Marquesas Pre-game Power Rankings
Written by Mario Lanza on 02.27.02

Well, here we are again, time for another season of Survivor. Thanks for reading my new column here at Survivor-Central. Some of you may remember my stuff from last season. I wrote episode recaps for Survivor: Africa, as well as adding my personal comments at the end of each column. Over the course of the season, my comments got longer and longer and soon they were the main focus of my recaps. So it just made sense to give me my own column. Well, it made sense to me anyway, but I did have to pester Murtz, the site administrator, to see things my way. Luckily I am the Michael Jordan of pestering, so welcome to the first installment of Survivor Strategy. I will be writing my own comments, observations, predictions and analysis here each week. I am also writing episode recaps, so I m doing double duty this season.

Why me, you ask? Why should I get a column? Well, I don't have the first-hand experience of all the rest of our commentators, nor would I make a particularly good contestant on the show. But I've seen every Survivor episode many times, I'm just about the most obsessive Survivor fan ever, and I'm usually pretty observant. This is the only show I watch on TV and I have just about every minute of all three seasons committed to memory. And if you aren't interested in that, there will be a hidden naked picture of Anna Kournikova hidden in my column each week, so keep your eyes peeled.

Last season I was pretty much dead-on in a lot of my predictions. I predicted Lex to win before the season started, and he very well could have won if he hadn't caught dysentary at the end. But the most popular part of my columns last year were the POWER RANKINGS, which listed who was in the best position to win the game (in my opinion) after each week. So yes, the power rankings will return this season, starting at the bottom of this column. But first I want to talk a little about the new contestants for Survivor: Marquesas.

It's really impossible to predict who is the favorite to win before we actually see the show. Lots of sites pick their favorite, or who is most likely to win, but it's really just a stab in the dark. There's no way to predict group dynamics, or who will get along with whom. Well, okay, Brandon and Frank having issues you could pretty much predict, but that was an extreme situation. And since the entire focus of the game is group dynamics, and bonds that form between people, just trying to guess how a player will do based on a bio is pretty pointless. Tina Wesson is a good example. "Nurse and homemaker" sure doesn't sound like much on paper, but in the context of the game she turned into a pitbull. One thing I believe you can do, however, is pretty much rule out some people from ever winning this game. Based on age, life experience, and other factors, I believe you can rule out the following from winning this season: Patricia (too old and out of shape), Sarah (too young), Neleh (too young and unthreatening), Paschal (too old and conservative). There are others I suspect won't win, like Sean, Hunter, Kathy, and Robert, but for now I will just say that the first four people (Patricia, Sarah, Neleh, Paschal) can't win. It's just a cold, hard fact of life that certain demographics will not win Survivor.

From reading the bios, there are a few people that jump right out at me as looking like hardcore players. Tammy Leitner on Rotu looks like someone who was born to play this game. Zoe Zanidakis looks like a strong player, and John Carroll is another guy I think you will want to keep an eye on. Two wild cards are Gabriel Cade and Peter Harkey, who are both completely unlike anyone we have ever seen on this show. I really have nothing to base all these opinions on, other than past Survivor history and their respective ages and personalities. But Tammy is the one who jumped right off the page at me, and until I see the group dynamics of the two teams, I have to think she will get quite far in this game. Everyone and their mother likes to pick a winner before the season starts, so I'll be a sport and pick Tammy. But I reserve the right to change my pick once I see how the players start to bond.

I'm gonna end this first column with my initial power rankings. This ranks which players are most likely to win the game. These were a big hit last season, and I was usually pretty accurate with my rankings. Unfortunately I made the mistake of never ranking Ethan at #1 but, damnit, all common sense said that someone would have taken him out when they had the chance! But apparently females in the game of Survivor love Ethan just as much as females watching on TV do, and no one ever threw a vote at him the entire game. So oh well. I had Kim Johnson ranked at #2 for a long time, although I was as surprised as anyone when she got to the final vote. But here are the Survivor: Marquesas pre-season power rankings. This is based on absolutely nothing at all, and obviously will change once one team takes control of the game. So it's really just a reference for me to look back on when the season finishes, and see how close I was. Let's see if I am as close as I was last season .

1. Tammy Leitner (Rotu)
2. John Carroll (Rotu)
3. Zoe Zanidakis (Rotu)
4. Gina Crews (Maraamu)
5. Gabriel Cade (Rotu)*
6. Peter Harkey (Maraamu)*
7. Rob Mariano (Maraamu)
8. Vecepia Towery (Maraamu)
9. Sean Rector (Maraamu)
10. Hunter Ellis (Maraamu)
11. Kathy O Brien (Rotu)
12. Robert DeCanio (Rotu)
13. Neleh Dennis (Rotu)
14. Sarah Jones (Maraamu)
15. Paschal English (Rotu)
16. Patricia Jackson (Maraamu)

* These two I have absolutely no clue where to rank. Their personalities appear to be all over the charts and there's no precedent whatsoever to compare them to. I definitely have to see them in person before I make up my mind.

You can reach Mario at