Crunch Madness Preview: The Cookies/Cakes Region


Jack Hoover

A platter of cookies. Photo courtesy of 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.

Parity reigns supreme in the Cookies/Cakes region this year, as a case for any of these snacks advancing out of the region could be made. If a double-digit seed is to make a deep run this year, look for it to come from one of these snacks on this side of the bracket.

In pole position in this region sits the No. 1 seed Oreos, a snack that is often imitated, never duplicated. Many cookies have tried to copy the flow of the Oreo over the years, but none can match the sweet combinations of cookie and creme that Oreo seems to have perfected. Their first round matchup, No. 16 seed Grandma’s Cookies, doesn’t stand a chance here.

The No. 8 seed Zebra Cakes and No. 9 seed Cosmic Brownies are two opponents that are quite familiar with each other and their respective style differences. This meeting will serve as a rubber match between the two, as both snacks traded off wins during the course of Little Debbie conference play.

Sleek, smooth, good mouthfeel. These are all terms have all been used to describe the No. 5 seed Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookie. An elegant cookie that uses finesse to get the job done, Chewy Chips Ahoy will look to dispatch with ease the more awkward and clumsy (and ridiculously named) No. 12 seed Ding Dongs. 

If Chewy Chips Ahoy is an elegant and sleek cookie, then the No. 4 Seed Crunchy Chips Ahoy is everything that it’s not. This is a snack that will beat up and wear down the opposition without remorse. It’s impossible to eat this cookie without making obnoxious, loud crunching noises. Nothing about this cookie is quiet or discreet, and that is its’ biggest strength. But don’t expect the No. 13 seed Thin Mints to be too intimidated, however. This is a cookie that many argue is criminally under seeded. Thin Mints radiate cool, refreshing energy and that could prove to be more than a match for Crunchy Chips Ahoy.

The No. 6 seed Oatmeal Cream Pies is a snack that packs in the nostalgia. As the original founding member of the Little Debbie Conference, there’s no denying the storied history that this snack possesses. Ask your grandpa about how Oatmeal Cream Pies used to be back in the day, and he’ll have a story too. While there are few that can match the history of Oatmeal Cream Pies, the No. 11 seed Fudge Striped Cookies come close. As long as most can remember, those rambunctious Keebler elves have been painting those tasty stripes on to these cookies. This is a battle of old timers, so the winner will be whoever has the energy to finish strong.

The No. 7 seed Twinkies is a snack that won’t beat you in a sprint, but will surely overcome you in a marathon. Famed for its long shelf-life and claims that that it could survive a nuclear war (no one has tested this yet), the Twinkie is a snack that looks to advance merely by outlasting all challengers. This time, Twinkies will look to outlast the No. 14 seed Famous Amos. While the creation of Wallace “Wally” Amos is no doubt a solid cookie, it’ll be a hard task for them to upset Twinkies here.

In the next game, the No. 7 seed Honey Buns will take on the No. 10 seed Star Crunch. I’ll admit, Star Crunch may be the only snack in this field, but I’ve never eaten one—and maybe there’s a reason for that. So while Honey Buns may be sticky and make you feel like someone has taken an industrial laminator to the inside of your mouth after you’ve eaten them, it has to be Honey Buns that come out on top here.

As it is for many of the teams coming out of the Big Hostess Conference, don’t let silly names distract you here. The No. 2 seed Ho Ho’s is a true contender in this tournament. Largely unchanged since it’s invention in the 1920s, the Ho Ho has found a formula that works and sticks to it. Trying for the upset this year will be the No. 15 seed Caramel Delights, a snack that is one of strongest in the Girl Scout Cookie Conference, but still might find it hard to go up against those established, big-time snacks.