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Note: The Amazing Race Analysis blog is a spoiler-free zone.  The Analysis below is based on statistics of the team’s age, gender and relationship profile.  Read on for some serious handicapping of The Amazing Race 24 teams

The Amazing Race 23 is starting up on February 23rd, and this will be the third season with returning racers.  In fact, three teams are returning for their third race!  The idea is that these are “All-Stars”, although none of these teams have won it all.  In fact, I wouldn’t classify these teams universally as popular, but they are, indeed, some of the most memorable teams to have raced in recent seasons.

All of these teams have a prior track record, but they are also in demographics that provide some insights on how they might perform relative to other demographics.  So let’s make a go at predicting the finish order of this group of racers.  This is a very inexact effort, using some small-number stats, and the TAR Producers have done the usual job of creating an evenly competitive group.

Using the basic demographic information available and the 22 prior seasons of 2-person team racing, let’s see what the stats say.

I examined the TAR 24 teams based on their age, relationship, and gender, and analyzed two things to come up with pre-season rankings:  First, I ranked them by how frequently a team of their composition made it to the eleventh leg of the race, typically the final four.  Making it to leg 11 indicates a deep run into the race and is a good indicator of success.  34% of all teams meet this bar.   So if a demographic makes it to leg 11 more than 34% of the time, they beat the average.   Second, if there is a tie in the average percentage to leg 11, I look at the average finish of that demographic.

As a third tiebreaker, I take into account the prior finish of the teams participating.

With full understanding that results will be different from the prediction, here is my stats-based view on how the teams will fare.

11.  David and Connor – Father/Son  (Average Finish: 7.6, 0% to leg 11)

David and Connor were heroic the last time they raced.  David, the father, ruptured his Achilles tendon in the first leg, then the team kept racing with David on crutches.  Even in this hobbled state, this intrepid father/son team actually got two first place finishes (one of them aided by an Express Pass given to them), before they had to bow out in 8th place overall and get David into surgery.  Even with this prior success, the demographics don’t look good for David and Connor.  No intergenerational team has won it all, and no father/son team has even made it to Leg 11.  If there is a team who can buck the odds, it’s these guys, who stay very fit and clearly race well together.

10. Mark and Bopper – Male Friends 40-50 (Average Finish: 6.8, 25% to leg 11)

Mark and Bopper bring lots of positivity and personality to the race, and we all want to see them do well.  They performed very well, actually doing the second best of teams in this demographic with a 5th place finish.  Art and JJ, the Border Control agents from Season 20 were the only ones to exceed them with a second place finish.  I’m not sure if Mark and Bopper have the strength and stamina to win it all, but we do want to see them stay in the race as long as possible.  Go Team Kentucky!

9. Natalie and Nadiya – Sisters under 30 (Average Finish: 6.4, 25% to leg 11)

Natalie and Nadiya, who were most memorable for being loud the first time through, made it to a 4th place finish in their prior effort.  It should be noted in the last “All-Star” edition of the Amazing Race, siblings LaKisha and Jen won it all, so perhaps there is precedent that the “twinnies” can pull ahead of the competition.  Unfortunately, overall, sisters teams haven’t lit up the scoreboard on the whole, leaving these twins with a pre-season rank of 9.

8. Brendon and Rachel – Married 30-40 (Average Finish: 6.4, 25% to Leg 11)

Rachel was a study in emotional breakdowns the last time she raced.  Nonetheless, they kept it together as a team to make it to a 3rd place finish.  Rachel and Brendon were engaged at the time of their prior race and now they are married, putting them in a new demographic.  The exemplars from this group were Dave and Rachel, who dominated the Season 20 competition to a first place finish.  I don’t see the same overall capability in Brendon and Rachel.  However, Rachel has won Big Brother, so perhaps she can bring that competitive ability and take down the competition?  Expect another head-shaving challenge to test this.

7.  Joey and Meghan – Male/Female Friends under 30 (Average Finish 6.0, 25% to Leg 11)

Joey and Meghan finish fifth the last time they raced, but they didn’t really light up the scoreboard while racing.  They always seemed to be somewhere between 4th and 6th place.  They are perhaps a little more worldly than their first time through, and the prior experience will help them, but the competition will be that much tougher.   Can these YouTube hosts manage to break out of the pack?

6.  Margie and Luke – Mother/Son (Average Finish: 5.8, 25% to Leg 11)

Margie and Luke have competed twice before, garnering 8th place and 3rd place finishes.  As stated above, no intergenerational team has won The Amazing Race, but given their experience this could be a possibility.   Margie has always proven to be one of the most capable all-around racers, so if there is the right mix of challenges and Luke steps it up, who knows?

5. Caroline and Jen – Female Friends 25-35 (Average Finish 6.4, 33% to Leg 11)

Caroline and Jen were a lot like Joey and Meghan when they raced.  They always finished toward the middle, and never toward the top, eventually leaving the race in 4th place overall.  There are now in the demographic that Nat and Kat were in when they won it all, so don’t count these country singers out.  An Express Pass here, a Fast Forward there, and they could make a deep run.

4. Flight Time and Big Easy – Male Friends 30-40 (Average Finish 7.6, 42% to Leg 11)

Flight Time and Big Easy have a great track record – a fourth place finish, in which they were thwarted by the Kafka challenge in Season 15 and then a strong second place finish in the Season 18 All-Star edition.  Unless the TAR Producers bring back the Kafka challenge, these guys have what it takes to win it all.

3. John and Jessica – Dating 30 and under (Average Finish 5.1, 48% to leg 11)

Heterosexual dating couples under 30 are consistently high performers.  John and Jessica were on track to contributing to that success the first time they raced, with a first leg win and an Express Pass in hand.  Then John’s overconfidence prevented them from using the Express Pass, and they were summarily eliminated very early in their season.  We can expect that John and Jessica will be more aware of where they stand in relation to the competition this time, and I expect that they will be motivated to show they can finish higher than 9th.

2. Leo & Jamal – Cousins (Male Siblings/Cousins Average Finish: 5.1, 48% to leg 11)

The self-proclaimed “Afghanimals” had lots of energy when they competed just last season, eventually coming in 4th.  If they can bring back that same energy, they will, indeed, be one of the top teams.  They are battle-tested, and the back-to-back racing means that they are probably on top of their game.  Few teams in the group can out-run these guys, so if they can race mistake-free, they should be considered one of the favorites.

1. Jet and Cord – Brothers 30-40 (Average Finish: 4.8, 60% to leg 11)

“Oh My Gravy,” Jet and Cord are the team to beat.  This is their third try after 2nd place and 6th place finishes.  These guys are full-time athletes, they are used to being on the road, they’ve seen all of the challenges the TAR Producers know how to throw at them, and they are charming.  They are easy to root for.  And they are good.  The way these guys can be eliminated is via U-Turns, but who would have the heart to U-Turn these fun-loving cowboys?

As stated above, these predictions are sure not to come true, but I have three predictions that will:  The TAR producers will dress the teams up in extra ridiculous costumes, the challenges will be a bit harder and Phil will arch his eyebrow extra high.

We’re looking forward to Season 24 of TAR!   Keep reading the Amazing Race Analysis blog for more analysis!

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