Friday, October 30, 2009

Knowledge Bowl: 2009-10 Season Preview

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 3:19 PM

Tomorrow, Knowledge Bowl kicks off another season of local trivia competition. A staple of Memphis Saturday mornings on WREG News Channel 3 now about to start its 23rd year, Knowledge Bowl pits teams of area high school smartypants against each other, in tournament fashion, stretched out over the school year. Thirty-two high school teams start the season. One stands victorious in May. (This season's final airs May 29, 2010.)

Across the Mid-South this fall, teams have been built at each participating school. One of the fun things about watching Knowledge Bowl is getting to meet these talented young adults, and, for the winners, seeing them grow and change throughout the season. The best of the best get more confident and comfortable on TV as the tournament progresses.

They don't play for nuthin. Scholarships and bonds are given to every kid on every team, the amount increasing as the team advances. This year, each member on the winning team will get a $5,000 scholarship.

This year, consider SING ALL KINDS to be your Knowledge Bowl headquarters. We'll be providing game-by-game analysis; absolutely nobody has requested such in-depth coverage, but if high school football can soak up so much time and devotion in the local media, ain't it time for the nerds, geeks, cool-kids-who-are-also-smart, and every other brave soul who goes on the air to get their due? It's way past time.

In light of the tournament structure of Knowledge Bowl, it seems a little ridiculous to not fill out a bracket in advance of the season. It's incredibly difficult to handicap Knowledge Bowl, because probably more than half of last year's kids were graduating seniors. Not knowing I was going to be covering this year's season so closely, I didn't watch last year's contests closely enough to know who's got underclassmen returning. Oh well, next year's predictions will be a little more firm.

So, for what it's worth, here's my bracket for the 2009-10 Knowledge Bowl. (Most of my picks are based on past performance.)



Kyle Rote Jr.
  • Kyle Rote Jr.
Kyle Rote Jr. Region (named after the original Knowledge Bowl host.)
Winner: I have perennial contender Germantown emerging to the Final Four. The Red Devils have a tough path there, though, facing the girls at Hutchison in the opening round. They could lose right off the bat.
Watch out for: West Memphis Christian.
Self-Interest: I'm rooting for my neighborhood team, the Kingsbury Falcons.

Dr. Richard Ranta
  • Dr. Richard Ranta
Dr. Richard Ranta Region (named after the eternal Knowledge Bowl judge and U of M dean).
Winner: Another strong showing from ECS wouldn't surprise me, though they're going to have to top the likes of SBEC, CBHS, St. George's, IC ... brutal.
Watch out for: The first round of CBHS v. St. George's would make for a fine final. That winner could go all the way.
Self-Interest: Raleigh-Egypt and Covington are the only public schools in the Ranta Region. I've got MCS loyalty. Go Pharaohs.

Jim Jaggers
  • Jim Jaggers
Jim Jaggers Region (named after current KB host and Ch. 3 meteorologist).
Winner: St. Benedict, last year's runner up, comes out on top.
Watch out for: St. Mary's. This is the Turkeys' first year participating. They won the quiz bowl event this fall and could take the tournament by storm. They even have Jeopardy contestant Melissa Luttman on their team. Watch out, rest of the field.
Self-Interest: Full-disclosure, my daughter is in kindergarten at St. Mary's.

Anelda Carter
  • Anelda Carter
Anelda Carter Memorial Region (named after Collierville High history teacher who passed away last year; she was a KB sponsor the year I played).
Winner: I've got last year's tournament champ Collierville advancing out of the region.
Watch out for: This is likely the toughest region, with previous winners White Station and MUS also here along with a number of other typically solid teams. Expect the possible second-round matchup of MUS vs. White Station to be great TV. That winner could win it all.
Self-Interest: As previously referenced, I was a member of the Collierville team, as a senior in 1994. We won it all. It never gets old saying that. I started half the games and was a reserve half the games. I won a $7,500 scholarship (the winning amount was higher back then than it is now — not sure why) and promptly lost it with a terrible-GPA freshman year at U of M. C'est la vie.

Final Four: Germantown, ECS, St. Benedict, and Collierville. Just playing the odds, here. Wouldn't be surprised if it was four different teams than these.

Championship Game: St. Benedict, ECS.

Knowledge Bowl Winner: St. Benedict. Last year's runner-up takes it over the top and wins the thing. I seem to recall they had some underclassmen in their starting four. That can make a big difference.

Tune in each week to get a recap of the games. First up: Kingsbury versus Houston! Saturday, October 31st, 9 a.m., Channel 3.

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