Starch Madness: Complete Second Round Results

The second round of our tournament proved to be the last hurrah for some beloved and not so beloved brands. Wise? Done. Herr’s? Not here. Stacy’s? Hasn’t got it goin’ on. Utz? Didn’t even make it past the first round. Typical. Also, keep in mind that some flavors are completely wiped out, classics like salt & vinegar, or pizza. Now, we’re left with true competitors. Heartbreaking losses from Sun Chips Original and Cape Cod Salt & Vinegar rocked us to our core. When Lays BBQ – a Starch Madness staple – fell to the red-hot giant killers from Sun Chips Garden Salsa, one of our staffers dropped to his knees and screamed to the heavens, “NO! Not Big Black! It’s gone too soon!” Too soon, indeed. On to the results:

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1) Lays Original vs. 8. Kettle Fully Loaded Baked Potato

Lays Original wins 18-12

After a nail-biting finish to a hotly-contested match up, the original Lays dispatched the young, athletic bunch from Baked Potato State. This marks the 3rd time in as many years the original Lay’s has reached the Salty Sixteen and the fifth time in the last six. Whatever coach PepsiCo has been feeding to this Frito-Lay squad has been doing the trick. They’ve got a favorable match-up against Lays Honey BBQ next. – AP

4) Baked Ruffles Original vs. 5) Lays Honey BBQ

Lays Honey BBQ wins 15-13

In a close match between two flavors nobody really likes, Lays Honey BBQ won (wtf?), I guess. They say in every sporting event one team must win and one must lose, but I think they should have amended the rule in this case. On one hand, baked chips (there are more than one flavor of Baked Ruffels? What?) are the O’Doul’s of the chip world. Th  twelve year old brother at the Bar Mitzvah. The only guy singing soprano in the school concert: Not quite there yet. On the other hand, I want honey barbecue on my chicken wings or in my girlfriend’s navel, not on my chips. Not on Lays, of all chips, for Christ’s sake. I guess Lays wins, look out for them to get munched on in the next round. – NM

3) Lays Salt and Vinegar vs. 6) Cape Cod Mesquite BBQ

Cape Cod Mesquite BBQ wins 19-12

What an exciting matchup between two amazing chips, but I am completely satisfied with the result. Don’t get me wrong, Lays Salt & Vinegar are good chips, but Cape Cod Mesquite BBQ chips embody everything a chip should be. They’re crunchy and salty (without bragging about it, ahem – SALT & Vinegar), and they leave a film of artificial BBQ flavoring on your fingers after you eat them. Lays makes great chips, but their crunch factor just doesn’t matchup to that of Cape Cod. Overall, this was a well deserved win for Cape Cod Mesquite BBQ. – JS

2) Kettle Chips Original vs. 10) Baked Lays Sour Cream & Onion

Kettle Chips Original wins 16-4

Sheesh, talk about a neck-neck race. This match-up truly is a tough one: in their respective categories (kettle and baked/”healthy”—ew?) both these chip types are the winners. There’s nothing quite like Kettle Original, and the sour cream and onion taste actually makes eating Baked Lays a bearable, if not enjoyable, experience. In the end of the day, though, everything’s better when there’s oil involved, and the American public is well aware of this fact. So though Baked Lays SC&O can sometimes be good, I’d also reach for the Kettle chips. – MK

1) Doritos Nacho Cheese vs. 8. Ruffles Sour Cream & Onion

Doritos Nacho Cheese wins 24-6

You walk slowly along a dark, unfamiliar hallway. Something on the doors you pass cast shadows on your face, a dull glint from a light source that you cannot see catches your eye.  You are not sure why you are here, how you got here, or where you’re going, but you continue on through corridor after corridor of empty black solitude. The only thing you know is that you’re looking for something. That, and you’re high as fuck. You wander ever further into the deep abyss of the place that looks kind of like the third floor DRL, searching…searching…

A woman appears. She is holding something, a bag of some sort, crinkling in her grayed, wrinkled, deformed hands.  She slowly extends it to you. It’s a bag of Doritos. The Nacho Cheese fills your nostrils and you have no other option: you must take it. You reach deep into the bag and pull out a perfectly intact orange speckled triangle, the international symbol of the Munchies. It enters your mouth as the woman recedes into the shadows, and you are happy. And still high as fuck. This happens every time you eat Doritos. – NM

4) Ruffles Original vs. 5) Sun Chips Original

Ruffles Original wins 16-12

It’s really a shame that chips of this quality had to meet so early in the tournament, but hey, bracketology snacketology ain’t perfect.  Ruffles remained unruffled in the face of stiff, health-conscious competition, and now Sun Chips Original will have to sit on the sidelines and cheer on their vaguely Latino brethren, Sun Chips Garden Salsa. – RG

3) Lays BBQ vs. 11) Sun Chips Garden Salsa

Sun Chips Garden Salsa wins 14-12

I was encouraged to see that Sun Chips Garden Salsa came out with a strong victory over Lays BBQ this week.  With victories over a 6- and a 3- seed already this tournament, can the delicious 11-seed be this year’s Cinderella story?

I’d say they’re deserving.  Sun Chips have great texture to begin with, and when you add a sprinkle of spices that screams out ‘garden fresh’ as it dances upon your tongue, well that’s just a great combination.  The salsa isn’t over the top….it’s not as ‘in your uvula’ as salt and vinegar or sour cream and onion.  But like a soft breeze on a hot summer day or an ice cream sandwich during a full body massage, garden salsa adds a hint of flavor to make an already great experience into a perfect moment.

Sun Chips Garden Salsa, shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?  Well…I already did.  And I’d do it again.  They have a tough matchup next against Pringles Original, but if America listens to their tongue and not a strange mustached head on a can, I think SCGS can continue their magical run. – JL

2) Pringles vs. 7) Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips

Pringles wins 18-10

Stacy’s can I come over after school? You probably have some free time, since the entire brand has been wiped out of Starch Madness. Amazing that such a high-end chip can’t send one competitor to the Salty Sixteen, and this shows the influence of the proletariat on the consumption of our dear chips. Pringles are a child’s chip. Well I’m not the little boy that I used to be. I’m all grown up now, Stacy’s can’t you see? – SP

1) Tostitos Original vs. 8. Lays Kettle Cooked Mesquite BBQ

Tostitos Original wins 20-10

The BBQ conference was laying their own occupy movement in the second round, but it’s going to take a lot more flavor power to topple Starch Madness behemoth Tostitos Original.  Not to mention “mesquite” sounds like a baby sneezing.  But seriously, Tortilla chips are kind of like the original chip.  People have been crushing corn into crunchy wedges ever since cavemen learned you couldn’t eat fire.  It’s also a tremendous step for the tournament’s foreign representatives, since Mexico hasn’t won anything since the Spanish-American War.  We look forward to experiencing other sacred, Mexican traditions, like “Taco Bell,” big floppy hats, and cocaine. – SK

4) Lays Sour Cream & Onion vs. 5) Wise Honey BBQ

Lays Sour Cream & Onion wins 17-9

Okay so here’s the thing: Lays Sour Cream & Onion are probably better than other chip (or fake chip, wtf Bugles) on this bracket. They manage to hold on to the classic Lays flavor while infusing the light and salty zest of sour cream and onions and leave just the right amount of powder for finger licking. Further, “Honey BBQ” as a chip variety is always a bit more disconcerting than its “Mesquite BBQ” counterpart. And honestly Wise Honey BBQ chips just don’t take good. They just don’t. When it comes down to potato chips and three letters, SC&O simply owns BBQ. – MK

3) Kettle BBQ vs. 11) Kettle Sea Salt and Vinegar

Kettle BBQ wins 15-9

In the 251st installment of the Battle of Kettle, the BBQ’s if western Kettle tested their mettle against the Sea Salt & Vinegar from the coastal Kettle. They meddled with SS&V’s plan for a salty sixteen birth, becoming quite a nettle as one could say. Kettle. – AP

2) Baked Lays Original vs. 10) Bugles Caramel

Baked Lays Original wins 22-6

Some of Punch Bowl’s more developed chip enthusiasts have been strong proponents for including the “Dessert Chip,” which is about as oxymoronic as “post-racial America” and “sexy Punch Bowler.”  So even if you believe there’s a place in this tournament for caramel-flavored snacks, there’s karmic satisfaction in seeing a chip mainstay trample this sugary newcomer.  This is also the last of the Bugles conference.  We’ll honor their loss with a mournful tune on a…you guessed it…bugle.  Hey, we don’t get paid to write this stuff. – SK

1) Doritos Cool Ranch vs. 8. Fritos Original

Doritos Cool Ranch wins 24-12

Honestly, I don’t think Fritos should have even made it this far.  Last round, Fritos beat a very good chip in Kettle Sour Cream and Onion, and the fact that they’re in the second round while Sun Chips Jalapeno Jack is languishing in obscurity really grinds my gears.  Fritos are the Albuquerque of chips.  They’re dry, boring, and have a unique talent for giving you cottonmouth even if you haven’t been smoking weed.  Also, Fritos are so brittle that it’s nearly impossible to tell if they’re stale or not.  Thank you, Doritos Cool Ranch, for sending Fritos back to the cardboard mines from whence they came. – RG

4) Baked Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream vs. 5) Cape Cod Salt and Vinegar

Baked Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream wins 17-13

Talk about a diverse matchup. On the one hand, you have Cape Cod Salt and Vinegar, favorite of New Englanders with their Nantucket picnics and their lobstah dinnahs. The Cape Cod league is also known for bringing a lot of crunch, and CCSV did not disappoint. On the other hand, though, we have Baked Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream, the jack-of-all-trades. It’s got cheesy goodness, it’s got ridges, it’s crunchy but not too crunchy, and it appeals to everyone from the video game addict in a darkened basement to the business professional enjoying a free lunch. When push came to shove, though, Baked Ruffles CSC showed that it’s the better of these two deserving chips with a clutch 4 point win. – Pips

3) Cape Cod Original vs. 11) Stacy’s Naked Bagel Chips

Cape Cod Original wins 17-13

This was an amazing and well-deserved comeback. Cape Cod Original had been losing to Stacy’s Naked Bagel Chips, (which should be renamed Stacy’s No-Flavor Hard as Rocks Chips), and after some campaigning, they were tied. Then in a brilliant comeback, Cape Cod pulled through to win. I’m cheering for Cape Cod Original to sweep the Championchip. Cape Cod Original is the hands-down the best potato chip, it is not too salty and its surprising shapes and folds give it extra crunchiness. Plus, they’re made in Cape Cod, and as we all know, Massachusetts is the best state. GO RED SOX. – KS

2) Baked Lays BBQ vs. 10) Herr’s Original

Baked Lays BBQ wins 21-6

The strongest BBQ chip in the bracket wins easily against Herr’s Original, henceforth known as The Great Bugle Slayer. Baked Lays BBQ looks poised for a slugfest against Cape Cod Original, and if we’ve learned anything about competitors from Boston, it’s that it occasionally takes them 86 years to win something. – SP

Polls for the Salty Sixteen end on 3/24 at

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