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Will BYU beat Notre Dame? (This isn’t about football)

How did the BYU students do in the first round of ‘College Bowl’?

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BYU students Craig Walker, Ben Potter and Frani on NBC’s “College Bowl.”

BYU students Craig Walker, Ben Potter and Frani King appear on NBC’s “College Bowl.”

Steve Swisher, NBC

Although hosted by Peyton Manning, the game show “College Bowl” isn’t about football.

But that didn’t stop legendary BYU quarterback Steve Young and the beloved Cosmo the Cougar from appearing on the show to encourage three Brigham Young University Quiz Bowl students who, along with students from 15 other universities, are putting their love of random facts to good use.

Not long after BYU students Ben Potter, Frances “Frani” King and Craig Walker stepped onto the “College Bowl” stage — followed by an energetic Cosmo doing flips in the background — Young appeared on a big screen to share a message with the students representing his alma mater.

“BYU’s been in a lot of big games, national championship, lot of bowl games, a lot of victories, a lot of trophies. What we don’t have is a ‘College Bowl’ trophy,” Young said. “So Frani, Craig, Ben, it’s up to you to bring it home for the Cougs. And I know you have it in you.

“I just give you one tip: The guy running this show, he seems like a howdy-doody, yeah aw shucks good friend. Mm-mm,” Young continued, shaking his head. “I’ve played against him. That guy’s an assassin. Go Cougs.”

For the first round of NBC’s “College Bowl” Season 2 — which premiered earlier this month and features college students competing for $1 million in scholarship money — BYU was up against the University of Washington. On Sept. 30, the Cougars compete against Notre Dame — a week before the school’s football teams face off at Allegiant Stadium, the home of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Here’s a look at how the Cougars have fared so far in the competition.

Did BYU win the first round of ‘College Bowl’ on NBC?

BYU started off strong in the kickoff round. In the category “How writers write,” which focused on the creative processes of famous authors, the Cougars correctly answered two of the category’s three questions (answers are at the very bottom of the article).

  • “Hotel rooms with all art removed from the walls were a favorite writing den for what author of ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’?”
  • “Sitting in the bathtub while eating apples inspired ideas for what author who created the detective character Miss Marple?”

The BYU students got stumped on the third and final question of the round:

  • “Known to argue out loud with himself in order to write good dialogue, who created ‘The West Wing’ and wrote the screenplay for ‘Being the Ricardos’?”

When they couldn’t come up with the answer, control of the game shifted to the University of Washington students, who answered the question correctly and opted to move forward with the category “Cultural holidays.”

The Huskies got all three questions in this category — which referenced Boxing Day, Holi (Festival of Colors) and Ramadan — and moved on to correctly answer three more questions in the category “Sustainability.”

At the end of the first round, Washington had a 70-20 lead over BYU (questions in this round were 10 points each).

BYU put more points on the board during the second round of the game, which had students competing one-on-one with each other. King gained some momentum for BYU by correctly answering two of the three questions in the category “Saints”:

  • “In 1804, Lewis and Clark began their historic expedition at Camp Dubois outside what midwestern city?”
  • “Regarded for his love of animals and the environment, what Italian friar of Assisi was declared the patron saint of ecologists in 1979?”

Walker correctly answered one question in the category “49ers”:

  • “Founded in 1949, what military alliance was established as a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in parts of Europe?”

Washington was still in the lead at the end of the second round, though, with 170 points to BYU’s 80 (questions in the second round were each worth 20 points).

The final round of the game was the 2-minute drill, where teams had to try to correctly answer as many questions as possible in two minutes. Each question was worth 25 points, with teams earning an additional 100 points for every five questions answered correctly.

Washington also came out on top during this round, answering 13 questions — two more than BYU, which needed to answer 15 to secure a spot in the quarterfinals. BYU finished the game with 555 points — 140 points behind Washington.

But not all hope was lost for BYU.

The “College Bowl” episode also featured a matchup between the University of Georgia and the University of Florida — the Bulldogs walked away victorious. BYU’s grand total of 555 points was well ahead of the Florida Gators, who finished their match with 360 points, so the Cougars were still able to move on to the quarterfinals. The Gators were officially eliminated — but each of the three Florida students walked away with $5,000 in scholarship money.

When does NBC’s ‘College Bowl’ air?

The first round of the “College Bowl” concluded Sept. 23. The following 12 schools have advanced to the quarterfinals:

  • University of Notre Dame.
  • University of Oklahoma.
  • University of Texas.
  • University of Georgia.
  • University of Washington.
  • Brigham Young University.
  • Penn State University.
  • Spelman College.
  • Syracuse University.
  • UC Santa Barbara.
  • Columbia University.
  • Duke University.

The quarterfinals start on NBC Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. MT. (You can stream episodes the following day on Peacock.)

In addition to the BYU vs. Notre Dame game, the first quarterfinal episode on Sept. 30 will also feature a matchup between Georgia and Texas.

(Answers: Maya Angelou; Agatha Christie; Aaron Sorkin; St. Louis; Francis; NATO).