The most exciting Schmoedown matches are usually the ones that are nail biters, and come down to the final question. They are amazing displays of knowledge from the competitors that wow and shock other fellow players and fans alike. If you looked at a long list of match results and pointed out the ones that were decided by only a point or two you would find that there are dozens upon dozens of matches that have ended this way.
You then have to ask yourself what really makes a close match? Why does one match feel closer than another?
If we really want to put together a list of the closest matches we have to look a little deeper than just the final score or whether it came down to the last question. I don’t think it’s as simple as that. The journey we go on during the course of the match adds to our experience and helps separate one close match from another. Even though the title of this article is about the “closest” matches it also could be viewed as the “most exciting” matches.
After looking at all the matches that have taken place since the 2014 season, I’ve compiled a list using many factors and I have come up with the Top 10 Closest Matches in Schmoedown History.
Let’s count them down!
10. Champs vs. Top 10 (2015)h
CHAMPS – 18
TOP 10 – 19
If you were to rewatch this match you might not recognize it, since the format of the game has changed dramatically. Nonetheless it still displays some great competition as both teams battled back and forth. To start, team Champs had a perfect 1st round. However Top 10 followed up with a dominating 2nd round at the hands of Matt Knost. The back and forth made for a shocking ending as Top 10 was able to earn a close victory over team Champs. Top 10 answered 85% of their questions and team Champs answered 82%
9. Dan Murrell vs. Mark Ellis (2016)
MURRELL – 23
ELLIS – 20
Not many people give this match much thought. It seems like just another win for Dan Murrell in the early days of his hall of fame career. Not many people would remember that Mark Ellis forced Dan Murrell to his 5 pointer to win the match and stay the champion. Up to this point no one really had seriously challenged Murrell question for question. Ellis gave Murrell all that he could handle, and only missed 3 questions in the 5 round format. Had it not been for one of Murrell’s greatest performances, where his only miss was the betting round, Ellis could have ended up with the belt to conclude the 2016 Spectacular.
8. Lon Harris vs. Ethan Erwin
HARRIS – 20
ERWIN – 24
Talk about twists and turns, this match had them. Lon Harris went a perfect 8 for 8 and also earned the bonus. Across the table from him Ethan Erwin put up 7 points of his own. And a 2 point lead for Harris dwindled down to 1 after a close 2nd round. Once we got into the final round these two players traded blows back and forth in their 2, 3, and 5 pointers. While Erwin went 3 for 3 to end the match and earn the win, this was one of the closest matches we had ever seen. Both players went 14 of 16 (88%). It’s a rare feat to see both players end with the exact same accuracy rate.
7. Top 10 vs. Top That
TOP 10 – 35
TOP THAT – 30
Another match that is often forgotten, but this match set and tied all kinds of records. On top of that, it was an extremely close match. John Rocha and Matt Knost were the first pair of teammates to both go perfect in round 1 in the same match. Top 10 also tied the league record for points scored. Top That became only the 4th team to score 30 points and lose a match. But what is best remembered about this match is the decision by Top That to give Top 10 “Biopics” when “Opponent’s Choice” rolled around, which proved to be a costly mistake. Aside from round 1, both teams earned 10 points in the 2nd round and 7 points in the final round. The 5 point lead Top 10 earned in that 1st round proved to be the ultimate difference.
6. Kristian Harloff vs. John Rocha
HARLOFF – 19
ROCHA – 21
This was truly one of the first great matches in terms of big moments. In the first round of an 8 person tournament the stakes couldn’t have been bigger and the play couldn’t have been tighter. Just a 1 point difference separated them after the 1st round. Once again the miscues in the 1st round was the main deciding factor as neither player would miss a question in their 2nd or final round. Combined, both players answered 88% of the questions asked.
5. Shirewolves vs. Who’s The Boss
SHIREWOLVES – 34
WHO’S THE BOSS – 31
As far as team title matches go I don’t think it gets any better than this. Two teams battling it out to the bitter end. This match quickly became more about strategy and less about who knew more trivia. Every step of the way, little decisions throughout the rounds would have ripple effects for the eventual winner. Whether it was betting too few or too many points or playing the speed round just right, every moment built upon the last. It all culminated in the final round where both teams earned the max 10 points but once again those little moments added up to a Shirewolves win and a successful defence of their team title. The knowledge between both teams was so even that there was only a .66% difference in accuracy, in favor of the Shirewolves.
4. William Bibbiani vs. Marc Andreyko I
BIBBIANI – 23
ANDREYKO – 20
This is a match that will go down in history as the greatest debut match for two players. Amazingly only 1 question was missed, in the 2nd round, and it was then picked up as a steal. Other than multiple choice being used a few times there was no stone left unturned. It is the most accurate match of all time and if it weren’t just a regular season match and something more it may very well have ended up number 1 on this list.
3. Ethan Erwin vs. Dan Murrell
ERWIN – 23
MURRELL – 25
While it is very early in the 2019 season there is no doubt this is one of the greatest matches in Schmoedown history, and that’s because Dan Murrell played a perfect accurate match, and he was still in danger of losing the match. In large part thanks to the 3rd and 4th round Erwin was able to take a 1 point lead going into the final round. Up to this point Erwin had only missed 1 question the whole match and the even crazier part is that Murrell had not missed a single question and yet was still down by 1 point! But the final round proved to be too tricky for Erwin and Murrell claimed his 3rd singles league title. Both players combined answered 92% of the questions in the match.
2. Wolves of Steel vs. Above The Line
WOLVES OF STEEL – 32
ABOVE THE LINE – 35
This match is truly of of the greats and its status is elevated by the fact that the winner would go on to the tournament final. In the first round all players answered correctly on their first 6 questions. The high accuracy carried over for the rest of the match as both teams combined missed only 2 questions. Both teams had extremely high PPE rates and the difference between them was just 3.29%.
1. Mike Kalinowski vs. Rachel Cushing III
KALINOWSKI – 30
CUSHING – 31
Maybe I’m being a prisoner of the moment but this match can already lay claim to many “greatest of” titles. The fact that there was an 8 point gap that was closed by the time we reached the final round is astounding. There was such a radical point swing through rounds 3 and 4 it would lead to one of the greatest endings of any match. After Kalinowski and Cushing pushed it to overtime it all came down to just one letter to decide the Innergeekdom champion. The PPE differential of 4.83% speaks to the intensity of this match on top of the innately intensive nature a title match brings. Whether it was differences like Paris or London or between Ninko and Ninka there has never been two evenly matched players quite like this match displayed!