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13 trivia questions from BYU’s tight match against Columbia on ‘College Bowl’

Here’s what happened during the semifinal game between BYU and Columbia University on ‘College Bowl’

SHARE 13 trivia questions from BYU’s tight match against Columbia on ‘College Bowl’
BYU students Craig Walker, Ben Potter and Frani King on “College Bowl.”

Craig Walker, Ben Potter and Frani King represented BYU on the game show “College Bowl.”

Steve Swisher, NBC

BYU students Ben Potter, Frani King and Craig Walker knew the semifinal round of “College Bowl” wasn’t going to be easy. 

They were going up against Columbia University, the reigning champion of the trivia game show hosted by Peyton and Cooper Manning. And so far this season, the Columbia Lions had dominated their matches, winning by large margins. 

But BYU was determined to be Columbia’s toughest competitor yet.

Who won the BYU vs. Columbia game on ‘College Bowl’?

Potter, King and Walker came out firing on all cylinders for the semifinal game, which aired on Oct. 28.

First round

At the start of the Kickoff round, the BYU quiz bowl students swept the category “Fictional Fiends,” correctly answering the following three questions (all answers can be found at the bottom of the article): 

  • “In the 1931 film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel ‘Frankenstein,’ the monster is brought to life by what type of energy?”
  • “Said to be the ghost of a Hessian soldier from the Revolutionary War, in what Washington Irving story would you find the character depicted here?” (the students were shown a picture of a headless horseman)
  • “Considered a Cold-War era commentary, what creatures terrify a Pennsylvania countryside in George Romero’s classic film ‘Night of the Living Dead’?”

BYU maintained its momentum, proceeding to sweep another category, titled “Country name changes”: 

  • “The musical ‘The King And I’ is based on the book ‘Anna and the King of Siam,’ which was set in the land of what modern-day country?”
  • “The last British colony on the Central American mainland, what country was known as British Honduras until 1973?”
  • “The U.S. recognized the Ivory Coast in 1960 and officially began using what French language version of the country’s name in 1986?”

BYU was now up 60-0 — but Columbia wasn’t going to end the round empty-handed.

BYU students Craig Walker, Ben Potter and Frani King compete on “College Bowl.”

BYU students Craig Walker, Ben Potter and Frani King compete on “College Bowl.”

Steve Swisher, NBC

The Lions finally got on the board by answering the following three questions under the category “Hairy situations”:

  • “Miley Cyrus has been sporting a modern version of what ‘business in the front, party in the back’ hairstyle made famous by her father Billy Ray?”
  • “The last U.S. president to regularly wear a full beard while in office was what grandson of a previous commander-in chief?”
  • “After the ruler depicted here began losing his hair, he employed 40 wigmakers to keep up his stylish looks. Who is this French king?”

Second round

BYU was up 60-30 going into the second round, called the Pass-Play, where a team could pick one category to play and pass the other category to their opponent.

The big catch here was that any incorrect answer resulted in those points being awarded to the opposing team.

This is where the game got a little tighter.

Columbia University started the round, opting to give the Cougars a question about spices while answering the following clue about rocks: “Obsidian is a type of dark glasslike rock that is formed by the solidification of what?”

BYU got the spice question right: “Made by grinding chili peppers and red bell peppers, what is the national spice of Hungary?”


BYU students Craig Walker, Ben Potter and Frani King compete on “College Bowl.”

Steve Swisher, NBC

The Cougars then chose to play the category “One Republic,” but couldn’t come up with the answer to the following question: “By area, what is the second largest country in Africa?” (hint: It’s not Chad).

Columbia received 20 points for Cougars’ incorrect response of “Chad,” and gained the lead when it correctly answered the following question under the category “Maestros”: “Discovered 50 years after his death, the iconic piano piece best known as ‘Fur Elise’ is the work of what German composer?”

For the rest of the round, BYU and Columbia matched each other question for question. Columbia finished with a slight lead over BYU at 150 points to the Cougars’ 140.

And then it was time for the two-minute drill.

Final round

BYU and Columbia have both shown they can rise to the occasion during the two-minute drill.

On the previous episode of “College Bowl,” both teams dominated this round, correctly answering 15 questions in two minutes — the most any team had answered on “College Bowl” up to that point.

Which makes what Columbia pulled off against BYU in the semifinals all the more impressive: The Lions answered a whopping 19 questions in two minutes — an all-time record for “College Bowl” — only missing the very first question at the start of the round.

Potter, King and Walker knew it would be nearly impossible to replicate that magnificent feat — they would need to answer 20 questions to win, so there was no room for error.

In the end, the Cougars answered 10 questions.

“The pressure of getting 20 was quite a bit,” Walker recently told the Deseret News. “After we started, we were hopeful, but we missed a few questions in that first 45 seconds. And at that point, we realized we weren’t going to make it. So that last minute and a half of the two-minute drill, we were just smiling. ... We realized we weren’t going to make it, but we were just still having a really good time answering some questions.

“We were really excited for Columbia,” Walker continued. “They were really a good team to go against. We were really impressed with them. So we ended up losing that semifinal match, but it was such good fun.”


Cooper Manning, Craig Walker, Cosmo the Cougar, Ben Potter, Frani King and Peyton Manning on “College Bowl.”

Steve Swisher, NBC

More than a game

They didn’t pull off the win, but Potter, King and Walker were proud to give Columbia University one of its more competitive matches on the show (Columbia ultimately got dethroned by the University of Georgia during the championship game).

“We were super happy with what we were able to do, the opportunity and, obviously, the scholarship money,” Potter said.

As semifinalists, the three BYU students each walked away with $20,000 to put toward their education.

“An unbelievable amount of money, and like, really life changing,” Walker said. “It’s hard to walk away feeling sad about something like this.”

“They don’t let you leave empty-handed,” King added. “Even the smallest amount of scholarship money is still impactful, and you’re walking away with a great experience. A trip, friendships. So there’s no real losers in the game.”

Answers: Electrical; “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; zombies; Thailand; Belize; Cote d’Ivoire; mullet; Benjamin Harrison; Louis XIV; lava; paprika; Democratic Republic of Congo; Beethoven.