Handicapping the Final 5 on Survivor

It’s that time of year again… Survivor is wrapping up Season 26 tonight. So before we sit down for 3 hours of finale and reunion show goodness, who’s got the best chance to win it all?

Cochran – 3 to 2


The Harvard graduate and Survivor super-fan has played a nearly perfect game thus far. He seems to be thinking a step ahead of everyone else and he’s managed to do that without pissing anyone off. He’s not a threat to win challenges but Cochcoran doesn’t seem to have a problem using his brain to manipulate the others left in the game.

He’s the smartest one left on the island by about 100 IQ points, so in a game of strategy, my money’s on him. Out of the remaining contestants, he has played the best game up to this point. His likability has skyrocketed since his first season and he’s also been one of the most entertaining interviews this season. I look forward to his one-on-ones with the camera in the finale.

Cochran’s only problem is that Survivor history isn’t on his side. Players who have played the best up to the final 5 rarely win because they become a target right before the final vote. The others know that they won’t be able to beat him in the finals, especially when he can rely on his Harvard Law rhetoric in front of a jury.

The good thing for Cochran is that he is a student of Survivor and is well aware of this problem. It seems like he is on good terms with Dawn, and having a pair in the final 5 might be enough to take him to the end. If he gets to the final three, he’s got much better than a 33% chance to win it all.

Eddie – 5 to 1


I can’t believe that Eddie is still around considering his back has been against the wall since Day 1. He’s gotten some help from his amigos who are now on the jury and the last two weeks he was the beneficiary of the core alliance going after its own members. He thought he was going home at least 5 different times, yet somehow he has a one in five shot at the million bucks.

In fact, I think his odds are even better than that and here’s why. Eddie can easily win two immunity challenges and guarantee himself a spot in the finals. He’s by far the biggest physical threat left in the game. He also has some leverage now that he’s seen that the core alliance is all but broken up. If he’s smart enough, he will actually make his first real move of the game and form a three person alliance with Sherri and Erik.

Also working in Eddie’s favor is that he’s got a ton of friends on the jury (Malcolm, Andrea, Reynold or Reynolds depending on who you talk to) and he could easily get the necessary jury votes to win. For the first time in the game, Eddie is a real threat and as dead as he looked on Day 5, he’s very much alive on Day 35.

Erik – 7 to 1


Despite the fact that Erik went a little crazy last week and climbed what looked like a 100 foot tree in search of a coconut, I think he’s still got a good chance to win it all. He’s been the swing vote very often this season but he hasn’t really pissed anyone off. (This jury doesn’t seem like a very bitter one in general, but we haven’t seen Brenda there yet and she has every right to be bitter).

Like Eddie, he’s capable of winning one of the final two immunity challenges. I just don’t know how well he will be able to persuade a jury to vote for him after he gets to the finals. He hasn’t given the viewer any reason to believe that he can persuade or manipulate anyone else, including a jury.

Erik hasn’t really done anything memorable in the game but he also hasn’t burned any bridges. Kind of just a middle of the road competitor left that could easily sneak into the final three but would then struggle to win it all.

Sherri – 12 to 1

Second Episode

I didn’t mean for the two ladies to end up with the lowest odds, but after giving it some thought, the ladies are going to have hard time winning it all. Sherri jumped ship from the fans alliance, latching on to the favorites and somehow she is still there. Kind of like how Eddie survived, there were bigger fish to fry than Sherri, so she’s hung around. She’s going to have a very hard time garnering jury votes, especially from any of the fans.

I guess she can argue that she was just doing what she had to do to advance herself in the game but I don’t think that’s going to coax any jurors (fans or favorites) into writing her name down. She might slide by to the final three, but she doesn’t have much a game to fall back on when questioned and there are at least 2 more deserving players left.

Dawn – 25 to 1


Dawn’s crazy. She’s paranoid and lost her mind sometime in between losing her false teeth in the bottom of a lagoon and  demanding the hidden immunity idol from Andrea. The entire jury really dislikes her (as evidenced by the most recent Ponderosa dinner conversation) and she can’t ever seem to make up her mind.

She’s basically paired up with Cochran which might help both of them reach the final three but there is no scenario in which Dawn wins the million dollars. I remember really liking her the last time she played but this time she’s been stricken with paranoia since she stepped on the island. Her recent craziness along with her poor jury favor make her this year’s long shot to win it all.

Can’t wait for tonight! It’s amazing that after 26 seasons, this show remains one of the best on TV.


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