I'll Bet $5, Alex
Statistics allow for the
clustering of events. You can flip a coin ten times, and
they might all come up heads. Contrary tot he old wives'
tale, lightning frequently strikes twice in the same
place. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" has had two
jackpot winners in a single calendar week. That's all
well and good, but most people didn't think that the
75-win streak of Ken Jennings would be under attack.
It's still not, but there's one young champion who has
been making a helluva run at it.
At this point, David Madden, a student from New Jersey
living abroad, has won 11 games and nearly $270,000. I
applaud him in his victories. I love that he's a student
of the game: depriving his opponents of Daily Doubles,
and betting appropriately. He signals only when he
knows: his questions right divided by questions
attempted ratio has never been below .85 thus far. David
has earned his place alongside the other Jeopardy
So, I raise my soda to you David; may your reign be
long, glorious, and overflowing with money.
Now that the good parts are out of the way, let's deal
with the thorns in my rear. First, in the first week of
David's championship run, Alex Trebek made a reference
to "The next Ken Jennings?" Sure, the guy is winning big
and locking out the opposition, but it's insulting to
both Ken and David. I know "Jeopardy" runs second to
"Wheel of Fortune," but c'mon, give us some credit. The
ratings can't be that bad, can they? Shame on
you, Alex, for being a tool for Sony. You were just
starting to regain my respect. Let Ken gracefully yield
the spotlight. He's had his fun; more so than any other
champion in history. Previous champions won their five
games then got their shot at greatness in May. For
Pete's sake, he's already got a board game and another
game show lined up.
Secondly, I doubt the producers were ready for someone
to win more than 10 games so quickly after the Big
Horking Tournament was over. After having the Ultimate
Tournament of Champions, what's left? "Masters of the
Jeopardy Universe"? "Celebrities Versus Champions"? "So
You Think You Can Beat Ken Again"? The suits kinda boxed
themselves in figuring that no one would come close to
Ken. I don't blame them for jumping on the bandwagon,
but the moniker of "Ultimate" was a bit premature. Maybe
"Penultimate" would have been less presumptuous?
I figured that next years' Tournament would consist of
Ken, the College Champion and a cardboard cutout, but
this could be quite a contest. Both champions showed
that they could steamroll over willing doormats, but
when the chips are down...
Travis Eberle saw former Jeopardy champion Arthur
Phillips' book "The Egyptologist" in a bookstore on
vacation, but didn't pick it up. Harass him mercilessly