Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, hopefully I'll have a Ph.D. I'd like to do--uh, work in the development field of economics--so, working for the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development--something along those lines.
What the coolest thing about your university?
The coolest thing about our university is we have the most wins of any football team in the country... um... we're one of only four schools to have a president and a Super Bowl MVP.
What is your motivation for being on Jeopardy!?
I've always loved Jeopardy!, and I think it's a good chance to give it a shot. Everyone always says, "Oh, Jeopardy!, I'm so good at trivia. I could totally do better than those people." Well, I'm putting my money where my mouth is and, uh, we'll see how this works out.
Can you sing your school's fight song?
Hail! to the victors valiant /
Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes /
Hail! Hail! to Michigan /
The leaders and best! /
Hail! to the victors valiant /
Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes /
Hail! Hail! to Michigan, /
The champions of the West! /
How did you prepare for the show?
Uh, I didn't do a whole lot of preparing for this show. I--I spent about two hours on Wikipedia just clicking on links. [Laughs] Uh, I don't think that that is getting me too far, though.
How did you react when you were selected as an contestant?
I was ecstatic. Uh, it was St. Patrick's Day and I ran downstairs, and, uh, told all my friends, and, uh, we just went pretty crazy, and it was a very good day.
[After winning his quarterfinal game]
What did you think of your competition?
Uh, I thought they were great. I kinda got kind of a come-from-behind victory, so that felt good, but, uh... But Katie and Suchi were both very, very good. They were good--they were quick at the buzzers. Which is--everyone says, it's the hardest part, and the--the key is to be quick on the buzzer.
What was the turning point during your game?
Yeah, I think the turning point was, uh, uh, there--Katie said, "Evia Peron", and it was "Eva Peron", so she lost, like, $2,000 and then I got $2,000, so that was really a--a big swing. And then I got the--a Double--the last question on the board was Double Jeopardy!--so I was lucky enough to get that, which put me over the top, which is good, because, uh, everyone got the Final Jeopardy! question right.
Were any of the categories particularly challenging for you?
Yeah--all of them, in the first--in the first round, uh, I--I--I--because of my last name, alphabetically, I came first, so I got to choose first, and they were like RHYME TIME, and somethin' about fishing, and somethin' about science, and, like, music, and just these things that I really knew nothing about. So I just went with RHYME TIME, but I wa--I was so worried.
How did you determine your Final Jeopardy! wager?
Actually, I'm glad you asked that. Because, uh, well, at first I did the--so I think I'm pretty good at math, y'know, I'm an economics major, so, I--I thought this was like, it's all game--the wagering's all game theory. So I figured, I've taken a course on game theory, it should come easy to me. But I struggled so much with the math. And I took like five minutes to do it, because I--my brain just stopped working. But, uh, so I finally figured out what I needed. But uh, today--yesterday was actually my dad and my grandma's birthday. So I wanted to write something, and say, like, "Happy birthday, Ab and Bob, but they told me that it wouldn't really be a good idea, so I decided to, uh, put in a subtle message, so I wagered $12,411, which was--April 11 is their birthday. So... So, uh, they--luckily, my dad caught what I was trying to--to signal to him. So in that special way I feel like I gave them a little birthday present.
Are you more or less nervous for the next game?
Uh--oom--I don't know. I--I'm feeling pretty good. I think that we got the nine best people out here for the--for the semifinal round. But, you know, I think I have as good a shot as anybody, and really it's all about the buzzer, so as long as I can, uh, get that down and devise, like, a perfect system... and it's also the categories. Y'know, there are some games where I was like, "Uh! I coulda gotten 30 of those questions right!"
Congratulations on your victory!
2008 College Championship semifinalist: $10,000.
21 and from West Bloomfield, MI at the time of the College Championship.
Danny Devries's College Jeopardy! Blog #1
Posted May 2, 2008
Hello, readers, and welcome to my first foray into "new media."
A bit about myself: 5-11, dark eyes, strikingly handsome, single… All jokes aside, I'm 21, a Junior at the University of Michigan, double major in econ and polisci with a Judaic studies minor. I would like to one day go into Economic Development work, essentially helping to bring the under-developed nations of the world out of poverty. It's a lofty goal, but I am pretty devoted to helping out and using my assets to bring about positive change.
A bit about Jeopardy!: Admittedly, I haven't been an avid Jeopardy! watcher for long. My mom did buy herself Jeopardy! on Playstation, but it was kind of boring (sorry, Sony!). My grandma, Bub, always told me I should audition, and when I heard they were auditioning for College Jeopardy!, I decided to give it a shot. She called me up a day before the online test and told me I should look into doing this. Little did she know, I already had planned on it, but I'll still give her credit for getting me to try out (she has a laptop, but I'm pretty confident she stays out of the blogosphere). I was in the midst of a game that involves throwing ping pong balls into cups when it was time to try out. I went to my friend's room in my frat house, AEPi, and took the test. It was a sort of difficult atmosphere to take the test, as the music was pumping. I was really looking forward to hearing back from Jeopardy!, and checked my mail all the time.
I finally did hear back, and found out I was invited to come to the Chicago tryout on November 17th. That date stands out in my mind because I had been looking forward to it for months; it was the Michigan-Ohio State football game, at the Big House. Freshman year, the game at the Big House was one of the best days of my life. I met Senator Debbie Stabenow outside the stadium, and it was a memorable experience. But thankfully, I made the right decision and went to Chicago. It ended up being a great decision for two reasons: I made it on Jeopardy!, and the game was awful. We lost, and it rained. I had mono, so I probably couldn't have lasted too long standing outside. I guess that was the silver-lining to having mono. I probably would have gone to the game if I was healthy.
I went to Chicago, with my #7 Chad Henne jersey on underneath my button down. Even though I couldn't be at the game in body, I was there in presence. The tryout went pretty well. There were a ton of us Michigan people there, so I felt at home. I met some nice people, and I thought all in all, it was a positive experience.
As you may imagine, I was pretty excited to hear back from Jeopardy! I called them, and they didn't call respond for a few days. Finally, I was in class, arguing with the teacher, and I got a call. I was in the middle of an argument so I couldn't just get up and leave. I called a few times, and no one answered. Oh yah, this was St. Patrick's Day (part II, the real one). My housemates were sitting downstairs, and we were about to hit up the bars (I had just turned 21!) but I had to wait until I could return the phone call. I ran to my room when he finally called me back, and I was really excited. I ran downstairs, and all my friends were sitting around, waiting to hear what I had heard. I'll save you the details, everyone was really happy for me, we went to Connor O'Neil's, an Irish pub on St. Patty's Day, and it was amazing. I highly recommend finding out you're on Jeopardy! on St. Patty's Day.
I haven't had time yet to study. I've been pretty busy we school and extracurricular, but I may start studying soon, even though it's in a week. I've been watching 2 episodes a day that we had DVR'd. I'm pretty excited to be on the show. I'll let you know how everything goes! Thanks for reading!
Much Love, Danny Devries
- Watch Danny play on May 8th and check back for his next
Posted May 5, 2008
So I got to Wisconsin Wednesday morning, and just wandered around the city. It's pretty nice, I have to say. I kind of went in with a negative attitude about Wisconsin because my freshman year roommate came for the Michigan-Wisconsin football game in 05 and got sucker punched in the face, just for wearing a Michigan jersey. I swore I would take revenge and sucker punch anyone I saw in a Badger jersey, but because of that little "no felony" clause in my contract with Jeopardy!, I decided against it. I really had no idea what I should be doing, so I went to a modern art museum and the state capitol building. Nothing expresses my boredom more than the fact that I went to modern art museum and the state capitol. Lame. I didn't see any of the contestants or contestant coordinators the first day, and I was pretty bored and lonely. Madison is beautiful though. Nice lake, State St. is pretty nice as well. I recommend it. That was Wednesday.
On to Thursday. Had breakfast at the hotel and finally met some of the other contestants. I was pretty nervous about everyone, and I expected they would all be overly smart and nerdy. But they were all really friendly and cool. A good sign. Especially since it meant I was at least on an even field with everyone else. Just kidding!
We then went to the Kohl Center, and it was SO cool to see the set and all the seats. I have to admit, I sort of thought they would pack up the entire stadium and there would be like 15,000 people in the place. Of course, that is highly impractical. This isn't the Oscars, we don't do Jeopardy-in-the-round. We got to go on stage, hang out up there and get a good feeling for what it's like to be on stage. We finally got to meet Mr. Alex Trebek himself. He didn't know that Michigan were the Wolverines, and that kind of disappointed. He's way taller than I thought he would be. Like, gigantic. Also, he's pretty handsome, I have to say. We did interviews, which was pretty cool. I don't think I had ever felt more important. For those Jeopardy fans in the eastern half of Iowa, check out my inspiring interview. It was fun. Good times.
The next day was game day, Friday. We started off by having more makeup applied, and doing more interviews. We then did rehearsal games as the audience started piling in to their seats. The questions were pretty easy, making the buzzers pretty important. Buzzing in quickly is certainly the hardest part when playing against evenly matched competitors. In rehearsal, since the questions are so easy, it's all about the buzzer.
After rehearsal, we waited in the infamous "green room," where we enjoyed snacks and waited for hours and hours and hours. Including Robert the alternate, there were 16 of us just chilling in the green room, waiting to be called out. In order to make us as tense as possible, they didn't tell us who was playing the next game until 5 minutes before we had to be on stage. So everytime Tony, one of the contestant coordinators would come into the room, we would all tense up, wondering if we would be called. I wasn't until the fourth game, so at the end, there were 6 of us in the room, just waiting to see which of the other 5 players we would go up against. When I found out I was going to go against Suchita (Wisconsin) and Katie (Tufts), I was a little glad and a little worried. They both seemed like they would be really tough competition, and going up against the hometown girl was a little intimidating, since the vast, vast majority of the audience was on her side. Plus, they had booed me earlier. They don't much like Ann Arbor in the Madison. Honestly, the first thought that went through my mind when I found out who I was going up against was that we would have the best looking game. I am secretly a very vain person, but I figured at least my show would get high ratings. There aren't a lot of good looking contestants on Jeopardy in general, but Suchita and Katie were pretty cute, so hopefully people would tune in! Sorry to those who feel that's a bit sexist. I'm a work in progress. More about my game(s) to follow!
Danny (University of Michigan)
- Read about Danny's game on May 9th!
Posted May 9, 2008
Welcome back, loyal followers. Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot to report about the game, except to say a few things that I do remember.
Fast. The game happened SO quickly, I hardly remember any of it. That was the fastest 30 minutes of my life. Every question came so quickly, and there was barely any time to think. Everyone was good, especially with the buzzers. I really don't remember any of the answers, and I can only recall a few of the questions! All the other contestants, after the game, asked if it was hard going up against Suchita, because every time she got a question right, the entire place erupted. Too be honest, I definitely heard them, but I was so focused on the game that it didn't really affect me. Apparently, some people booed me when I answered, because I'm from Michigan. I couldn't hear it, but that's what I was told. I love that. Regardless of what sort of professional or personal success I achieve in life, I will likely never be booed again, unless I do something horrific, but I doubt that will happen. I told someone that I wanted to be booed, because that meant I was doing well. If I sucked, no one would boo!
Though I don't remember many of the details of the game, I do remember the ending quite vividly. There was one Daily Double remaining in Double Jeopardy, and only three clues remaining. I was down by like $3500 to Suchita, so I knew I needed to get it. Luckily, I got the 3rd from last question right, so I knew I had a 50% chance to find the Daily Double, so I took a guess. And I was wrong! I was so worried, and I knew I needed to guess that question right so that I could get the Daily Double, but I didn't know the answer! Thank God, neither did anyone else, meaning I got the final question. I wagered so that I was about $200 above Suchita in first place if I was right, and as soon as Alex read the clue, I knew the answer. When it came down to Final Jeopardy!, I wagered almost everything so that I could win. No Wild Card for me. Win or go home. That day, April 11th, happened to be both my dad and grandma's birthday, so in their honor, I wagered 12,411 (as in April 11th). Luckily I got it right, and won the game. We all got the question right, so as soon as Katie had her answer displayed, I knew I had it in the bag. It was really a great feeling, its hard to express. I had been worried that I may not have deserved to be on the show, since there are so many smarter people out there than I am, but after I won, I knew for sure I deserved to be there. I was vindicated! Luckily, Suchita got Final Jeopardy! right, and Alex told her, on stage, that she was guaranteed a wild card spot! I was really happy for her, and Katie had a really high score, too, and I thought she could make it as a wild card.
- Danny's going on to the semi-finals. Read his next entry on May 5/14!
Posted May 14, 2008
Winning [the quarter-final game] was really one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. I knew that regardless of how the rest of the tournament progressed, that that was something I can carry with me forever. We got to sit in the second row to watch the last game, and it was cool to see it from the perspective of the audience, especially since I wasn't nervous any more. I had dinner that night in the hotel with my family and a friend, and we invited Andrew (Harvey Mudd) to join us and give him some support. In retrospect, that was a bad move, because I ended up going up against him in the semifinals the next day. We should have thrown him to the dogs (just kidding)!
In the semifinals, I played James (Georgetown) and Andrew. The second game went quickly, though not as quickly as the first game. I think because so much money was on the line, I was much more nervous in my second game than in my first. I got off to a really quick start, and was feeling really well. I found the Daily Double in the first round, and risked it all, even though I had a considerable lead and the momentum. I think I wanted to try to just put the game away early. It backfired, and I got it wrong. I got the next two questions wrong, and in 15 seconds had gone from being up big to being $1,000 in the hole. I knew that if I got discouraged I would be done with, so I tried to keep my head up and play my hardest. The problem with the college tournament, especially the semifinal, is that everyone is SO good. Make one big mistake, and you are out. Well, that's what I did. To be honest, it's hard not to reflect back and think "what if?" There were a few turning points in the game, and I really have been thinking about them a lot the past few days, which is somewhat depressing. But in the end, I know things could have gone either way, so I don't feel too badly about losing, though it still hurts. Hey, at least I got in second! But seriously, I had this fantasy about being able to say that I won College Jeopardy!, and that is really an accomplishment. But it was not to be.
Enough wallowing in self-pity. When it came down to Final Jeopardy!, I was out of reach of Andrew and James was out of reach of me, so the positions were pretty much locked in. Luckily I got to get a little shout-out to my school, so that felt a bit good. I was really happy for Andrew though, he's such a nice guy, even if he may make a few mistakes on stage… Everyone was so friendly, seriously, I'm really proud of us, as a group.
That night, all of us went out and got hammered. Jeopardy!, as fun as it is, can be a bit stressful. Suchita's friends threw us a party. Everyone was decked out in red Wisco gear, which I found a bit off-putting. I mean, people at Michigan are pretty passionate about our school, but we dress up to go to parties, we don't wear t-shirts that say we go to Michigan. I got a few hostile looks, because all of us decided to wear our school sweatshirts to the party. I was against that idea, but I thought there just might be a girl there who was impressed enough that I was on Jeopardy! to talk to me. Turns out, every person in the party wanted to talk about Jeopardy! which was fun, but got a bit old. All in all, a good party and a great night, though! After the party, we went back to our lovely hotel and the party continued into the hotel bar. It was all Jeopardy! contestants and staff, which made for an interesting time. We talked to writers, and partied with the Clue Crew. That really was fun. They were all so down to earth and excited to be hanging out with us. I really would like to talk to them sometime soon, though I've been quite busy.
It really was an incredible weekend, one of the best of my life. I met such amazing people and had a fabulous time. Everyone was SO friendly, and made a potentially stressful weekend very relaxed. Even the Exec. Producer was nice! Really, thank you all for a weekend I will never forget. But if I do forget, at least it's on tape!
One more entry to follow! Get excited! [Never posted]