Crunch Madness Preview: The Candy Region


Jack Hoover

An arrangement of chocolate candies. Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil.

Usually when March rolls around, people across the country can be seen taking quick breaks from school and work to see how their favorite competitors are doing. Experts discuss at length whether the committee got it right when deciding who made the tournament and who didn’t make the cut. And millions fill out their brackets in the hopes that this year they can get the perfect bracket—or at the very least finally beat the grandparent who fills theirs out by flipping a coin.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the country and the world, however, it seemed that this March would be bracket-less … until MavRadio entered the picture.

“In the true spirit of bracket season, our staff is filling the void of no Big Dance by deciding the best snack ever!!” MavRadio tweeted on March 23, announcing the Crunch Madness tournament, a bracket with crunchy competition and bold flavor like we’ve never seen.

The competition is ready to start, and voters are taking to Twitter and Instagram to root for their teams. It’s time to take a deep dive into all the snacks that made the field and see who’s got the best chance of making it to the Final Four this year.

This is Crunch Madness.

There’s been much debate over the seeding of the teams in the Candy region. Many raised their voice in outcry about which snacks were deserving of the tops seeds and after looking at the seeding’s, it seems the committee’s pickings are easy to argue against. I mean, just look at how low Kit Kats are.

For better or worse, in the top spot of the Candy Region is the No. 1 seed Snickers. Some argue whether it deserved the top overall spot, but there is no doubt that Snickers is still within the top tier of candy. After all, as they say: “Snickers satisfies.” Satisfying only a few people is the No. 16 seed Gummy Bears. The undoing of Gummy Bears might be a lack of leadership.  A number of brands such Haribo, Black Forest, Brach’s and others have staked a claim as the best brand of gummy bear, but none have yet won out.

The question on everybody’s mind was how No. 8 seed Kit Kat was seeded so low this year. As a snack that’s been strong all year round, Kit Kat fans were left shocked to find out their snack of choice was seeded at the No. 8 position. Expect this to be one of the more lopsided 8/9 matchups in the tournament this year, as on paper, the No. 9 seed Sour Patch Kids just aren’t in the same league here.

There are those that argue that the No. 5 seed Skittles just hasn’t been the same snack since the Lime flavor was dismissed for disciplinary reasons and replaced with Green Apple. Make no mistake though, however weak Skittles may be at the Green position, they still pack an almost unbeatable punch for every other color. The No. 12 seed Payday, a snack that holds no surprises and barely any flavor, could be easily overwhelmed here.

The No. 4 seed Hershey’s is just a bar of chocolate. That’s it. The No. 13 seed Crunch Bar is a bar of chocolate with crisped rice in it. More isn’t always better though. No one does the fundamentals as well as Hershey’s, so they’ll likely advance.

When the makers of the No. 6 seed Twix and the No. 11 seed 3 Musketeers were deciding what would be a good item to encase in chocolate, one thought of caramel and cookies while the other thought of nougat. Caramel and cookies comes out on top every time.

The upset special of the tournament could happen in the Candy Region, as the No. 3 seed M&M’s look to be a dangerously overrated snack. Yes, this snack is adaptable, as it comes in a variety of different flavors. And yes, this snack is tiny and easy to eat. But it is a fact that this snack melts under pressure, and before you know it, you have a rainbow-colored mess on your hands. The pressure of Crunch Madness could get to M&M’s this year, so don’t be surprised if the No. 14 seed Twizzlers takes this one in an upset.

In nearly all of the Candy Region matchups this year, there is a prevalent theme of chocolate candy versus fruity candy. As what might seem to be a slight on fruity candy, nearly every chocolate candy is the higher seed when the two types matchup, except this one: No. 7 Starbursts versus No. 10 Milky Way. An upset of Starbursts by an un-favored Milk Way will only give more fuel to the fire for detractors of fruity candy.

What more is there to say about the No. 2 seed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Whether you pronounce it Reese’s or Reese’s, the facts remain the same: This is a title contending candy that possesses a superb – nay – perfect, blend of chocolate and peanut butter. It’s hard not to like Reese’s chances of going far in this tournament and it’s equally hard to like No. 15 seed Jolly Rancher’s chances of pulling the upset here.