Glad to see another TAR season kick off. This is a long post but I think you will find it interesting so read on. There's plenty to agree or disagree with so sound off. Last season, I did an experiment and, boy, did it work well. After the first episode, I predicted the finishing order and it was, perhaps coincidentally, exact. It was uncanny but I will say that a few things had to “fall just right” for it it happen. On the 10 point scale, BJ/Tyler had a 10, Eric/Jeremy had an 8, and Ray/Yolanda had a 7 as did Joseph/Monica so they were a toss-up. I retroanalyzed it to all prior seasons, and it was never off by more than 2 spots and usually only one spot. That is to say, if it picked a team to place 5th, they would usually be 4th, 5th, or 6th but occasionally, they would be 3rd or 7th but that was rare. So without further delay, I present my predictions for this seasons finishing order along with the methodology.
As has been discussed on this board, there seem to be commonalities among the teams that make it to the late stages and commonalities among the early outs. Specifically, these criteria tend to determine who the “better” and "worse" teams will be. Keep in mind that this is based on all of the teams having equal “luck” with taxis, scheduling, etc. which hardly ever happens. Before I start, let me say that these points form a 10 point scale with 10 being best. Then I sort lowest to highest to show the system’s predicted exit order. Below are the point explanations.
Fitness – this is made up of a composite which includes my perception of their seeming ability both conquer physical challenges (like episode 1 rope climbing) as well as to endure fatigue, stress, sleep deprivation, etc. I give 1 point for each fit team member because having only one fit member is obviously not as good as having two because they have to arrive at the mat together and, therefore, can only go as fast as the weakest link allows. To get these points, teams don’t necessarily have to be athletic looking nor do they have to be “iron-pumpers.”
IQ – this is a catch-all category for mental competence. This would include problem-solving, creativity, resourcefulness (think McGyver), and general breadth of knowledge. This gets 1 point. The reason for this getting only 1 point is that it’s not required that both team members be intelligent. One can carry the other here. In other words, both had to be physically fit enough to climb the rope last night but it only required one good brain to figure out the bricklaying puzzle and the other team member could just follow and help. Not many teams get this point. That’s because for this point to be assigned, the team has to have “above average” intelligence. I define that to be evidence of all of the above traits. While teams may possess one or two (or in some cases none), few teams will have all four of the traits. In this season, I only awarded this point to 2 teams.
Traveled – I admit that with some of these teams I’m having to take their word. Some mentioned specific places they had been while others just say they have traveled. Does that mean to the Mall of America in Minneapolis and that one time they went to Atlantis resort in the Bahamas and never left the property or does that mean real, foreign, immersed-in-the-culture travel. However, I took the teams at their word here. If they said they had traveled, I gave them a point. If they didn’t mention it at all or said they hadn’t, I did not give the point.
Males – for whatever reasons, and most people on these boards have their guesses as to why, an all-female team has never won this race. The flipside way of saying that is that there has always been a male on the winning team. In fact the teams without a male usually have been the early exits too. Furthermore, there have been more male duos as final winners than male/female team winners. Therefore, I give a point for each male on the team not because of any prejudice but because of historical, inarguable results.
Competitive – this is hard to measure quantitatively but you generally know it when you see it. It’s important because it separates the teams that will put in that extra effort when they are exhausted in the later stages. One point is given for this as well.
Multilingual – notice the key word here is “multi”lingual. Just because someone speaks Spanish, for instance, doesn’t get them this point. Why is that? The teams may not go to a Spanish speaking country. And even if they do, it may be later in the race at a point when that team might already be eliminated. To qualify for this point, the team must collectively speak at least two languages other than English.
Not Distracted – as has been noticed and mentioned by others, teams wanting to see the world, work on their relationship, prove something, get noticed, etcetra, don’t tend to do well in this race. It’s hard to stomach eating fish eyes, for instance, when all you wanted to do was work on your relationship. There’s therapy for that. Therefore “distracted” teams do not get this point while teams that don’t seem to have these interferences/conflicts do get this point.
Intangibles – sometimes a team has something about them that seems to help them in this race. It could be a number of things. This is a subjective point but in each case that I give a team this point, I will state my reasons. You may not feel the same.
Now that I’ve given the point system, I will apply it to each team. I’m doing this in the order that this method predicts they will leave. I am aware that there are spoilers out there through episode 7. If those spoilers are accurate, it means that a couple of teams made it 1-2 episodes past their predicted finish here. However, if those spoilers are right, of the 5 teams this system shows as the bottom half, the system is correct on 3 of them. Pretty good so far. By the way, I’m also providing my version of team nicknames to help identify them.
David/Mary (Team Hillbilly)
This was an easy one. The team has one male. Other than that, they are both out of shape, especially her. They are distracted by wanting to prove. They don’t seem especially competitive or definitely not too bright. I noticed no intangibles. Far from being multilingual, they don’t even speak English well. If they go to Britain, they will be looked at by the locals as if they are speaking a foreign language. Their last place finish in the first episode only emphasizes the weakness of this team. Their best hope for seeing the 3rd episode from anywhere besides their couch is for the next leg to be a non-elimination or some other teams to mess up which does happen. Believe me, if they stick around, it will not be because they are great racers.
Lyn/Karlyn (Team Soul Sisters)
Neither is fit. No males on team. Neither seems especially bright and no other languages spoken. Didn’t notice any real competitiveness. They seem distracted already by their comments about Peter/Sarah. The intangible I will give them is that they know their limitations which will lead them to make appropriate decisions about themselves for roadblock and detour selections for as long as they are around. Their next to last place finish in the first episode shows us the same about them as it does Team Hillbilly.
Jamie/Kelly (Team Sis Boom Bah)
Both are fit. Neither seems that bright and no other languages spoken. Didn’t see a competitive streak. No males on team. As was mentioned elsewhere, they are probably in this for the publicity and thus distracted.
The next 3 have equal points at 3 points each on the 10 point scale. I have my thoughts on their exact exit order but for now I will just list them in random order.
Duke/Lauren (Team Daddy’s Little Girl)
This team surprised and finished second. That could help them but my gut feel is that while the 3 teams already mentioned are making their exits, this team will slip down the finish order and find themselves vulnerable for an exit after their weaker counterparts. This team is obviously distracted but both seem fit. One male on team. Don’t seem overly competitive. No mention of any other languages was given nor to any traveling.
Tom/Kelly (Team Gay Pride)
Neither seem especially fit, especially when compared to most of the other males in the race. While both are “male” that may be a stretch but I’ll give them those points. They said they have traveled but didn’t get specific. I’ll be true to my word and give the point anyway. They seem easily distractable. I didn’t see anything worthy of an intangible point. No points for languages or competitiveness.
Rob/Kimberly (Team Bickerson)
This team reminds me of Paul and Amy from the first season in the way they seem to fight. Both are fit. One male is on the team. Don’t seem competitive, at least as competitive as will be needed. And if they are, they waste it on arguing with each other. No mention of other languages. I didn’t seen any intangibles. They are distracted by each other. Neither seems outrageously intellectual and no mention of travel experience.
That was the last of the 3 teams tied for 3 points each
Dustin/Kandice (Beauty Queens)
This team is hard to rank in my system. The reason I say that is that with my system, they are the last team not making the finals though that is hard to believe right now. However, I will say that they have already surprised by navigating Seattle better than most to catch the first plane and then keeping that lead well enough to place 4th in episode 1. They are both fit. Anyone who knows anything about the pageant world knows that they must be competitive to have gone as far as they did. They don’t get points for having a male, brightness, being multilingual or undistracted. However, I give them an intangible point and here’s why. While neither is pleading for us to “not hate them because they are beautiful,” they were both very aware of the ability to use that to get things. Don’t kid yourselves. It may not be politically correct to say so but that will have some sway. Pretty people have it easier than most and get favors - sometimes without even asking. It may be behind the scenes help, for instance, from airport staff. I could easily see an alliance (spoken or not) with the models/rahabbers. However, I gave them a point for traveling on their word but I get the feeling it’s more of that Bahama trip I mentioned before. That point is the only one separating them from those 3 in the middle of the pack. If I take that point away, they would be in a 4 way tie with the ones just mention meaning they could still place as high as 4th but could also finish as low as 7th.
And your finalists are...
Tyler/James (Team Surfer Dudes)
Two males who are both fit and who say they’ve traveled. I give them an intangible for their rehab experience. They are obviously competitve. The only points they missed were for multilingual, intelligence, and lack of distraction.
Peter/Sarah (Team Doctor/Patient)
This is another hard one to use with my system due to the disability issue. They got points for having a male, being well travelled, both being fit, intelligence (he’s a doctor), speaking 2 other languages (thereby barely meeting the criteria), and an intangible point for being overcomers. However, they don’t get a distraction point as the prosthetic leg will provide some of its own and there seems to be a conflict brewing with Team Soul Sisters. The fact that Sarah scaled the wall and that they have done Iron Man competitions tells me not to write her off. However, I want to say right up front that I have never tried to “handicap” (said in the meaning of analyzing the odds) a disabled person with this system and they could just as easily prove to be a quick out. If they are, it will help the odds that Dustin/Kandice make it to near the end which I also see as possibly being a long shot even though they have points.
Erwin/Godwin (Cho Bros)
This is the only team in this race that got all 10 points. As I mentioned before, Tyler and BJ were last season’s only 10 and they won. They are obviously fit, both male, competitive, have the brotherly bond versus the sibling rivalry (therefore no distraction). Based on this ranking system, they have the best chance to win. I certainly expect to see them in the final 3. In the first episode, they didn’t make the first plane out, played from behind most of the game but kept cool and focused and then finished well. I see them getting good “restarts” out of bunch points which is so key in doing well in this race. They are my odds on favorites right now.
I spent a lot of time writing this up. Please add your thoughts and let’s make this a lively discussion point. I will append it as the season progresses. Thanks...