March Madness has officially begun. (Which, by the way, if you haven't signed up for our Expert Bracket Showdown, you can fill out your bracket here.) The greatest 48 hours in sports will start on Thursday and Friday as the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament gets underway in sites across the country.
But in order to properly watch all of that basketball, you'll need to fuel up. Snacks are an important part of tourney watching and the general party experience. What better way to determine the ultimate snack food than by creating the ultimate snack bracket. Thus, we present to you "The Snacket." It may sound a little weird, but it tastes amazing.
Like the NCAA Tournament, there are four 16-snack regions composing of 64 snacks total: the Salty Region, Sweet Region, Healthy Region and the Other Region. Salty is home to a lot of your usual suspects: chips, pretzels, popcorn and the like. You might even argue this will be the hardest bracket from which to advance. The Sweet Region isn't much easier, though. Cookies, candy and pastries are all-time favorites worthy of advancing on their own merit. But this is a single-elimination game and only one can rise above the rest.
The other two regions are Healthy and the great catch-all: Other. Healthy snacks aren't weird (you're weird!) if you're looking for all fuel and no guilt. That doesn't mean it has to be a bland region. Trail mix has a little bit of everything to satisfy all your snacking needs. The ceiling is high for other items like yogurt or oatmeal when you add something to them, like fruit. The Other Region is what's left over, but it's hardly a region of misfits. Pizza rolls? What other snack has been so accurately memed? And give me peanut butter or Nutella any day of the week.
Let's get started. First-round voting will take place on our Cover 3 Podcast Twitter account, so be sure to follow on Twitter if you're not already and vote immediately as soon as each round commences. You can find the
(1) Tortilla Chips and Dip: The true blue-blood of the Salty Region. The possibilities are endless.
(16) Butter crackers: They're 19-14 and only in because they won a mid-major conference tourney.
SALTY REGIONAL: No. 1 Tortilla Chips & Dip vs. No. 16 Butter Crackers— Cover 3 Podcast (@Cover3Podcast) March 20, 2019
(8) Cracker Sandwiches: Maybe not a first choice, but could make a run given the combination of textures and flavors.
(9) Cereal Snack Mix: A bit of a niche snack, this one has a strong transition game as it's perfect on the run.
(5) Popcorn: Wildly addicting, popcorn could have been a higher seed. Watch out for those un-popped kernels though.
(12) Corn Nuts: A mid-major snack with a serious cult fan base.
(4) Pretzels: A fan favorite, pretzels can be consumed en masse without feeling like a whale afterwards.
(13) Pork Rinds: They're not for everybody, but those who love them really love them. A possible 13-4 upset here.
(6) Cheese Puffs: The flavoring is what gives this snack its potential to make a Final Four run.
(11) Pita Chips and Hummus: The dip is what makes a first-round upset possible. Hummus has a bunch of possibilities.
(3) Corn Chips: They're good by themselves, but even better on something, like sandwiches or chili.
(14) Onion Snacks: These may not be highly seeded, but they're a classic. And a surefire cause of dragon breath.
(7) Cheese Crackers: If you want a bit more crunch than cheese puffs.
(10) Bacon: It's great and all by itself, but probably best as a complementary piece in this context.
(2) Potato Chips: Could have been a No. 1 seed, but sodium levels were a bit too high.
(15) Veggie Sticks: Good luck not getting blown out by chips.
(1) Cookies: There's so much variety that there's always something for everyone. And it's Girl Scout Cookie SZN.
(16) Cotton Candy: It's March Madness, not a carnival.
(8) Pastries: Go down to the bakery and grab a dozen or four. They're addicting, just watch the mass consumption.
(9) Animal Crackers: They're not just for your kid's lunch anymore. Seriously, parents know what's up.
(5) Sour Candy: Do you remember how many lemon Airheads you tried to fit in your mouth at once as a kid?
(12) Churros: A genuine favorite of the mid-major sweets. Throw some ice cream on it and you might have a 12-5 upset.
(4) Packaged Mini Cakes: Had some unexpected losses in the regular season, but this is a Final Four caliber snack.
(13) Vanilla Wafers: Probably not as great by themselves as they are on something like banana pudding.
(6) Marshmallow Rice Treats: Maybe the only snack that's just as fun to make as it is to eat.
(11) Pudding/Gelatin: This is going to make me sound 80 but: butterscotch pudding or get out.
(3) Fruit Snacks/Gummies: Like Animal Crackers, parents know the value of fruit snacks.
(14) Toaster Pastries: They're primarily for breakfast, but you ever just grab one out of the pantry at, like, 3 in the afternoon?
(7) Mini Donuts: These might not be good enough to make a Final Four run, but the Sweet 16 is a real possibility.
(10) Graham Crackers: What are you, 2 years old?
(2) Coated Chocolate Candy: Crunchy, sweet and can be consumed by the handful. They're dangerous.
(15) Ice/Fruit Pops: When the key ingredient is the color followed by a random number like 32, you know it's the good stuff.
SWEET REGIONAL: No. 2 Coated Chocolate Candy vs. No. 15 Ice/Fruit Pops— Cover 3 Podcast (@Cover3Podcast) March 20, 2019
(1) Trail Mix: A medley of texture, flavor and color. This is a strong No. 1 seed.
(16) Rice Cakes: I mean, do you like choking on dry snacks?
(8) Protein/Fiber Bars: You have to be careful. These aren't always as healthy as they claim.
(9) Oatmeal: If we're talking instant oatmeal, it shouldn't even be in the Healthy Region.
(5) Yogurt: What kind are we talking about here? Fruit? Or just plain yogurt?
(12) Pickles: I've never understood just eating a whole pickle, but people love 'em. A 12-5 upset possible here.
(4) Fruit and Berries: Look, they have natural sugars and they're good for you.
(13) Edamame: Throw some sea salt on those bad boys and go to town. Criminally under-seeded snack.
(6) Celery, Carrots and Dip: The dip offsets any of the health benefits of the veggies, which I guess is the point?
(11) Dried Peas/Snap Peas: Easy to eat and you can blow through a bunch of them quickly.
(3) Granola and Bars: Granola bars are good on the go, but especially legit with yogurt.
(14) Cucumber Slices: They're not the most flavorful unless you add salt, but they're actually good for you!
(7) Raisins and Dried Fruit: Chewy and sweet is a good combination.
(10): Olives: Never been a fan myself, but put 'em with a meat and cheese spread and you're in business.
(2) Nuts: There are so many different kinds, with varying flavors and levels of crunch. Hard to go wrong.
(15) Kale Chips/Seaweed: We're not quite at the point where this is a widely eaten snack.
(1) Fries, Tots, Rings: The No. 1 overall seed. No explanation needed.
(16) Cottage Cheese: Get out.
(8) Sunflower Seeds: Oddly addicting and even better when flavored.
(9) Muffins: Not a traditional snack, but name a person who doesn't like them?
(5) Jerky, Dried Meat: Salty, savory and portable. It's meat on the go!
(12) Hardboiled eggs: They taste great and would be seeded higher if they didn't smell like a sewer.
(4) Rolled Cold Cuts: Could you pound an entire tray of roast beef, ham and turkey? This snack is Elite 8 worthy.
(13) Applesauce: There's nothing wrong with applesauce, but ... it's applesauce. Going against meat.
(6) Shakes, Smoothies: When you're hungry and thirsty, this snack could make a Sweet 16 run.
(11) Bagel Chips: These have the crunch you crave and are perfect with dips and spreads. Is that enough to advance?
(3) Cheese: It comes in many forms: string, sliced and soft. It goes well with so many items, but it's great on its own.
(14) Dry Cereal and Bars: Another snack that's probably underrated, but this is a tough first-round matchup.
(7) Nut Butters: They're not great for you unless you go super organic, but eating a whole container in one sitting is possible.
(10) Instant Soup/Ramen: A great college snack, this one still holds weight once in a while.
(2) Pizza Rolls/Bagels: On one hand, they're an epic snack. On the other, their filling is hot lava. Near No. 1 seed.
(15) Espresso Beans: Not a conventional snack by any means, but good for something different.