, Barber cruised down West Colfax, passing a place offering Turkish baths and another selling cremations for $495. Next up was the Pepto-Bismol-pink Casa Bonita, a Mexican restaurant where divers leap from 30-foot-high artificial cliffs into a deep blue pool. The foul-mouthed animated show “South Park” dedicated an episode to the place.

A car pulled up beside him.

“Hey, Elvis! What are you up to, man?” yelled the driver, who had worked with Barber at the bed-and-breakfast.

They shouted pleasantries before the driver sped off.

“That guy was homeless. The motel owner gave him a job, and now look at him,” Barber said. “Colfax can be tough, but there is a tender side as well.”

He grew quiet and scanned the road ahead.

“I recall a guy who roller-skated around here in a pink tutu,” he finally said. “I wonder what happened to him.”

Kelly is a special correspondent.

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After the Denver Broncos 41 to 16 loss to the New England Patriots, the Denver Broncos are now inching closer to picking in the top 5 of the 2018 NFL Draft. According to, the Denver Broncos as of Monday morning currently hold the 6th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Current NFL Draft Order
Pick Team Record Strength Of Schedule Pick Team Record Strength Of Schedule 1 Cleveland Browns 0-9 0.506 2 San Fransisco 49ers 1-9 0.527 3 New York Giants 1-8 0.5 4 Indianapolis Colts 3-7 0.473 5 Cincinnati Bengals 3-6 0.476 6 Denver Broncos 3-6 0.519 7 Los Angeles Chargers 3-6 0.525 8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-6 0.537 9 Houston Texans 3-6 0.537 10 Chicago Bears 3-6 0.605

The Broncos strength of schedule percentage is rather low, so that is why they’re picking ahead of the other teams with 3-6 records.

It’s safe to say at this point that the Broncos would be in the market for a quarterback if they end up picking this high. If they stay in this range, they should be in range to pick one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft.

It appears that the top three picks are locked in. The Cleveland Browns, San Fransisco 49ers, and New York Giants will be fighting it out for the top pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Picks 4 through 32 remain up in the air.

The Broncos do have some “winnable games” upcoming on their schedule, but with the way they’re playing, it’s tough to find a W in their remaining schedule. Remember, this team was dominated at home by the blundering New York Giants who appear to be on the verge of firing their Head Coach.

Here’s a look at the Broncos remaining schedule.

Broncos remaining schedule
Week Team Record Week Team Record 11 Cincinnati Bengals 3-5 12 @Oakland Raiders 4-5 13 @Miami Dolphins 4-4 14 New York Jets 4-6 15 @Indianapolis Colts 3-7 16 Washington Redskins 4-5 17 Kansas City Chiefs 6-3

That’s not an overly tough schedule for the Broncos, but one that has plenty of draft implications.

The Bengals and Colts are currently ahead of the Broncos in the draft order, and those two games could help decide if they pick ahead of behind them when it’s all said and done. Also, a game against the New York Jets figures to be important as well as they’re a top 5 pick contender and a team who figures to be in the market for a quarterback themselves. So if the Broncos want their choice of top quarterback options, they would want to pick ahead of them.

It’s time for the Broncos to give up on the 2017 season and embrace the tank. Start playing the younger guys, give Paxton Lynch some reps, and just prepare for the 2018 season. I hate losing like the rest of you, but losing as many games as possible right now will (hopefully) greatly benefit the Broncos going forward. This will put them in range to select USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.

It’s time for the Broncos to #EmbraceTheTank and set their sites on finding their next quarterback of the future.

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Sam Darnold has seen plenty of what cornerback Ajene Harris can do in practice. He’s just thankful he doesn’t have to face him when it counts.

Darnold threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score and Harris had two interceptions — including a pick-six — as No. 15 USC beat host Colorado 38-24 on Saturday to wrap up the Pac-12 South title.

“Always good to have someone like him on defense,” Darnold said.

The same can be said of Darnold — on offense, of course — after he threw for 329 yards and improved to 18-3 as a starter.

“I’ve really enjoyed his leadership, whether it’s good times or bad,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “When you’re the quarterback at USC and to have that much pressure on you and do it with so much class and character on a weekly basis, whether things are going good or bad, and perform for his brothers? He’s the definition of believing in the team’s success over individual success.”

The Trojans (9-2, 7-1) will play the Pac-12 North winner on Dec. 1 at Levi’s Stadium.

USC led 27-0 in the third quarter, but needed to weather a late Colorado comeback. The Trojans blocked two field goals to move to 12-0 against the Buffaloes (5-6, 2-6).

“There’s still a lot out there that we have to get ready for,” Helton said. “We’re going to celebrate tonight and go back to work tomorrow.”

Juwann Winfree hauled in touchdown passes of 79 and 57 yards to rally Colorado. But Buffaloes quarterback Steven Montez was tackled on a fourth-down play near the USC goal line with just over a minute remaining. Montez said he thought the Buffs picked up a first down on the previous play.

“It was fourth down — all the way,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. “I don’t know.”

#19 Washington State 33, Utah 25: Luke Falk threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns as the visiting Cougars (9-3, 6-2) beat the Utes (5-5, 2-5). Washington State needs to beat Washington in Seattle on Nov. 25 to win the Pac-12 North and play in the conference championship game for the first time since the league created divisions in 2011. “For the last three years, we’ve been right on the cusp of the thing,” Cougars coach Mike Leach said. “We’ll see. This is a good group. We’ve won a lot of games in the Pac-12 in the last three years. We need to win another one.”

UCLA 44, Arizona State 37: Josh Rosen threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lasley on the first play of the fourth quarter and the host Bruins (5-5, 3-4) pulled away from the Sun Devils (5-5, 4-3). Rosen was 25 of 45 for 381 yards with one touchdown and one interception and scored on a 1-yard run as the Bruins outscored the Sun Devils 10-3 in the fourth quarter. Bolu Olorunfunmi ran for 79 yards and one touchdown, Soso Jamabo had a 21-yard touchdown run, and Nate Meadors returned an interception for a touchdown to help UCLA remain undefeated at the Rose Bowl this season.

Arizona 49, Oregon State 28: Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate ran his streak of 100-yard rushing games to six, finishing with 206 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries to lead the host Wildcats (5-5, 4-3) past the Beavers (1-9, 0-7). Arizona ran for a school-record 534 yards, with three players going over 100 yards. Tate had a 19-yard second-quarter touchdown run in which he bowled over a would-be tackler in the open field on his way to the end zone. Tate has four of the five longest touchdown runs for Arizona this season, and twice has run 71 yards for a score.

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — In the film “Super Bowl LI Champions: New England Patriots,” viewers are taken behind the curtain and into the locker room following a 16-3 victory over the Denver Broncos that clinched the 2016 AFC East championship.

In that moment, head coach Bill Belichick said, “We’ve been hearing all week about how the Patriots can’t come and win in Denver. But not this team. Not this team.”

Belichick, sharing how proud he was of his ’16 squad, repeated himself for effect.

The behind-the-scenes moment is timely to pass along as the Patriots prepare for another visit to Denver on Sunday (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET).

Belichick needs this team to prove the same thing.

That might explain why one of the first things he mentioned to players early this week was Denver’s impressive sellout streak, which is now at 48 years running and almost 400 straight games. Then when Belichick met with reporters, he said, “The fans have a lot of energy. It’s a great crowd, a great football environment. Sunday night, I’m sure that place will be lit up.”

Quarterback Tom Brady said the sellout streak speaks volumes about the Broncos’ fan base, which has a trademark “In-Com-Plete” chant when opposing quarterbacks don’t connect with their intended receiver. Brady is 3-7 in road games against the Broncos (including playoffs), which is his worst road win percentage against a single team that he’s faced more than once.

One of those losses — a 30-24 decision in overtime — came in 2015 when Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler played one of the best games of his pro career with 270 passing yards. That game was later cited as one reason the Houston Texans aggressively pursued Osweiler as a free agent after that season.

Now the Patriots face Osweiler again as they make a regular-season trip to Denver for the third straight year.

“We’ve always had some tough games out there,” defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. “That’s a tough place to play — just the environment and atmosphere. They have a great fan base that really gets behind the team and those guys play well at home against us. That’s the difficult part.”

The Broncos also like to remind opponents, with a sign outside of the visitors’ locker room, of the elevation (5,280 feet above sea level).

The Patriots are scheduled to travel to Denver on Friday, which will give them all day Saturday to get a feel for the altitude. Then come Sunday night, they know the silent snap count will be critical.

“It’s tough communication-wise,” Brady said. “But when you play good teams, I think the margin of error is even more slim, and [Denver] has always had a good football team.”

That might be debatable in 2017, but the Patriots can be guaranteed they will be challenged by the environment nonetheless.

“If you like football,” center David Andrews said, “these are the kind of games you get ready to go for.”

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