Bible Quizzing Landscape

As we pause before the April craziness, let us step back and take a look at the whole spectrum of Bible Quiz. As I purvey the Bible Quiz landscape at this point, here is my thought–the unified culture of Bible Quiz across age groups has never been more sound.

While Matt West\’s idea for college wasn\’t as well-received as I am sure Brant hoped, the fact is there have been a couple of decent showings by a college team this year. UCF finished in between the two teams from #1 ranked Pleasant View at the midseason and then followed that up by almost beating #8 ranked Calvary and giving #2 ranked FBCCF a scare in a few quizzes. And while just one team is not a lot, I understand that several college-aged (and beyond) people will be quizzing at the Kickoff Classic on May 13 in Orlando.

The elementary landscape is developing. It is my understanding that the elementary tournament in Missouri has never had more teams. Pleasant View\’s elementary team was fantastic at the midseason and Woodside\’s did real well at the Colorado Invitational. The closest thing to a major for this age group of which I know is the FQA Finals on April 21.

The Middle School landscape is in the best position it has ever been. I think Blue Ridge has to be considered a Middle School major. For the past two years, ten teams have attended. The competition there has been extraordinary with programs from Pleasant View (KY) and Faith (SC) having won the past two years. Athens NYC and the FQA tournament are both in January and have both averaged about 12 teams over the past two years. While getting a unified ranking system for this age group has not yet occurred, it can\’t be too far away. To me, this is one of the most exciting developments over the past 5-6 years.

As for high school, that development has been well-tracked. I see Pleasant View (KY) as the clear top team, but FBCCF is not that far behind. The two Faiths (MI and SC) are close at hand and Old Paths and New York (if they ever put their top team together) are clearly good enough to challenge those teams. As we gear up with our SCQANIT and AACS prognostications, let us not forget that everyone who learned Scripture this year is a winner.

Since I am from Florida, I checked out the results from the recent FACCS competition. I was amazed that Hobe Sound got 5th. Just four years ago, they were disappointed with a finish that low at AACS. I remember when I quizzed, they were the only standard I ever knew for several years. Now I don\’t know what hard times may have befallen Hobe Sound or how far they may have slipped, but I have no doubts that no matter the fall, they are a team that 18 years ago (also quizzing over Matthew) could have been top 10 in the country. (By the way, that was the first Bible Quiz tournament I ever saw when SC and FL went head-to-head and had the two loaves of bread decision). They just have too much coaching pedigree for me to think otherwise.

Now, I am not suggesting that the 5th best team in every state could have achieved much success two cycles ago, but I do believe that we are living in a golden age for Bible Quiz teams. I am not convinced that the best teams are much (if at all) better than the best teams from that time period, yet the fact is everything is deeper. Athens was a team that many considered a top ten contender at the beginning of the year. While there were complications with getting their best team to GACS, they didn\’t win. Ten years ago, Athens was able to win Georgia with far less effort. Pleasant View (SC) may be having a relatively down year by their own lofty standards, but their team is capable of matching up with some top level teams and competing. Yet, they could not win SCACS this year. Someone will lose at ODACS, either Startup\’s surprise team Heritage or Mr. Hales\’s improving through the day team–Spring City. Whoever does will still be a decent team.

As teams continue to have more competition, I hope those teams that work harder than ever before and yet can\’t enjoy the same success as ever will not become discouraged. I would hate to see this golden age drop off. This is why I think it so important for coaches to attend every tournament they can. While winning the consolation round at the DC Area Invitational would not be an achievement for Old Paths, Parsippany\’s #2 team can\’t help but be better next year because of that encouragement. Yet that team probably rarely wins a quiz at practice against their #1 team. If everyone can have enough success to continue to work harder, it will perpetuate and we may see the number of teams continue to grow. Would there be anything better than more students learning the Word of God better?

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