Ole Miss junior track athlete Ryan Smith will get his 15-minutes of television fame tonight when he airs on the ESPNU show Unite in the debut segment of “The Schwab” that will see him compete against two other college students from SEC schools in a sports trivia contest.
In recent weeks, Ole Miss has been a regular name on ESPN.
The Rebel football program recently signed a top-5 recruiting class, a class that saw many highly profiled prospects make their announcements on ESPNU. Now, it appears Ole Miss will again get some face time on ESPNU.
This time it will be junior accounting major Ryan Smith.
No, Smith is not a 5-star recruit. He isn’t a member of Hugh Freeze’s bowl-winning football team. He isn’t on Andy Kennedy’s postseason bound basketball team. He didn’t even play baseball for the Rebels who swept TCU this weekend.
However, Smith is a member of the Ole Miss track team, where he serves as a distance runner. He co-hosts a sports talk radio show for Rebel Radio. He also happens to be a very knowledgeable sports fan.
ESPNU is home to a show called “Unite,” which airs five nights a week at 11 p.m. The show is a witty, humor-filled sports talk show hosted by comedian Reese Waters and ESPN analyst Danny Kanell.
“Unite” has decided to add a segment on Wednesday nights each week with Howie Schwab, who was the star of “Stump the Schwab,” which aired on the ESPN family of networks from 2004 to 2006. The new segment on “Unite” will be called simply, “The Schwab.”
The segment will feature three college students from different schools. They will test their sports knowledge against four categories: college sports, professional sports, pop culture and social media.
The debut episode has already been taped and will air tonight. It will feature students from SEC schools. Each week, the students will all be from schools of the same conference. The winner will move on to the next round. The show will operate with a tournament format.
For Smith this was a great experience as he grew up watching Schwab electrify ESPN audiences with his sports knowledge in “Stump the Schwab.” He said he also felt “a lot of pressure.”
“I wanted to continue the momentum of the football and basketball team,” Smith said.
“It was cool to get the track team in the news. We don’t have that story in the paper every week like they do.”
Growing up in Park Hills, Ky., Smith was never really aware of Ole Miss. He said he was drawn to Ole Miss just like many of the recruits Freeze landed on signing day.
“Once you come down here it’s amazing,” Smith said.
“It’s one of a kind.”
While the information is divided into categories and comes from all angles of the sports world, Ryan said that it is not something you can prepare yourself for and that, “you really either know the stuff or you don’t.”
Host Reese Waters says that the biggest challenge for the contestants isn’t knowing the material but “not freezing up in the middle of answering a question.”
“Ryan came in and he was pretty loose,” Waters said.
“He did not disappoint.”
While Ryan is an accounting major and said he would love to become a certified public accountant one day, he said he could see sports in his future and added this about his school: “I just love Ole Miss, especially the sports.”