While we still do have a few more spotlight articles for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” to finish before Wednesday’s premiere, we wanted to get this annual predictions article out there this weekend. It’s a chance to really digest all of these, and to possibly laugh at some of our predictions in the event we’re wrong.
Before we start, let it be known that we have neither seen nor searched for spoilers, and this is all coming straight from our own brain based on the information that we have seen with bios, cast videos, and the like. We haven’t correctly picked on since Kim Spradlin on “Survivor: One World,” but since “Nicaragua,” we have at least picked every season someone who has made it to the merge. Last season, our pick was Tasha Fox; meanwhile, it was Aras Baskauskas for the first “Blood vs. Water” and Brenda Lowe for “Caramoan.”
We also try to chart out specific events that happen throughout the season, and we’re going to go out on a limb here and say there is no tribal swap. Without returning players, it makes more sense to keep the groups separate until the merge (at least so long as there is parity).
18. Keith Nale (Hunahpu) – We’ve went back and forth on who would be the first out, and we do think an older player will go early. The problem for Keith is not so much that he’s an older guy this season; it is that he comes across as the bossy guy who’ll get on everyone’s nerves. The other tribe feels more physically imposing than his.
17. Jaclyn Schultz (Coyopa) – With John Rocker on this tribe, we can imagine them being all about competition beasts early, and there are already more men than women. Plus, we wonder if Jaclyn will tell everyone her entire story early, and they’ll look at her as a sympathy vote in the end.
16. Drew Christy (Hunahpu) – It may sound crazy, but this guy thinks way too highly of himself to go far in the game. He doesn’t have the social skills, and there may be a preemptive strike to split him and his brother up.
15. John Rocker (Coyopa) – There’s no way Rocker wins this game, and it only feels appropriate that he goes out around the same time that Brad Culpepper or Jimmy Johnson did. He’ll be useful for a time as a challenge asset, but he is not worth the constant aggravation.
14. Baylor Wilson (Coyopa) – We can actually see a smart player like Val targeting Baylor, feeling like she is the perfect end-of-the-game goat who will get zero votes. Getting rid of her now opens up other possibilities in the future.
13. Reed Kelly (Hunahpu) – Reed will be one of those unfortunate pre-jury boots that comes as a result of the twist. It just makes sense to separate a couple of athletic, social men who would be dangerous once you finally make it to the merge.
12. Jon Misch – You would think that someone would try to split up one of the pairs, but not this time! Jon strikes us as a guy who wants to prove himself very badly, and will likely orchestrate some post-merge alliance that blows up in his face.
11. Jeremy Collins – A vote strictly out of fear that he and Val make it too far into the game together, given how capable both of them are physically and socially.
10. Natalie Anderson – The twinnies make it further than even we expected going into the game, but they benefit from not really giving anyone a reason to vote them off … until they are actually around camp together.
9. Wes Nale – We’ve come around somewhat on Wes, who we thought would be an early boot based on our spotlight article earlier in the summer. We feel like there is going to be an alliance of the Wentworths, Josh, and Val who team up after Jeremy goes home, and that will facilitate many of the next few boots.
8. Nadiya Anderson – This is exactly what we’re talking about here. Nadiya is a fierce competitor, and we could see her being looked at as an immunity threat.
7. Julie McGee – With Julie, we see it more that someone doesn’t want to give John Rocker’s girlfriend a check for a million bucks that she can take home to him. She will surprise some by being a decent player.
6. Val Collins – We get the feeling that there are some sharp players this season, and Val is one of them who will try to separate Kelley and Dale at this point, given that she’ll know the two will take each other to the end. Unfortunately, this move is not met like she hopes it would be.
5. Alec Christy – Alec may become an Ozzy-type character in that he wins a ton of challenges and is an ultimate underdog. Unfortunately, he will have probably been a target from final ten on, and will be eliminated as soon as he is vulnerable. Maybe he finds an idol, as well, which is why we place him here.
4. Missy Payne – If this alliance we just mentioned was any less tight, Missy would probably be dragged to the end of the game. Not so much here.
3. Dale Wentworth – We really like Dale, and we are well aware he could be the first man out. This is more of a leap of faith that his social skills and game knowledge will help him, and that he and his daughter will come across as so non-threatening that they make it far.
2. Kelley Wentworth – Unfortunately for Dale and Kelley, we are thinking that this is a final two, and had Dale made it to this spot, he probably would have won. We think it’ll be close, but Kelley will miss out.
1. Josh Canfield – We felt that Josh was the winner almost from the moment we first watched his CBS bio this year. Even though he doesn’t seem like a big fan of the show going in, he’s smart enough to figure some things out as time goes along, and he’s probably not going to get anyone mad at him. We could see someone like Val or Dale stealing his thunder as America’s favorite, but he still gets the million bucks in the end.
We’ll find out if we are right or wrong very soon, but for now, just stay tuned, and head over here if you want to get some more news on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter.