The greatest hour of the day is a moving target.  It’s impossible to pin down.

  • When you’re a twelve year old kid, it’s definitely between 3 p.m. – 4 p.m., when you’re on the way home from school and making the girls on your bus smell some farts.
  • When you’re a single guy in your early twenties, the 11 p.m. – Midnight hour is the best, because you’re probably three shots of Jager in, Colin just played some Haim on the juke, and you just locked eyes with that Mary Kate or Ashley across the room who is DTDS[ref]Down To Do Stuff OR Down To Do Sex OR Down To Draw Something[/ref].
  • If you’re a married guy in your thirties, it’s got to be 5 p.m. – 6 p.m., when you’ve just finished working and you can crack that first ice cold beer and watch a little “SportsCenter” before the wife gets home.
  • Unless you work the night shift, in which case you probably love the seven-eight time slot.  Or you are a bartender and love the 2-3 a.m. spot because that’s when you get to stop dealing with drunks.
  • But you probably hate that 3 a.m. spot if you’re Rob Thomas. He must be lonely.

So clearly we can’t quantify the best hour of the day for every person in the world, so this sweet sixteen comes with two caveats:

1) It’s my bracket.  Don’t like the decisions? Write your own weird sweet sixteen column breaking down the hours in the day on a blog read by literally dozens of people.

2) We’re running this tourney through an 8:30-5:00 Eastern Time, Monday thru Friday looking glass. If you don’t work that schedule, adjust accordingly.  If you don’t work a schedule at all, congratulations on being still in school and in the prime of your life. EVERY HOUR OF YOUR DAY WINS THIS SWEET SIXTEEN. Stop reading this, go out, have a drink, smoke some dope, meet someone of the opposite sex, and do something reckless.  LEARN FROM ME I AM TOO OLD MY WORST DAYS ARE BEHIND ME THIS PIECE HAS TAKEN A DARK TURN AND I HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN TO THE BRACKETS YET.

                                                                        AM Region                                                                      

#1 10 a.m. -11 a.m. vs. #4 7 a.m. – 8 a.m

Well this is an easy start. Sorry Mt. St. Mary’s, AKA the hour when my alarm rings every weekday morning, you never had a chance against the time when I’m making an ill-fated weekend attempt at morning sex with the wife which will be turned down, but might end up with her bringing me a cup of coffee and making egg sandwiches.

WINNER: 

10am

#2 9 a.m.. – 10 a.m. vs. #3 6 a.m. – 7 a.m.

UPSET ALERT!  Have you ever been awake super early and worked out before you start your day?  IT IS EXHILARATING. Plus you can walk around all day, smugly thinking to yourself how much better than everyone you are. AS A MATTER OF FACT TOM, I WILL HAVE THAT CHOCOLATE CROISSANT, I WENT TO THE GYM THIS MORNING. OH PIZZA TODAY?  NO BIG DEAL, I ALREADY RAN FIVE KAYS.

WINNER: 6 a.m. – 7 a.m.

6am

Semis: #3 6 a.m. – 7 a.m. vs #1 10 a.m. -11 a.m.

I almost gave this win to 6 a.m. – 7 a.m. simply because of the way you feel when you wake up early. THERE IS SO MUCH DAY LEFT. Want to have a leisurely breakfast?  You’ve got time.  Want to read stupid bracket posts on Bro Jackson? Don’t worry about it.  You’ve got time.  Want to catch four stories about poor Chip Kelly decisions in the middle of the offseason? Get after it. It’s got to be 6 a.m., right?

Oh, but wait.

Getting up early sucks. Sleeping late rules. You can’t have brunch at 6 a.m., it’s got to be breakfast, and you can’t have mimosas with your breakfast, only with your brunch.  We can’t have an hour in the Final Four where you’re not drinking.

AM Region Winner: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

10am

 

                                                                  After Work Region                                                              

#1 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. vs #4 8 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Instead of extolling the virtue of the #1 seed, let’s talk about why 8-9 won’t win:

  1. Want to see a movie? You’re out of luck. They start at 7:20 or 9:10.
  2. Want to watch a quality TV show?  Better hope it’s streaming, because all the good stuff is on at 9 or 10 (please note: If you live in the Central Time Zone, ignore this point and move on to the next matchup.)
  3. You’re already starting to think about when you’re going to bed.

Honestly, 8-9 isn’t that bad.  But it’s in trouble. 5pm-6pm IS LITERALLY REFERRED TO AS HAPPY HOUR.

WINNER: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

5pm1

#2 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. vs #3 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Quick, let’s play “Family Feud”: When’s the best time to make a dinner reservation?

If you said anytime other than 7:30, you’re either lying, or from New York. Eating at 6? Did you click through to this blog from your grandson’s facebook? I’ll assume you commented: “Very funny. I saw Aunt Judy last week. LOVE, GRANDMA.” Get out of here. If I told you I was starring in a new TV show, and it was starting at 6:30 on Tuesdays, you would look at me quizzically? Because that time slot doesn’t exist. What time’s the game starting tonight? What time’s the movie? When are we going to dinner? What’s my favorite Dave Matthews Band song? What’s the best Brad Pitt movie? What number does Monica Geller use as a euphemism for her vagina? You know the answer: SEVEN.

WINNER: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

7pm1

Semis: #1 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. vs. #2 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

Dude, come on. One of them is happy hour. One of them is when the Seinfeld reruns are on. Great matchup, but the bar down the street has $2 well drinks from 5-6, and they’re $4 after 7PM. THAT’S DOUBLE THE FUCKING PRICE.

After Work Region Winner: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

5pm

                                                                Going Out Region                                                                

#1 10 p.m. – 11 p.m. vs. #4 1 a.m. – 2 a.m.

There is nobody that hates the #1 seed here; if you’re taking it easy tonight, between 10-11 is when you pop on that “Winding Down” Spotify playlist. If you’re going out, between 10-11 is when you’re sitting around your buddy’s apartment, drinking beer and playing video games / watching sports (if you’re a guy) or doing your makeup, drinking sangria, and singing Katy Perry into hairbrushes (if you’re a girl in a rom-com). The west coast games are starting, the dramas with adult themes are on, it’s prime time for a nightcap. It’s is a good time.

Meanwhile, 1 a.m. -2 a.m. is a good time too, but it comes with some darkness. The bars are about to close, and you’re probably drunk, but still: THE BAR IS ABOUT TO CLOSE.  That is a terrible sentence to write in all caps, and it’s also a terrible thought.  The beginning of the night is always better than the end of the night.  Between 10PM-11PM is hope, and between 1AM-2AM is stark reality.

WINNER: 10 p.m. – 11 p.m. 

10pm

#2 11 p.m. -Midnight vs. #3 Midnight-1 a.m.

Ask Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno who wins this matchup.  Let’s move on.

WINNER:11 p.m. – Midnight 

11pm

#1 10 p.m. – 11 p.m. vs. #2 11 p.m. – Midnight

This is really tough. Both of these hours are terrific in a vacuum. They’re really fun when you’re going out, and probably the time you’re getting some action if you’re not. So I can’t decide. So let’s get some help, and turn it over to the person who raised me. Oh, you thought I would be asking my mom? Nope. It’s all about what’s on TV. What’s on TV at 10?  Terrific cable dramas, Cult Comedy Central / IFC / Fuse shows, and “Big Bang Theory” reruns. 11pm? “The Tonight Show!” Letterman! Kimmel! “Saturday Night Live!” “The Daily Show!” Colbert! Larry Wilmore! Actually, ignore that last one.

Winner: Going Out Region: 11 p.m. -Midnight

tonight show

                                                                Randoms Region                                                                

#1 Noon – 1 p.m.  vs #4 3 a.m. – 4 a.m.

In the high corner, you’ve got lunch time. It’s the break you get during your work day, and it’s the time to which you look forward all morning. When you look at your watch and it’s 12:30, you know you’re on the down slope of the workday mountain. It’s all just killing time until Happy Hour, baby.

In the other corner, you’ve got 3 a.m. – 4 a.m. Guess what? If things are happening between 3 a.m. – 4 a.m., then your night HAS BEEN CRAZY. Some shit went down. Tommy punched that guy! Big Sean made out with that girl who looks like Anthony Anderson! Laura took three jell-o shots and went home with a guy has a tattoo on his chest that says Freebird!  If you’re still awake at 3 a.m., you’re either at a 4 a.m. bar, or you’re eating something terrible for you. Nothing tastes better than drunk food. I ate a bowl of steamed vegetables a couple of night ago while I was drunk and it was TREMENDOUS.

In either hour, you’re eating something, but it’s going to be so much more delicious in the middle of the night than it would be in the middle of your workday.

WINNER: (unless you’re Rob Thomas, see above)

3am

#2 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. vs. #3 5 a.m. – 6 a.m.

So, 5 a.m. – 6 a.m. is just a later version of 3 a.m. -4 a.m. (Some SERIOUS crazy shit happened last night if you’re still awake at 5 a.m.) Alternately ow smug are you allowed to be at work if you got up AT FIVE IN THE MORNING to work out? That’s like Garfield-level smugness. If you did curls at 5:30 in the morning, you’re fucking Smuggsy Bogues at work).  5 a.m. – 6 a.m. is a good hour, and they’ve got a real chance to—wait, what’s that? Football starts at 1 p.m.?

WINNER: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. 

1pm

#2 1 p.m. -2 p.m. vs #4 3 a.m. – 4 a.m.

Crazy breakfast food at a diner vs. Football.  3 a.m. – 4 a.m., you put up a great fight, but you’re Manhattan / Hampton up against Kentucky. Great job. Great effort. Congrats on getting here, but let’s be real.  IT’S FOOTBALL.  I just read a 3,000 word article on Grantland about THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS and it’s MARCH. Football dominates all.

Randoms Region Winner: #2 Seed 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

jags

                                                                The Final Four                                                               

10am     VS     brady__1

Great matchup.  I love sleeping late, I love brunch, I love morning sex, I LOVE MIMOSAS, but in the other corner, you have football.  10 a.m. – 11 a.m. is terrific on the weekends, but there is a lot of workday left at 10 a.m.  When I look at my watch and it’s 10:30, I sigh. When it’s 1:30, there’s only four hours left of work! Only two more hours of real work before I start winding down mentally and looking at cat gifs on my phone! Plus, 1 p.m. -2 p.m. had the advantage of being the best hour of the entire year. If you’re reading this, and 1:05 on the first NFL Sunday isn’t the highlight of your year, when all your fantasy teams are going to win championships and the Panthers are going to go 16-0, then I don’t want to be your friend.  That is truly one shining moment

WINNER: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

newton

 

#1 Seed 5PM-6PM vs. #2 Seed 11PM-Midnight

5pm     VS     tonight show

This is the best matchup of the entire tourney thus far: It’s Duke-Carolina. It’s Ohio State-Michigan. It’s Kentucky-Sophomore Seasons. Both of these hours are tremendous.

One is happy hour, the other is LATE NIGHT happy hour. One is when you’re done working, the other is when you’re done being awake. And if you’re not done being awake, it’s the hour when you’re making bad decisions at a bar. It’s also when all the seminal TV moments are happening. You’re not catching up on a three-minute clip of “Modern Family” tomorrow when you look at your phone in the morning. It’s a Fallon Lip Sync Battle, or the second installment of Riblet, or Larry Wilmore handing a tea bag to one of his hilarious guests. Well, it’s two out of those three. But come on, you guys.  Is there a better moment of the week than 5 p.m. on Friday? Seriously?

WINNER: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

5pm

 

                   FINALS: #1 Seed 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. vs. #2 Seed 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.                          

Happy Hour vs. Football

Is this the greatest matchup of all time? If it were just Happy Hour vs. Football, it absolutely would be. But the reality is, there are seven days in the week, and there’s only one day when 1 p.m. means football. 1 p.m. -2 p.m. on Sunday is the best hour of the week for twenty weeks, but I think it’s clear who is the best hour of the day, each and every day. It’s the hour where it’s socially acceptable to drink, the hour where you can confidently not return emails, the hour which is at all times happiest. It’s not “It’s One O’Clock Somewhere”.  It’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.” And that somewhere is in the trophy case.

TOURNAMENT WINNER: 

5pm