Halloween candy, ranked

Halloween candy, ranked

In sadly predictable fashion, my usual area of expertise -- the Philadelphia Union -- spent the last two weeks of the season totally imploding when they had their playoff destiny all to themselves. The MLS playoffs kicked off Wednesday night without the Union (you're going to cringe when I say this, but I'm predicting the New York Red Bulls will beat the Galaxy for their first-ever title). This means the 2012 Sixers are still the city's most recent playoff team (although this year's Sixers are going 82-0 now, so we have that to look forward to).

We'll get to the Union's offseason needs (many), plans (who the heck knows with this team) and dreams in the weeks to come.

But with today being Halloween, and in deference to Enrico's Pulitzer Prize-nominated post from earlier this month -- Tastykakes, ranked -- I offer the Top 5 Halloween Candies for your perusal, ridicule and praise. If the NSA is reading this (and I know you are), just turn this into a law and demand that everyone MUST hand out one or more of the Top 5 items to qualify for Obamacare.

A few rules:

  • We're sticking to so-called "fun sized" candy. Of course, all rules below go out the window when Mrs. Freeman up the street gives out full-size Snickers.
  • We're ignoring people who try to give out "alternative" options like apples, toothbrushes and Goldfish (the cracker, not the animal). Because, really, those people don't deserve to be mentioned on a fine website like this.
  • Please show some effort if you want candy. You can trick-or-treat past the age of 12. But holding your phone in front of your face and calling yourself an "obnoxious teenager" doesn't qualify as a costume. I'm a dad now who made a homemade costume this year. And I've never been a Halloween person. So the least you can do is show some initiative.

Now, onto the important stuff. We'll go from the bottom up.

154. Candy Corn

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? That ish is gross.

98. Starburst

I love Starburst. I do. I pick up a pack quite often on an impulse run through the Wawa. But the little Halloween packs are horrendous. First, there's only two pieces in each pack. Second, there's always the chance you'll get two yellows or two oranges and then you'll want to stab someone with your plastic trident. Third, if you don't eat them on the walk to the next house, you'll open them later to find them stale enough to rip your teeth out.

87. Smarties

Another candy I like at times. But come on, lady at the top of the hill, you have 54 steps to reach the front door. Show some damn effort.

32. M&Ms*

Again, a quality candy. But totally disappointing in the fun size packs. This is also what my wife bought for us to hand out, so you might want to skip our house (*NOTE: If they make the Pretzel M&Ms in a fun size and you find them, put up the bat signal and I'll be over right away. Those things are the No. 1 jawn).

... Now, for the good stuff ...

6. Nerds

Totally underrated, and just missing out on the Top 5. Lots of candy in a little box. Plus you get to tip it back and dump it in your mouth LIKE A BOSS. Don't sleep on the Nerds.

5. Skittles

The only non-chocolate item in the top 5. Who doesn't love Skittles? They're sweet, they're delicious and they provide a nice changeup from the chocolate-heavy pillowcase/bag/basket/oversized hoodie you're toting around the neighborhood. All the flavors are equally excellent, which is not something I can say about my beloved Sweettarts which have been ruined ever since the green ones went from lime to sour apple because it poisons the whole pack and makes every single one taste like freaking sour apple which is horrendous WHY DID YOU DO THIS!?!?

4. Milky Way

Often forgotten in the world of Snickers and Reese Cups, I prefer the caramel/nougat combo over bars with peanuts or peanut butter. Why? No, I'm not allergic to peanuts. I love peanut butter. I love chocolate. But I'm THAT GUY who absolutely, positively despises peanut butter and chocolate together (I assume Obama and the NSA are coming to get me now).

3. 3 Musketeers

My second-favorite childhood candy of all time (see Sweettart rant above) is a Halloween staple. It's underrated in the candy world, getting pushed aside by Snickers (eww) and Milky Way. A solid two bites in every fun size bar, and even better if you freeze it and then throw it against the concrete before enjoying. Plus, how do they make that awesome fluffy filling? Really, I want to learn.

2. Twix

They're chocolaty, crunchy, caramel-y. They're delicious. Maybe it's just the crunch -- which forces a more active eating experience -- but you feel like you get a lot more for your doorbell-ringing effort. Enough chews to savor it before digging back in the bag for more. The only way this could be better is if they brought back the old Cookies N' Cream variety from back in the day (seriously, there's a real petition -- just digi-sign it). Oh, nostalgia.

1. Kit-Kat

The best chocolate candy money can buy. The right amount of crunch mixed with a perfect amount of sweet. Just melty enough to get on your fingers but not melty enough to be gross. Plus, the fact that you can break it into two pieces before eating makes you feel like you're doubling your haul. There really should be a live Google map of houses giving away Kit-Kats.

Enrico's note: the views in this post are those of the author alone. Do not hold any ill will against other members of this site because he didn't include Snickers. You're gonna rank Smarties higher than Starburst? Did someone lace your candy?

NFL Playoffs: Matt Ryan, Falcons dismantle Packers to reach Super Bowl LI

NFL Playoffs: Matt Ryan, Falcons dismantle Packers to reach Super Bowl LI

The Atlanta Falcons are headed to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history after routing the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the NFC championship game.

Matt Ryan threw for four touchdowns, including a 73-yard catch-and-run for a highlight-reel score by star receiver Julio Jones. The defense played just as crucial a role in containing quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense.

Rodgers had 287 yards with three touchdown passes and an interception. But the Falcons got to Rodgers with pressure and forced two Green Bay turnovers. Rodgers was outplayed by Ryan, who even ran for a 14-yard touchdown.

Atlanta will play either New England or Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Houston.

The only other time that Atlanta made the Super Bowl was in the 1998 season. The Falcons lost 34-19 to the Denver Broncos.

The Packers fell in the NFC title game for the second time in three seasons.

2017 NBA draft prospect watch: Jonathan Isaac has a banner week

2017 NBA draft prospect watch: Jonathan Isaac has a banner week

Two of the country's top prospects faced off in the Pac 12 this week while a top 10 forward saw his season come to a premature close. However, we begin this week with the breakout performance by Jonathan Isaac.

Jonathan Isaac, forward, Florida St. (6-11/205)
Isaac's potential had everyone in the basketball world's curiosity. Now his play on the court has their attention. The Seminoles hosted No. 15 Notre Dame, which had yet to lose in ACC play before the Wednesday game. 

The freshman forward dominated in the 83-80 win. He had 23 points on 7 for 9 shooting from the field. He made both his threes, all seven of his free throws and also had one assist. His other stats were also otherworldly. He picked up 10 rebounds and had seven(!) blocks, including one on a late Notre Dame shot to get back into the game after he'd put the Seminoles ahead with a three. All this was in just 25 minutes

He followed it up with a similar game against Louisville. In 28 minutes, he had 16 points on 4 for 7 shooting, making one three and, again, all seven free throws. Add in two assists and two blocks to aid in the 73-68 win. Isaac has shown himself to be an athletic freak, a potential stretch-four at the next level and one with tremendous defensive potential, displayed with his nine blocks this week.

OG Anunoby, forward, Indiana (6-8/235)
Anunoby has had an uneven season, but he, at the very least, showed flashes of the ability that make him a top player for this year's draft class. However, a knee injury suffered on Wednesday finished off Anunoby's season, forcing him to undergo surgery that will keep him off the court for the rest of Indiana's schedule.

This may knock him out of the 2017 draft entirely. As a freshman last year, his NCAA Tournament performance was enough to make him a lottery pick in an even weaker draft field than the upcoming one. He chose to remain in school and it isn't farfetched to believe he will return to Indiana for his junior year to get more seasoning, a better draft field and another year of education.

Lonzo Ball, guard, UCLA (6-6/190)
There are going to be quite a few marquee matchups in the Pac 12. One of the first this year came in the form of UCLA-Arizona in Los Angeles on Saturday. The No. 3 Bruins lost, 96-85, but that had nothing to do with Ball's standout performance (more on the Wildcats below). He pushed the ball in transition, drove to the hole with ease and made 4 of 8 threes with his quirky shot. 

He had 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting and had eight assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block. When you watch Ball score so naturally, it's easy to forget his potential as a point guard, but then he whips up beautiful assists as he did many times on Saturday. The freshman has everything you want in a point guard.

Lauri Markkanen, forward, Arizona (7-0/225)
The No. 14 Wildcats picked up their biggest win of the year, moving to 7-0 in conference play. As you can expect, Markkanen had a big game to push Arizona past UCLA. He had 18 points on 6 for 10 shooting, was 3 for 3 from three and made three free throws, all which grabbing seven boards. Like Isaac, he is a tantalizing talent as a stretch-four, hanging out around the perimeter and spotting up for threes well.

He now has 16 made threes in his last four games and has averaged over seven boards in that stretch. He's not unbelievably thin like many fours his age. The freshman really can battle down low and get his shot, and he justifies his prospect status on a game-by-game basis with his ability.

Markelle Fultz, guard, Washington (6-4/195)
Washington lost on Saturday, moving to 9-10 and 2-5 in conference. But it's worth talking about Fultz's standout Wednesday night. The freshman willed his team back from 17-points down with a 37-point performance en route to an 85-83 OT win over Colorado. In 43 minutes, he was 13 for 24 from the field and 11 for 15 from the free throw line.

Don't think he's just a scorer, though. He had eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and three blocks, doing it all for the Huskies as he usually does. The freshman sensation was 0 for 2 from three, but he is normally efficient from beyond the arc. He alone is the reason to watch the under .500 Huskies.

While the 9-10 Huskies are unlikely to make a late run towards March Madness, the strong Pac 12 should provide many marquee matchups for Fultz. He faces off vs. a stout Arizona team next Sunday afternoon. Six days later, the long awaited matchup between Fultz and Ball up in Seattle goes down with presumably many scouts in attendance.

Quick Hits

Malik Monk, guard, Kentucky (6-4/185)
Twenty-seven points on 9 for 14 shooting, 4 for 7 from three, 5 for 6 on free throws, three rebounds, one assist, two steals and four turnovers in an 85-69 win over No. 24 South Carolina.

Josh Jackson, guard/forward, Kansas (6-8/203)
Fifteen points on 6 for 14 shooting, 2 for 5 from three, 1 for 3 on free throws, five rebounds, two assists, four steals and six turnovers in a 79-67 win over Texas.

Jayson Tatum, forward, Duke (6-8/204)
Fourteen points on 4 for 9 shooting, 1 for 4 from three, 5 for 6 on free throws, three rebounds, one assist, three turnovers and five fouls in a 70-58 win over Miami.