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Four teams to square off in College Bowl

Amanda Michaels | Thursday, January 29, 2004

Four teams will square off tonight in semi-final and final rounds of the competition which will decide who will represent Notre Dame in the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Region 9 College Bowl tournament on Feb. 21 at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

Touted as “the Varsity Sport of the Mind,” the College Bowl originated as a radio show in 1953, and is now the world’s longest-running general knowledge competition. Similar to Jeopardy, the College Bowl pits two teams of four students against each other, questioning them on a broad range of topics.

Notre Dame joined the tournament in 1958, beating Georgetown 230-110. Though play has been sporadic since then, Notre Dame has made a name for itself in the competition over the past five years and consistently ranked in the regional tournament, said Matthew Biergans, operations manager of LaFortune. Last year, the team placed first at regionals and ranked ninth of fifteen in the national competition.

The competition itself consists of two seven-minute rounds divided by a brief intermission. There are two types of questions provided by the ACUI: “Toss-up” questions, which are addressed to both teams, and bonus questions, which are asked exclusively to the team that gets the “toss-up” right. Answering a “toss-up” question is worth 10 points, while bonus questions can earn the team a varying number of points, generally 20-30, said Biergans. As with most quiz tournaments, the team with the most points at the end of the two rounds wins.

Nineteen teams were originally in contention this year for the chance to go to regionals, but only four remain: “Alex Trebeks Without the Cards”, “Cobra Kai”, “Team #10”, and “Team Fisher”. They have progressed through the single-elimination tournament used by Notre Dame to whittle down the competitors, though most schools use either a round robin or double-elimination tournament.

“We [Team #10] did it just for fun – we didn’t even expect to win a game,” said Nick Dobbertin, a member of Team #10. “I’m a very competitive person, so the College Bowl appeals to my competitive nature. I played Mastersminds in high school, which is based on the College Bowl, and the biggest difference is that you have to buzz in so much quicker.”

The winner of the Region 9 tournament will go on to the national tournament from April 23 to 25 at Auburn University-Montgomery.