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?

Report: Sixers attend New York workout for Ingram, Murray, Maker

052416-ingram-slide.jpg

Report: Sixers attend New York workout for Ingram, Murray, Maker

The Sixers are taking their talent evaluation on the road.

On Tuesday, members of the front office attended a workout for Excel Sports Management in New York, which included Brandon Ingram, the projected No. 1 or No. 2 pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Jamal Murray, a projected lottery pick, and Thon Maker, according to the Inquirer.

The Sixers have held two workouts at their own facility, and it is common for teams to attend organized workouts for higher-rated prospects. Head coach Brett Brown, managing owner Josh Harris and vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley traveled to the session, but president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was in Toronto for his son's high school graduation, according to the report.

The Sixers hold the first, 24th and 26th picks in the upcoming draft. The decision between one and two is widely considered to be between Ingram and Ben Simmons. The Sixers have the assets on their roster to move up from Nos. 24 and 26 through a trade, which makes scouting prospects outside of the top two an integral part to their evaluation.

The team has worked out 12 players in Philadelphia and will continue to do so up until the draft on June 23. 

10 observations from Eagles OTA practice Tuesday

052416-zangaro-on-schwartz-webbestvideo3_1920x1080_692149827897.jpg

10 observations from Eagles OTA practice Tuesday

Finally some nice weather.

The Eagles began their second round of OTAs on Tuesday under the beaming sun, in near-80 degree temperatures. That’s a departure from the first day of rookie camp and the first day of last week’s OTAs, which both brought rain.

So without the confinements of the practice bubble and without a slick football, we got a chance to see the 2016 Eagles in desirable conditions Tuesday.

Here are 10 observations from Tuesday’s practice:

1. Overall, a pretty sloppy day for the defense. As soon as the team portion of the practice began, Sam Bradford got the defensive line to jump about three times in the first several plays of practice. Late in the practice, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had enough and ripped into a second-year defensive back.

During his nearly 30-minute press conference after practice, Schwartz was asked about his past experience grooming a first-round quarterback (Matthew Stafford), but said he doesn’t have much time to worry about Carson Wentz.

“We’ve got enough worries on defense right now,” he said.

2. If you’re looking for a bright spot on defense, we’ll offer up rookie defensive back Jalen Mills. On Tuesday, Mills got a chance to work against the first-team offense in the Nickel package. When Mills came on the field, Ron Brooks moved inside, while Leodis McKelvin remained outside.

Mills made the defensive play of the day, when he got in between Jordan Matthews and a deep sideline pass.

“He’s been impressive so far,” Schwartz said of the seventh-rounder Mills. “But we haven’t even really started yet, to tell you the truth.”

Schwartz said the team wanted to see how Mills would look going against veterans; before Tuesday, he had mostly been going against rookies.

“We don’t have a depth chart right now,” Schwartz cautioned.

While those three worked with the first team on Tuesday, there could be different players there Wednesday. And Nolan Carroll, who’s still recovering, isn’t yet able to do team drills.

3. Rueben Randle (gallbladder surgery) and Ryan Mathews (illness) both missed practice on Tuesday, which gave some other guys more reps.

At running back, it meant Kenjon Barner worked with the first team, while rookie fifth-rounder Wendell Smallwood worked with the twos. With Mathews out and with Darren Sproles still away, the team had just three running backs suited up on Tuesday. Barner looked pretty good with the first team on Tuesday.

The starting widouts were Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff and Jordan Matthews. When all three were on the field, Matthews was mostly in the slot. But one guy who did a lot with his reps on Tuesday was free-agent signing Chris Givens. Now, obviously, these guys are still in shorts, but Givens showed off his speed and hands. He’s making a push for the roster as the last receiver to make the team.

4. Fletcher Cox is still not with the team (see story). Last week, during the open practice, Taylor Hart worked next to Bennie Logan in his spot. Tuesday, it was free-agent pickup Mike Martin.

“I’ve been working with them,” Martin said after practice. “We’ve been switching and working both sides. But it’s a great advantage to be able to work with the first-team guys and get those reps.”

5. You’re probably wondering how Wentz looked. He again showed off his strong arm on Tuesday, while working with the threes. Overall, he probably had the best day of the quarterbacks.

He delivered a perfect 25-yard sideline pass to Givens over the shoulder. On another play, he tripped over his offensive lineman’s foot, but was still able to complete an out to Trey Burton while falling. That’s all arm strength, because he couldn’t use his legs to complete the pass.

The one thing we have seen a couple times from Wentz is this: he has a strong arm, but sometimes he has overthrown his targets. Nothing major yet, but something to keep an eye on.

6. Jordan Hicks was back at MIKE with the defense during Tuesday’s team portion of practice, which is a good sign for a team that’s relying on him heavily. Last Tuesday, he was held out with some tightness in his legs.

While Hicks has been playing the middle linebacker spot, Schwartz talked about the versatility of that group.

“All of those guys are pretty much interchangeable, and you have to be now,” Schwartz said.

7. Last Tuesday, head coach Doug Pederson said Cody Parkey wouldn’t be a full-go until perhaps training camp, but the kicker was hitting field goals on Tuesday and looked pretty good.

He did miss about a 43-yarder, but he still has a really good shot to make the team over Caleb Sturgis, who did a nice job filling in last season. It’s not definitely Parkey’s job yet, though. Sturgis looked good Tuesday and that’ll definitely be a competition to watch come training camp.

8. Donnie Jones is the only punter left in the building after the team cut Ryan Quigley earlier this week.

Jones celebrated by booming several punts on Tuesday. He’s still pretty good.

9. Burton has been moving around the field quite a bit in the early going. He’s been lining up on the line as a tight end, in the backfield as a fullback and in the slot as a receiver. It’s pretty clear that in some packages, Pederson and the offense will have a fullback of some kind.

Come training camp, when the hitting begins, Burton will really need to show he can handle that role.

10. Perhaps the most notable change in practice under Pederson, as opposed to Chip Kelly, comes in the form of pace. Under Kelly, the emphasis was on running as many plays as possible in the time allotted, which meant correcting mistakes after practice.

“His approach was to get no-huddle,” left guard Allen Barbre said of Kelly (more on Barbre). “If you stop to correct it all the time, you wouldn’t be getting a no-huddle practice.”

Under Pederson, there’s much more on-field teaching during practice. At one point on Tuesday, Pederson actually stopped the practice, taught technique and made them run it again. Under Kelly, the offense would have been five plays down the line.

National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

usa-villanova.jpg
USA Today Images

National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

It's been nearly two months since Villanova won the National Championship in one of the most memorable games in NCAA Tournament history.

Since then, the Wildcats have been honored by the city (parade), the New York Stock Exchange (opening bell), the Phillies (first pitch), the Flyers and the Union. Earlier this week, head coach Jay Wright addressed the Eagles.

But that will all pale in comparison to where the Wildcats will be next Tuesday, when they become the latest championship team to visit the White House and meet President Barack Obama.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 4:10 p.m. and will be streamed on www.whitehouse.gov/live.

In his pool, President Obama had Villanova finally advancing past the second round — "I know that eventually they're going to break through. They've had some bad luck over the last couple of years," Obama told ESPN.com — but had the Wildcats falling to Kansas in the regional semifinal.

He then had Kansas beating North Carolina to win the title.

After surviving the first weekend for the first time since their Final Four run in 2009, Villanova ousted Kansas, 64-59, before shocking Buddy Hield and Oklahoma in the national semifinal, winning by 44. The Wildcats then won one of the most memorable championship games in NCAA Tournament history when Kris Jenkins hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Tar Heels, 77-74.