Meet Michigan’s prep football bracketologist

By: Zachary Manning | C&G Newspapers | Published November 2, 2018

During college basketball season, Joe Lunardi’s bracketology is a hot topic of discussion for college basketball fans around the country.

It creates a debate about who’s in, who’s out and who’s on the bubble. He appears on multiple ESPN shows to discuss his bracket and why certain teams are where they are.

Mike — who preferred to use only his first name and is more commonly known as Snooze — has taken a similar approach to Michigan high school football. He calls it “Mapetology.” is a website that fans, coaches and players can use to track where their favorite team might land in the Michigan high school football playoffs.

Mapetology provides a snapshot of where teams stand in terms of making the playoffs, insight on where the division breakpoints will end up, and a look at some of the teams that could meet in the playoffs. Snooze begins posting his brackets after Week 3 and continues all season until the official brackets are released.

“I love high school football, and I’ve always liked maps, tournament brackets and programming. It’s really a perfect hobby for me,” said Snooze, who is based out of Grand Rapids.

Snooze’s hobby has taken up a lot of his time. He is a senior software engineer by day and a football bracketologist by night. He started the website in 2006. However, he’s not alone in this process.

Jim Martin, a Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame statistician, helps verify data from the Michigan High School Athletic Association website to select the proper number of teams from each class and which specific teams to put in each division.

After Snooze gets all of his teams into a map, he sends it over to Adam Pavlik, who is his “map proofer.” They discuss the entire bracket for each division and eventually come up with a final product that goes up on the site.

“Adam has a law degree and is very good at making me defend the choices I’ve made on my maps, and he often suggests possible changes. We discuss the pros and cons of each scenario to hone in on the final pairings to be posted to the website,” Snooze said.

Once the map is posted, the questions begin to roll in, especially later in the season. He hears from coaches, fans and players, and tries his best to answer as many questions as possible.

It takes six wins in a nine-game schedule to get a guaranteed playoff spot, but at times, teams with five wins earn a bid based on playoff points and the number of six-win teams.

Snooze said one of the most common questions he gets is about coaches wanting to know if their five wins will be enough.

He said that he has been 100 percent correct on which teams make the postseason when he posts his Week 9 bracket before the MHSAA releases its official playoff field.

Snooze noted that his brackets aren’t meant to be an exact prediction of the MHSAA playoff matchups, but instead how he would match them up based on points and proximity.

“Sometimes, they are exactly the same. Most often, they are slightly different. Occasionally, they are quite different. Some people consider my pairings wrong when they don’t match MHSAA’s pairings, and that’s OK with me,” Snooze said. “In some cases, I look at a map of their pairings next to mine and admit they’ve done a better job. More often, I think my pairings would save on overall travel.”

Coaches from across the state appreciate what he does for the sport.

Madison Heights Bishop Foley coach Brian Barnes said the prognosticating brings excitement to Michigan high school football and that Snooze’s work should be applauded.

“I have been checking his site out since he started it. Coaches talk, because it’s nice to get a general idea of the potential teams we would play and then float ideas off each other,” Barnes said.

Snooze never imagined his website and social media accounts would reach such a big audience. His Twitter account, @Snooze2you, has more than 5,000 followers.

He is appreciative of everyone that supports his work, and he plans to continue in the future.

As of right now, he is happy doing what he has been doing and has no plans to expand into other sports or states.

“Growing the brand has never really been a main goal. Providing useful, accurate, quality content has been the goal, and I think that has led to a growing network and a recognizable, respected brand,” he said. “Many folks ‘leak’ the playoff field well before I do on the final night of regular season. But I hear from lots of people that they won’t believe it until they see their school on my Week 9 map. That means a lot to me.”