‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Pre-Game Rankings

When I went to “Survivor: Gabon” I pegged Michelle Chase as my pick for sole survivor. She went home three days later. When I went to “Survivor: Nicaragua” I picked Marty Piombo as the player who would go the distance. He went a bit further, but was still the tenth person to leave the game.

Why do I torture myself with these predictions? Why do I mislead you?

I assure you it isn’t intentional. Maybe I’m a poor judge of character. Maybe it’s impossible to know how someone will react to food and sleep deprivation. Maybe the game of “Survivor” is too complex to predict at such an early stage.

But I will tell you one thing I know for sure; Jim Rice is not going to win “Survivor: South Pacific.”

How do I know? Because he’s on top of my pre-season rankings…

1. Jim Rice: There is a lot to like about Jim Rice’s game. He’s super smart, but personable enough so it isn’t off putting. He’s in good enough shape to be an asset in challenges, but not a muscle man who’s going to be an obvious post-merge target. However, I agree with Probst that he might have trouble getting people to trust him. . 2. Dawn Meehan: Dawn’s another one who is going to coast in the middle of the pack. She’ll be a hard worker around camp, and she’ll probably fill the “mom” role for whoever is having a rough time out there. She’ll hit the merge and coast for a while. If she’s in the majority alliance she could ride that to a million dollars.
Mikayla . ELYSE
3. Mikayla Wingle: She’s fit, she’s strong, she’s beautiful, and she’s funny. Also, she charmed me in the brief twenty minutes we spent together in Samoa. What’s to stop her from doing that to her entire tribe? . 4. Elyse Umemoto: Elyse is very similar to Mikayla in that they’re both beautiful, personable, and in great shape. The difference? Elyse has a bit of a dark side to her. That could be a negative or a positive depending on how she uses it.
albert . COCHRAN
5. Albert Destrade: Albert is another one I liked during the interview process, but I have to wonder; is he too smooth? I asked everyone what they thought of the other players and a few people mentioned that they found his smiling to be very disingenuous. . 6. John Cochran: John Cochran is one of this season’s biggest question marks. Is he a strategic whiz in the same mold as Rob Cesternino, Stephen Fishbach, and Todd Herzog? Or is he challenge-liability voting fodder? Here’s hoping it’s the former.
7. Rick Nelson: The token “older guy” usually goes one of two ways. He either alienates everyone and is a quick boot or he gets along with the youngsters and sticks around. Rick’s a good guy. If he makes the merge he could go all the way. . 8. Brandon Hantz: Should it count against him that he’s Russell Hantz’s nephew? No. Will it count against him if they find out? Yes. You don’t need a good reason to vote someone out of “Survivor,” you just need a reason. If Brandon is smart, he’ll be keeping that “Hantz” tattoo covered in the same way I keep my “Digital Underground” tattoo covered. If he does that, he could go far.
9. Sophie Clarke: I like Sophie a lot. She’s as sharp as a tack. My only concern for her is the same concern I have for most young players; will she be taken advantage of by someone with more life experience? She seems like an old soul, hopefully that’ll help her out. . 10. Benjamin “Coach” Wade: “Get rid of the new guys” seemed to be the popular sentiment among the new players. You get rid of Russell Hantz because he pulls idols out of thin air. You get rid of Ozzy and Boston Rob because they dominate challenges. You get rid of Coach because… Well, there’s no real reason to get rid of Coach. Maybe someone else will notice this?
11. Whitney Duncan: Whitney didn’t strike me as someone who has the stomach for backstabbing and throat cutting. (So much violence in the show’s terminology…) However, she did strike me as a perfectly adequate coattail rider. It may not be the most admirable strategy, but I know a few millionaires who are cool with it. . 12. Keith Tollefson: He’s young, he’s handsome, he’s ripped. He’s probably out shortly after the merge. Good luck at Redemption Island.
13. Edna Ma: I’m not sure Edna knows what she signed up for. She was a late add to the cast and may not be up on all the intricacies of modern “Survivor” strategy. If she came to play, she could be a threat. If she’s overwhelmed, she could go home early. . 14. Stacey Powell: It’s bad news for Stacey that her and Christine are probably Upolu’s two biggest challenge liabilities. She’d better hope Uher tribe jumps out to a big lead and that Coach rubs people the wrong way.
15. Ozzy Lusth: When your “Survivor” legacy is “the guy who rocks at challenges” you’re going to be in some trouble after the merge. Could he work his way back into the game after a Redemption Island run? You bet. Would they immediately send him packing again ala Andrea Boehlke? Totally. . 16. Semhar Tadesse: I’m putting Semhar in the same boat as Edna because I’m not sure if she knows what she’s in for. Also, I feel like there’s less of an upside to Semhar. Could she turn the switch and make a run for it? I’d say it’s possible, but highly unlikely.
17. Christine Shields Markoski: Christine knows she’s going to have to hold back her stubborn personality if she wants to go far in the game. That’s a nice strategy to have in pre-game interviews, but it’s quite another thing to pull if off when you’re starving. . 18. Mark Caruso: I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Nice guys finish last.” Well, Mark is a nice guy, and he’s going to finish close to last. Mark’s a major challenge liability. If Savaii falls behind in the numbers, he’s a goner.

Survivor: South Pacific” premieres Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Any Questions about “Survivor: South Pacific”? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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