Wow summer sure flew by this year, huh? I feel like I say this every September, but the fall season of Survivor always seems to sneak up on me. One day, I’m enjoying a summer free of teaching students and the next, I’m knee-deep into week four of a semester and anxiously awaiting the premiere of Survivor.
Such is life.
But you didn’t come here to hear me reminiscence about summer or talk about how fall semester at the University of Colorado is going. Nope, you’re here for a prediction. Well, here’s one: My prediction will be wrong.
I mentioned this last season, but let’s, for laughs, take a look at my track record here at True Dork Times. Get ready to marvel at how bad one man can be when it comes to predicting the future.
In Second Chance, I chose Monica, who was voted out fifth and turned mute for a season. For Kaoh Rong, I chose Liz, who annoyed Debbie and lasted nine days. In Millennials vs. Gen X, I chose Mari, who lasted six days and who I honestly don’t remember. And in Game Changers, I tried to hedge my bets and pick a few “likely” winners. Who did I go with? Andrea (voted out 13th), Michaela (voted out 14th) and Hali (voted out 8th). And my main winner pick? That would be poor Malcolm, who lasted a whopping 11 days and was (controversially) voted out fourth.
I’m thinking you’re seeing a trend here, right?
If you’ve been following the updates here at TDT, you know that Jeff, Ben, Dan and I took part in a fantasy draft. I really enjoyed making fun of everyone’s picks, but it also got me thinking about how fantasy is different from predictions. You see, when making those picks, I didn’t really know how we were going to score the results. Meaning, were we only picking a winner or would we have scoring updates each week? Turns out, we’re doing the former, which means some of my bro-iest picks might do well in certain challenges, but they might not actually win.
So, for this here predictions column, I’m going with my old staple, separating players into four categories: likely, possible, unlikely and impossible. See, in a traditional fantasy league, I’d choose some players who I didn’t think could win the game but would maybe go far. Those players then score points for you each week. Here, if I put a castaway into the impossible category, it doesn’t necessarily mean I think they won’t go far, just that I think they have no shot in hell of winning. Make sense?
OK, so before we get going, let me say that I’ve done basically no research for this season. I’ve seen the couple clips CBS aired recently, and I read each and every cast bio on CBS.com. Later this week, I’ll probably go read Josh Wigler’s cast interviews but, for now, not so much.
Well, then, with all that out of the way, let’s do this. And, please, do not print this column out and head to Vegas with fists full of cash in your hands. You will lose money.
I tend to always think ex-military folks will do well on Survivor. I mean, there is the obvious in that they are used to living in not-so-great conditions, they have oodles of discipline and they are more than likely going to be good in challenges. Ben seems like the kind of guy who checks all these boxes. The only thing that worries me is that this is a super young cast, a cast with a lot of folks who have, shall we say, dubious jobs. His work ethic might irritate some of the younger folks and vice versa.
Yep, everyone else on this here site thinks JP owns no shot at winning. And yet I made him my first draft pick. You got it, this is my Winner Pick™. As you all know, this is also a kiss of death. But here is my thought process: JP is the exact opposite of who I’d normally choose. Let’s dig a little deeper, though. He’s going to kick ass at challenges. And he’s just old enough (28) to act as a pseudo-mentor to all the young-ins on this season. And he’s a firefighter. People always want to reward firefighters. Make me proud, JP.
I said it in the fantasy draft recap and I’ll say it again: I love Roark. I don’t know if she can actually win, but my unrequited love for her is forcing me to put her in this category. I’ve never read a more entertaining bio. I just haven’t. In my mind, and I’m super bias since I think I’m similar, Roark possesses the perfect personality to win at Survivor. She’s smart, funny, likeable and not overtly threatening. She’s the one who can coast for a while and then use her brain to make some Big Moves™. Normally, she’d be my Winner Pick™, but, you know, I’m doing opposite things this season. Go Roark.
I simply can’t put someone from Worcester, Massachusetts, lower on this list. I mostly grew up in a town almost equidistant between Worcester and Boston (about eight miles closer to Boston) and you just never see Woostah (as we like to call it) folks on TV. And Simone owns a great final tribal story about her parents and overcoming odds. She’s super smart, seems strategic and unafraid, and will almost definitely be a hard worker. But she doesn’t look like an obvious threat either. She could easily win this thing.
So I was at this conference last week and this guy kept on talking about how he scored on the Myers-Briggs test. I’m always a bit leery of people who’ve tested themselves on things like this. Not sure why. Chrissy mentions in her bio that she’s a Type A personality. I’m thinking that doesn’t go over so well on Survivor. It ain’t season five anymore. And one of the oldest castaways telling others what to do won’t work. On the other hand, Chrissy she seems super smart and maybe folks will underestimate her. That’s why she’s this high for me.
Besides being a little too young, the thing that scares me about Cole is just how good, on paper, he might be at this game. In modern Survivor, people like Cole are targeted early and often. If he can make the merge, maybe an immunity run will save him? I want to root for Cole, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen. He even seems a little intense for the other bros on the island. We’ll see. But, again, Cole could very well win 2004 Survivor, and maybe this season is a throwback.
So here’s the thing: Desi sure seems smart on paper. She looks athletic. I really had to dig into her bio to find anything close to a red flag. She could easily win this thing. But then I started reading more closely. After bragging about her job and education, etc., Desi admits to not being happy personally and professionally and wanting the million as a catalyst for getting her out of that situation. Call me crazy, but I’m not interested in ever telling people I work with, people who would definitely read my reality television bio, that I want out. Not so smart.
Reading her bio tells me one thing: Before she started her brand, Jessica read a whole lot of self-help books. Her bio reads like a cliché come to life. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While she seems super likable on the page, my guess is Jessica makes the jury, but never ever seems like a potential winner. She’s that person this season. Nothing about her bio makes me think she won’t play it ridiculously safe while being very nice and inoffensive. She stays for a while, but she doesn’t win. If there’s a goat at final tribal, she’s my pick.
I had Mike ranked pretty highly in fantasy. I’m putting him in this category, though, because he’s a little hard to read. To me, if I’m right, he’s a perfect potential winner in that he’s smart, fit but not too fit, and seemingly a fan. But on the other hand, he’s a urologist and you have to wonder whether he truly has the desire to spend 40 days with almost nothing and win this game. We’ll see.
I mentioned in this in our fantasy draft recap, but Ali, to me, does not seem cut out for island living. Obviously, I’m basing this opinion on little evidence, but she’s a celebrity assistant, would like a mirror on the island, and lists shopping and posting on social media as hobbies. Call me ignorant, but those attributes don’t translate to success to me. You know how on seemingly every other season there’s that person who starts out ridiculously confident but soon starts angrily resigning themselves to not winning? Those people are usually in their early 20s? That’s Ali to me.
In her bio, Ashley lists a couple hugely problematic quotes as words she lives by or something. This makes me think Ashely will be one of those people, when she gets an office job, who hangs framed posters that say things like “perseverance” superimposed on a wave or mountain. Or both. That’s all well and good, but I don’t think you can win Survivor thinking like that. She says if you’re not first, you’re last. Does that mean she comes storming out the gates too quickly? I think so.
I’m not sure this is the season the mom wins. I said this in the draft recap, but Katrina needs to be quite the amazing person to have been an Olympian and also graduated from Berkeley. I think she’s the person getting mad at young folks for sunbathing. She seems like an awesome human, but not a Survivor winner to me.
Man do I want to like my namesake. And, in real life, I’m sure I would. His bio makes Patrick sound like a great guy. But nothing jumps from the page screaming “leader” or “super smart” or “great story” to me. And besides one obvious outlier, I really think a younger 20-something dude can’t win this game without something that really sticks out. Patrick just seems like a good dude who’ll get relatively far, but when the best players start to separate themselves, he’ll be a pawn and not a player.
My fellow TDT bloggers seemingly love this guy. I don’t understand. Yeah, he seems strategic in that, well, he just looks strategic. But nothing else about him makes me think he could win such a physical game. He likes karaoke! He’s interned with both branches of congress! He wants to go to law school! His idol is f’n Eli Manning, the luckiest quarterback in the history of the NFL! He wants to bring a visor to the island! And he’s a huge fan. And he’s 23. Sorry, this guy might be smart, but he thinks he’s way smarter than he is, in my opinion. This is the dude that throws a fit, like Ciera, when he thinks nobody is playing the game. But they’re really just playing without him.
On paper, if you leave out one teeny, tiny little detail, Alan looks like a great choice to win this thing. But, you see, I just can’t get past the whole “former NFL player” thing. Alan spent nine years in the NFL. I don’t believe the jury will reward a known multimillionaire. Maybe he won’t tell anyone, but I doubt that too. I think Alan could go far, but he won’t win.
Look, nobody likes Devon more than me … as evidenced by our fantasy draft. But this dude seems like someone who goes far, but will definitely not win. He’s going to be the goofy bro who’s good at challenges and nobody really wants to boot … till they get closer to the end. That’s my guess with Devon.
Nope. Joe cannot win this game. Here’s a cop coming from a tiny little town in Connecticut. I lived in Connecticut for a long time… though never in a small town like Tolland. But I know Connecticut police officers and I just don’t believe Joe’s going to excel amongst so many young folks with independent jobs.
Nope. First, she says she’s unlike any other Survivor player ever. That’s a complete lack of self-awareness. And she’s a fisherman. She’s got “female version of Jimmy T” written all over her. And I’m not sure if you remember, but Jimmy T didn’t do so well.
Well, that’s it for this here predictions column. Enjoy the Wednesday premiere. I’m excited, even if I think this is the lamest theme yet. Let’s hope a lame theme translates into a killer season. We’ll get back to talking theory next week. I can’t wait.
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He's seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he'll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @PatFerrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.