Champions is as Champions does (CREDIT: Jeopardy!)

Tournament of Champions Season is upon us! Jeopardy! has invited its super-dupe-rest recent victors to duke it out for our enjoyment. The format is a little different this time, with 21 contestants instead of the usual 15, and the top 3 (Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio, Mattea Roach) getting automatic byes into the semifinals. (Check out all the details here.)

In my years of prognosticating past ToCs, I’ve discovered that the champions who are on another level often do as well as you expect them to, but that there’s also plenty of room for surprises. With the revamped format, it’s even more in favor of the top seeds, but nobody should be counted out. So here are some cheerleader-y thoughts about each contestant:

1. Amy Schneider (40 wins, $34,205 average score): Amy is not the Same-y as your regular Jeopardy! champ.
2. Matt Amodio (38 wins, $39,082 average score): Time to hop aboard the Amodio Rodeo!
3. Mattea Roach (23 wins, $24,024 average score): A Roach that you’d be happy to find in your house.
4. Ryan Long (16 wins, $17,612 average score): How can you not root for a rideshare driver from Philly?
5. Jonathan Fisher (11 wins, $22,042 average score): We’re reeling in a Curly-Haired champ right here.
6. Brian Chang (7 wins, $23,438 average score): “Chang” rhymes with “clang,” so I imagine a bell goes off in Brian’s head every time he comes up with a correct answer.
7. Courtney Shah (7 wins, $15,695 average score): If someone dismisses Courtney, she should say “P’Shah!” (Because it sounds like “pshaw.”)
8. Eric Ahasic (6 wins, $25,400 average score): Eric is a meteorologist, so what good omens are in his forecast?
9. Zach Newkirk (6 wins, $18,896 average score): Zach don’t crack*! (*-Under pressure, that is.)
10. Megan Wachspress (6 wins, $9,658 average score): Fresh off the Wachspress is news of Megan’s successes!
11. Andrew He (5 wins, $28,627 average score): What to say about Andrew? He goes big, that’s what.
12. Tyler Rhode (5 wins, $19,417 average score): The Rhode to Tyler on Jeopardy! is paved with good intentions.
13. Jackie Kelly (4 wins, $24,060 average score): Jackie is a pension calculation developer, so she surely knows what numbers to look out for.
14. John Focht (4 wins: $22,016 average score): John is a software team lead, and I’d imagine he’d like to take the lead.
15. Margaret Shelton (4 wins, $19,925 average score): In her thick-rimmed glasses, but out of her Shell(-ton) comes Margaret
16. Christine Whelchel (4 wins, $17,640 average score): Whel, whel, whel, Whelchel – happy to have you back!
17. Maureen O’Neil (4 wins, $11,120 average score): Maureen should claim that she’s related to Shaquille O’Neal, even though their names are spelled slightly differently.
18. Sam Buttrey (Professors Tournament Champion): Smooth like Buttrey
19. Jaskaran Singh (National College Championship Champion): Singh a new song for Jaskaran!
20. Jessica Stephens (Second Chance Tournament Champion #1): Jessica’s not just one Stephen, she’s all the Stephens!
21. Rowan Ward (Second Chance Tournament Champion #2): Is Rowan rowin’ on a path to victory?