University College Bowl team wins title

by Jake Grovum

While many students prepared for final exams, the University’s College Bowl team won a national championship.

The University of Southern California hosted the College Bowl National Championship in Los Angeles.


ï Its purchase price in 1626 was about $1 for each of its 24 square miles. Today its worth exceeds $40 billion, though no one can buy it in its entirety. For 10 points, what is this northeastern U.S. island the Algonquin Indians sold to Peter Minuit?
ANSWER: Manhattan Island

ïAs far as we know, every visitor to this town’s July 4th festival in 2004 was an Earthling, but you never know, as it celebrated the alleged 1947 landing of an alien spacecraft there. For 10 points, what is this town in New Mexico?
ANSWER: Roswell, N.M.

ï It’s actually the title of a play – later a movie – in which the lives of a rich white couple are changed by a young African-American claiming to be the son of Sidney Poitier. But it’s caught on as a catchphrase about how any two people on earth can be linked in less than seven steps. For 10 points name it.
ANSWER: “Six Degrees of Separation”

ï They typically appear in pairs with opposite polarities, but both in the same solar hemisphere. For 10 points, what name is given to these visible manifestations of solar magnetic storms?
ANSWER: Sun spots

ï It’s the usual word spoken when answering a phone in Italy and, in Italian, means “ready.” English, however has borrowed the same word from Spanish with the meaning of “at once” or “immediately.” For 10 points, what is this six-letter, two-syllable word?
ANSWER: Pronto

A question and answer game, College Bowl challenges participants to answer questions ranging from literature, history and science to current events, sports and popular culture.

This season, the University’s five-member team won its third national title in four years after finishing fourth in the nation last year.

First-year student Andrew Hart said the format of this particular tournament can be especially challenging.

“With College Bowl, you can pretty much not really ever expect to have any idea where the clues are going to be. It seems random at times, which makes it frustrating,” Hart said.

The team qualified for the national championship by topping other universities in its region, which includes schools from Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.

History and political science senior and team captain Andrew Bockover said he wasn’t worried about making it to nationals.

“I think this is one of the best teams we’ve had in my three years here, so I was pretty confident going in,” he said.

After competing in the 16-team first round of nationals, the University had a 12-3 record, losing to the University of Southern California, the University of Washington and Williams College. All three schools would later join the University in the double-elimination playoff round to decide the championship.

The University’s College Bowl team started its playoff round against Baylor University, winning 380-235 while the team from USC won its game 385- 135.


u Each game lasts 16 minutes: two halves, eight minutes each.
ï Each half is begun by the moderator reading a toss-up question.
ï The player must signal and be recognized and answer immediately after being recognized.
ï Once the question is complete the players are given three seconds to signal and must answer immediately once recognized.
ï If the answer is wrong, the question goes to the other team.
ï If answer is correct, the team gets the chance to answer a bonus question.
ï If a player interrupts the question and answers incorrectly that team is penalized 5 points.
ï If a player confers with a teammate on a toss-up question, the answer is disqualified, even if correct.
ï On bonus questions all team members should confer; if there are conflicting answers, the captain must speak for the team.

The first round of the finals brought a rematch against USC, in which the University fell 357-220. Due to the double-elimination format, the University faced USC for the third time that weekend in a battle for the championship.

The University won the final game of the tournament 330-295.

Ecology, evolution and behavior graduate student Ezra Lyon said the first game against USC was challenging, but they were able to bounce back and win the championship.

“They trounced us in the first game,” Lyon said. “The second game was a really good game, it was back and forth, back and forth, and we ended up winning.”

Lyon was named to the tournament’s All-Star Team and was the fourth-leading scorer in the tournament.

“I’ve been doing this for a while, so I sort of expected it, but it was still great fun,” Lyon said.

Bockover said the excitement of the final rematch with USC brought out the best College Bowl has to offer.

“It was a great game just as far as the level of playing and excitement,” he said. “If you’re into this kind of thing, it’s just like watching any other sporting event.”

In the past 25 seasons, the University’s team has failed to qualify for nationals just six times, equal to the number of national titles it has won since the 1981-1982 season.

The University won eight straight games – a season high – in the inaugural College Bowl National Championship, then known as the televised “College Quiz Bowl” in 1953-1954. Tom Clayton, now a University English professor, captained that team.

Tom Michael, program director for the College Bowl Company, said this year’s title is the latest addition to the University’s College Bowl winning tradition.

“Minnesota has probably the longest tradition of success in College Bowl,” he said. “Minnesota has just had a pretty good run of success every decade ever since.”