Crunch Madness Preview: The Chip Region


Jack Hoover

An arrangement of chips. Photo courtesy of Evan Amos/Wikimedia Commons.

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.

Take one glance at the Chips Region, and it’s clear to see that there is a big gulf in class between the top teams in the region versus those at the bottom.

At the top of this region sits the bluest of the blue blood snacks, the No. 1 seed Lay’s Original. With both longevity and brand recognition to its name, the experts predict that Lay’s Original stands every chance of being crowned champion at the end of it all, with the only knock against them being their well known, classic style of play might become too predictable to opponents. That being said, don’t expect the No. 16 seed Veggie Straws, who some are accusing of being “the healthiest snack in entire tournament,” to create any surprises here.

Vying for the right to more than likely take on Lays Original in the Round of 32 is the No. 8 seed Lays Sour Cream and Onion and No. 9 seed Ruffles Cheddar/Sour Cream. Expect this one to be close until the very end, as both snacks’ biggest strength is their sour cream flavor. This uniformity in taste could make it difficult for one snack to take a clear advantage over the other.

The No. 5 seed Funyuns will be in for a tough fight in their matchup, as they will have to put up with a combined effort from all the collective flavors of the No. 10 seed SunChips. Sunchips boasts a variety of flavors including, but not limited to, Harvest Cheddar, French Onion and Garden Salsa. Funyuns, which only boasts two flavors in production at the moment, Original and Flamin’ Hot, will have to prove that quality beats quantity.

Yet another snack making the tournament out of the LAYS Conference this season, the No. 4 seed Lays BBQis looking to make their mark this year. In their way is the No. 13 seed Rold Gold Pretzels. Known for being a popular snack of choice while drinking a beer or watching a sports game, Rold Gold looks to be a snack that’s built for March.

As another example of the difference in skill level between the two snacks on this side of the bracket is the No. 6 Crunchy Cheetos face off against the No. 11 seed Gardettos. Simply expect Crunchy Cheetos to crush Gardettos here. Who picks Gardettos as their favorite snack anyway? No one, that’s who.

Cooler than the other side of the pillow, the No. 3 seed Cool Ranch Doritos is a snack with a certain swagger. Perhaps it’s the smart, blue packaging or the way they manage to make tortilla chips seem hip. Either way, it seems clear that the Cool Ranch Doritos possess the“it factor” that could take them far. So while the No. 14 seed Pizza Pringles might be an up-and-comer in the chip game, they’ll have a tough time getting by Cool Ranch Doritos.

Often the last bag to go when selecting chips from a Frito Lay Classic Mix Chips Variety assortment (you know the kind), the No. 7 seed Fritos are far from the most popular chips in the competition. Considered a bad first option for a snack, but a solid back up, don’t be surprised if they struggle against the No. 10 seed Chester’s Hot Fries, a snack that has all the makings of a true dark horse.

In a match up that could be closer than many people expect, the No. 2 Nacho Cheese Doritos will take on the No. 15 seed Taki’s. Nacho Cheese Doritos will have hopes of going far, and many fans are excited at the possibility of a mouth-watering meetup in the Elite Eight between them and Lays. But standing in their way first is Taki’s, a snack that will be fueled by the disrespect of being seeded so low.

Check back in soon for an in-depth analysis of the other regions in the bracket.