When that music starts, you what time it is. Jeopardy! is as much an American institution as hot dogs at baseball games. Host Alex Trebek, who may be the coolest man on the planet, brings random game show trivia to millions of viewers and has for the last three decades. Over 8,000 episodes and millionaire champions like Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer proved to me night after night just how little I actually know.
One of the show’s most popular tournaments is the annual College Championship. Undergraduate students studying at American universities compete for a grand prize of $100,000. Not a bad payday for college kids hoping to use their knowledge to win some life-changing cash, huh? And even though the coronavirus pandemic and spread of COVID-19 changed sports as we know them, the 2020 College Championship brings competition back in a much-needed way..
There are 15 college students competing in the event that began April 6. Quarterfinal matchups pit three schools against each other, while the five winners and four “Wild Card” contestants — the four highest scores from the five matchups — head to the Semifinals. From there, three winners square off in a two-night showdown on Thursday, April 16 and Friday, April 17.
The winner earns an automatic bid to the show’s Tournament of Champions.
Don’t worry. According to The Ringer, all episodes were pre-recorded back in early February before the nationwide shutdown began. Episodes air each night at 7:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
Jeopardy! College Championship 2020
All major Power 5 conferences — the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 — are represented, as well as two Division III schools in Hendrix and Carnegie Mellon. Yale sends its ninth contestant to the championships, while the lone freshman is Northwestern’s Beni Keown, who represents the Wildcats’ 10th student in the quarterfinal round.
Funny how iconic rivals Florida State and Florida meet in the first round, right?
Penn State’s Kylie Weaver is my pick to win it all because, well, “We Are.”
Here are each of the contestants, where they attend school, and the tournament schedule:
Monday, April 6
Marshall Comeaux, University of Texas at Austin *
Emma Farrell, Carnegie Mellon University
Sirad Hassan, Princeton University
Tuesday, April 7
Sophie Casarico, Florida State University
Kayla Kalhor, University of Florida **
Nathaniel Miller, Yale University *
Wednesday, April 8
Alistair Gray, University of California, San Diego
Londyn Lorenz, University of Mississippi *
Kylie Weaver, Penn State University
Thursday, April 9
Joe Coker, Hendrix College *
Beni Keown, Northwestern University **
Xiaoke Ying, University of Southern California **
Friday, April 10
Tyler Combs, Indiana University *
Natalie Hathcote, Liberty University
Nibir Sarma, University of Minnesota **
* — Round winner
** — Wild Card bid
(Begin Monday, April 13)
Tyler Combs, Indiana University
Kayla Kalhor, University of Florida
Beni Keown, Northwestern
Joe Coker, Hendrix College
Londyn Lorenz, Ole Miss
Nibir Sarma, University of Minnesota
Nathaniel Miller, Yale University
Marshall Comeaux, University of Texas
Xiaoke Ying, University of Southern California
* — Round winner
(Two-day event begins Thursday, April 16)
This article was originally published April 7. It will be updated daily as the Jeopardy! College Championship rages towards the finals.