Handicapping the Spectacular Part II

Wow!! What a week. Actually, the last two weeks have been a flurry of activity. Since my original article on the Independence Day Spectacular, many things have changed. First, there are the non-quiz related things. Matt West has been keeping me up-to-date. First, Praiselynn Santos’s sister was in a devastating accident. Encouraging news has come about in that she is no longer on a respirator, but she is still in need of our prayers. Second, Nathan Keenan was in the emergency room as recently as last night with his recurring issues with his eye. While it seems that now neither he, nor his brother or sister, nor Luke Miller will be able to come, we would all do well to pray for him also. Two different quizzers who are still planning to participate have been to the hospital recently, and we know that this month has been crazy.

Now, for the differences that are related to quizzing. Capital City is not going to have any teams this year, largely due to the birth of a new child to their coach, Mr. Robbie Simpson. Truth will also be neglecting the event. And try as we might to convince the Wells from Kentucky to come, they aren’t coming to the tournament this year. There are, though, 17 teams signed up, and it looks like at least 7-8 of them have thoughts of winning. Because of the slight decrease to 17, the morning rounds are essentially warmups as 12 teams make the afternoon playoffs with only a small portion of their score being affected. I am not sure what difference this will make, but it does favor quizzers who rise to the occasion in the afternoon.

Now, let’s look at my original picks. I picked the Carbonells (named Transformers this year), the Startups (named Hey Cowboy Flapjacks! this year), Alex D’Amico’s team (named Coalition Redefined this year), the Warrens (named Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me this year), the David/Grace team (named THE YOUNG & the restless this year), and Kelsey Davies team (named Higher powers this year). Now, I was misinformed on a couple of teammates there, but essentially, those picks remain. I also picked at least three Tyrrell teams and whatever team Matt West came up with (though I won’t push for him to get Praise, as she is worried about bigger issues). I stand by those picks also. SO, those are my top 10.

So, now I must whiddle my list from 10 to 5. Let’s look at the teams.

Lady And The Tramp, Mighty Memorizers, and Act II
First, I think the Tyrrells are great, but one of their teams will be in, one will be out, and one will be in a group of teams fighting to get in. I am guessing Act II will be the team eliminated and that Lady and the Tramp are in. David is so strong that he will carry them into the top 5. The Might Memorizers are on the bubble. Their youth is both a positive and negative. And whether it more positive or negative will be discussed later.

THE YOUNG & the restless
I think they will be fantastic. David is my BFF, but that means I know his tendency to not work as hard as he might be able to. He will do very well, but when going against the best teams, he will falter slightly. Grace has always been great, but she has a tendency to fade. Her best tournament was one where the round robin was the night before (allowing her to not have to quiz as late). Last year, she fell off a little in the afternoon. I predict a close call but not quite in finish.

Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!
Lynn “Machine Gun” Warren came so close to getting to the top five last year without Paige, that I cannot see her coming up short this year with Paige. Paige has done so statistically well in this in previous years, that I just can’t see her not being a huge asset, but this is the team that I know the least about in the top 5…ergo, I knock them out. If you’re looking for a (somewhat) longshot who has a chance of winning, this might be the team to pick.

Higher powers
Kelsey Davies is phenomenal and no present quizzer impresses me more. Her changing out her brother for Josh Austin may be a stroke of genius, but I think Higher powers too will fall just short. I just think that the two of them are both error prone and they will have 1-2 really bad quizzes that will keep them out of the finals, but there’s a good chance that spectators may once again think that Kelsey was the strongest quizzer of the day and wonder why they didn’t do better.

I don’t think there is any way that the Carbonells do not make the top 5, but we shall see. Let’s face it. Last year, this was the round where they outscored every other team by at least 300 points. If you would have split them into two different teams, one would each have made the top 5 all by herself. Combine them into one super team, and all of a sudden, they are just unbeatable over the long run. Teams will get closer this year, but they aren’t in any danger of missing the top 5.

Hey Cowboy Flapjacks!
Despite the fact that the Startups are getting married two days later, I feel that as an early honeymoon present, they will vault into the top 5. Honestly, I have no understanding of how this team continues to do so well. Apparently, they make errors very seldom, which is very important in this tournament, and they get their questions every time. Jesse is great, but Heather is so much better than both her reputation and what you think she’s doing. At the end of the quiz, you sit there and wonder but she’s almost always gotten 1-2 against even the best of teams.

Coalition Redefined
I think Alex D’Amico’s team will be very solid. There is absolutely no evidence to say that they will do poorly. Alex was great last year, and Israel is an upgrade as the second quizzer on the team. Israel has quizzed over these verses before, and it could be interesting to see if that becomes any sort of advantage. Alex is really motivated. Both are historically great in late situations. I think they’re definitely a team with a realistic shot of coming out on top.

So, for those of you not so great at math, that leaves one spot in the top 5. And two teams left (you know one is the second Tyrrell Team).

Director’s Prerogative
Whatever team Matt West comes up with vs. the second best Tyrrell team. To me, it totally depends on whom Matt’s teammate is. Let’s face it. Matt wrote the rules. He understands them (no one else seems to totally understand them). Last year, I know he couldn’t quote a single verse, and yet he still got several questions. If he gets a decent teammate and knows his verses this year (he claims he does), he will be the 5th team in. If his teammate is no good, the second Tyrrell team will get through.

OK, so there you have it. Now, as for what will happen. Well, Matt West has consistently told me that in a win/loss situation, this format is fickle. I ran the numbers, making the assumption that all the quizzers in the final five were good enough quizzers to answer correctly more than not and that you have a distinct best through fifth best team. And I have determined that the odds of the best team winning the tournament are only 42%. Having said that, my prediction is that the Carbonells (even if they are the best team) don’t win. Who will? I don’t know, but how about I throw a guess as an early wedding present to Jesse and Heather.

Praise the Lord that David Douglas is now in the Peach State, making it the soon to become best Bible Quiz state around! And, more seriously and somberly, let us not forget to keep Praiselynn’s sister, Glorieanne, and Nathan Keenan in our prayers. Those issues are long lasting and very important.

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