Amazing Race 15: Preseason Team Rankings

Thread contains information about TAR teams gleaned from the official CBS website. No spoilers, per se, but be wary if you like to be “surprised” by the “unique aspects” of the teams.

A new season of The Amazing Race premiers Sunday Sept 27 at 8:00/7:00c with a two-hour first episode (that may also be football-delayed, if history is any judge). Those of you who record, set your timers correctly!

The official CBS site promises “first-ever twists,” which could either be some really cool new conundrums forcing the Racers to make difficult travel choices with insufficient information, or hackneyed arbitrary tasks left over from Big Brother. I hope for the former, but fear the latter.

In the spirit of “first-ever twists” left over from other venues, I thought it would be fun to do what folks do to teams in every other competitive arena, which is rank them before the season starts, based on appearance and reputation rather than actual performance. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. So, with this season’s twelve teams, it’s time for the first-ever:

Taxi Assessment: Preseason Edition

Stuck in the Desert and Officially Detained - or, Philiminated with extreme prejudice.
Not yet, but just you wait! Phil will not be denied!

Flat Tire - or, not likely to get anywhere soon.
No one yet. I may be cavalierly ranking teams based on nothing more than CBS’s version of their bio, but I’m not willing to rank anyone this low until they prove their incompetence. Luckily, if past seasons are any guide, this category should be full pretty soon.

Stopping for Gas - or, not broken-down, exactly, but not a good sign.
Marcy and Ron (Thumbnail Description: Old people) - The token old-people team, but with a twist: they’re not a happily-married couple, they’re dating, and “hope the Race will reinforce the strengths of their relationship and identify potential areas of conflict.” So they’re both old and fighting between themselves, which are two of the three biggest handicaps you’ll find on the Race (the third being, “acting like a complete moron;” jury’s still out on that one). On the plus side, they’ve “traveled extensively,” and Marcy speaks several languages, so they get to play the “experience will triumph over youth” card. However, I’m not seeing their strengths overshadowing their weaknesses. First team out.
Maria and Tiffany (TD: Brunettes) - These two are poker players. Poker. Now, their bio does describe them as “well-traveled,” so that’s a plus. And they should have a better time than most analyzing odds in “needle-in-a-haystack” type challenges, so that’s another plus. But you’re not exactly going to bluff away the elephant poop or tandem bikes or circus clowns that pop up in the majority of tasks. And poker isn’t known as a team sport, either. I don’t see these two going very far, but at least they’ll have something to do in Sequesterville.
Mika and Canaan (TD: Tenneseean couple) - Newly dating couple, very much in love. They’ve never traveled anywhere, but “they have no doubt that their love will take them to the finish line.” That’s… kind of creepy. The sum total of their Race qualifications seem to be that they’re young and good-looking, which admittedly are admirable qualities we should all strive for, but don’t quite make this team final-three material.
Garrett and Jessica (TD: Dark-haired couple) - On-and-off dating couple, “fiercely independent” and “passionate.” Translation: they fight all the time." Also, “Garrett and Jessica believe that this experience may be the final make or break moment in their relationship.” Translation: “They fight all the time, and they really mean it.” Sheesh. Will people never learn? On the plus side, they seem bright and creative, so it’s likely they might do very well for a short time…but once they hit a snag, it’s gonna get ugly. (In the “unfortunate copyediting” department: Jessica “enjoys being physically and mentally challenged.” Hee hee. You go, girl!)

“Rapido! Por Favor?” - or, making meaningless ineffectual comments from the back seat, but in no immediate danger.
Lance and Keri (TD: Other dark-haired couple) - This team’s a thiry/forty-ish dating couple. One that wants to “test their relationship, communication skills and their physical breaking points” on the Race. That’s like the third couple so far that’s using the the Race to somehow test their relationship. You’d think that people would figure out be now, after fourteen seasons, that “testing our relationship” under stressful an unnatural conditions is Not A Good Idea. Are people really that dumb…or are they just saying what CBS wants to hear? Someone ought to analyze the most-common features of every team over the years to come up with a list of most-requested properties, much like those Russian guys did for paintings. Probably twenty-three year old lesbian Southern California beauty queens who are afraid of heights testing their relationship but determined to have fun and win money in order to have children. Plus one’s a dwarf. Anyway, that’s beside the point. In this team, Lance “has an über-aggressive personality and is admittedly confrontational,” so it looks like we’ve found the designated villian of this season.
Zev and Justin (TD: Buddies) - Zev has Asberger’s, and Justin took him to Vegas to lose his virginity. Their bio claims that “their relationship is spontaneous and unedited.” Looks like this team is “those guys,” for better or worse…and probably for worse. It takes a special kind of charm to be both boorish and endearing, and I see no indication that this team’s got it. On the other hand, it looks like Zev is this season’s Racer Overcoming Something-or-other, so maybe the editing will focus on the endearing.
Eric and Lisa (TD: Hippy blonde couple) - Hippy-dippy married couple, but in a good way. I think. They’re not trying to solidify a marriage or test their relationship or anything like that, so they seem to have a leg up on a lot of the competition. And they’re hippy-yoga-mellow, which I think on the whole is a good thing. But are they too mellow to win the Race?
Gary and Matt (TD: Dad & son) - A father-and-son team, which might be interesting. Gary’s among the older Racers this time out, but not that old (translation: he’s older than I am, but not that much older than I am). Their bio emphasizes their differences, and their desire to bond better, and open up to each other, and blah-blah-blah. What CBS wants to hear. I think the whole pre-existing “I used to change your diapers” dynamic might be a problem, and this team doesn’t strike me as the best-prepared one, but they could be a dark horse.

In the Passing Lane - or, ahead of the pack, but not quite comfortably.
Sam and Dan (TD: Brothers) - The token gay team, BUT – and here’s the twist – they’re brothers! And from a very conservative background, so kind of like last season’s Mel & Mike, minus the old and (presumably) minus the funny. However, they’re a young male team, and siblings seem to do well on the Race, so this is a team to watch.
Brian and Ericka (TD: Interracial couple) - Ericka’s a beauty queen (surprise surprise), but the twist with this team is they’re the first interracial couple on the Race. And they want to “win over the hearts and minds of The Amazing Race audience by proving that true love is color blind.” And…is this for real, or did CBS put those words in their mouth? I mean, I know it wasn’t that long ago that mixed marriages were verboten, but I honestly didn’t think that in 2009 the bulk of the country needs to be “won over” by someone who was already crowned Miss America. Maybe I’m naive. Anyway, this team looks like they’re being pitched as the goodest of the good guys, which would be odd if they wound up booted early. They look like they’ve got a positive attitude and a strong team dynamic and play well with other children, so I’m cautiously optimistic.
Meghan and Cheyne (TD: Other blonde couple) - Now this might be an interesting team to watch. It’s a young dating couple, which isn’t exactly rare on the Race, but they’ve also known each other over half their lives. They also cite “the power of positive thinking and their athleticism” as their strong suits. I admit that I kind of rolled my eyes at the “positive thinking” thing, but… y’know, that’s not exactly the worst kind of attitude a team can have on the Race. If it keeps them cool under pressure, this team might be very good.
Herbert and Nathaniel (TD: Basketball Players) - Harlem Globetrotters! OK, this team looks pretty damn good on paper: two guys who are athletes, on the same team, used to travelling all over the world. Sort of the very definition of an alpha male team. Looks like the team to beat.

Cruisin’ with Earl - or, drivin’ on the shoulder, takin’ shortcuts, and generally kickin’ butt.
No one for a few weeks yet.

So how’s my prognostication? Find out on Sunday!

[sub]Props to Mullinator and his Raj Ratings.[/sub]

Excellent intro to the new season of one of my favorite shows – thanks, zut!

This is an exact quote from me, when I saw the first TAR commercial that had Herbert and Nathaniel in it: “HARLEM [EXPLETIVE] GLOBETROTTERS!” Then I said it again, repeatedly, sometimes while jumping up and down. My daughter thinks I am hysterical. My husband thinks it is time to hide the liquor. I don’t even like the Harlem Globetrotters, particularly, although I think they’re perfectly entertaining.

I just think this is the best “stuntcasting” ever. As if I needed another reason to watch TAR, now they have the HARLEM [EXPLETIVE] GLOBETROTTERS! (It’s like 500% more awesome that they seem, so far, like actual nice guys.)

And I look forward to the rankings, as always.

You know, I like the Globetrotters just fine, but I’d rather see ordinary people in the race. The chance to travel around the world is a very special opportunity; I’d rather see it go to people who haven’t already travelled the world.

The same might apply to the poker players, depending on how successful they’ve been. Is anybody happy when a rich person wins the lottery?
ETA: Damn, forgot to include my new sig.

It’s gotten to the point where I look forward to the rankings more than the actual show.

I’ve missed the last few seasons, but due to a change in my work hours (yay for getting canned!), I’ll be up for watching this time.

Expect me to ask lots of questions, as I’ve missed any rule or format changes, and most likely won’t know what the heck is going on.

I’m entering the Fantasy Team game over at CBS. I picked the Globetrotters and Meghan/Cheyne to be my top two this first week, so that makes me happy they are at the top in zut’s rankings too! I cannot wait for the show to start tonight!

Should I be worried that there’s no mention of the new season on iTunes yet?

Last season I bought all the episodes to avoid football delays and commercials.

In case iTunes ends up not carrying it this year, how soon are the full episodes up at

Survivor and Big Brother episodes have been on the next morning. (w/ commercials). Not sure about TAR, but I suspect it is similar.

Last season, TAR episodes were typically posted around 7:00am Eastern Monday morning.

I am already mortified to be from Massachusetts. Also? I want to punch Eric and Lisa in the throats.

This new twist sucks.

Oh, and “Sam and Dan”? The almost Winchesters!

I’ll go one farther: I don’t even watch the show (never really have), but I always look for the Taxi Assessments in the relevant thread.

I like it. It’s nasty. Also liked the wasabi bomb.

I missed the first 10 minutes or so. What’s the new twist?

I’ve got a three-way tie for most obnoxious: Lance and the female poker players. On the other hand, I rather like the gay team.

They started with 12 teams and threw in a challenge right up front, so the last team to complete the first task didn’t even leave the first location before being eliminated.

The Montana folks seem cool, as do the Globetrotters. And they both did well. My early choices for who to like.

Man though it seemed to good to be true The asshole Lawyer was so close to leaving before it started and the Poker chicks should have been gone :frowning:

It could be worse. You could be a poker player/yoga instructor.

Don’t see enough of you on the boards these days. Hope you’re well.

I’m with you, then. The new twist does suck for both the team and the viewers. How can we get to know them and cheer for them or root against them if they get less than 10 minutes of screen time? As it was I needed Zut’s Taxi Assessment to sort out who was who.

I was pretty sure I would not like Maria and Tiffany as i remember Tiffany was irritating during the 2008 World Series of Poker Main event. They didn’t disappoint me. yeech.

I really liked Justin and Zev. “Duck Whisperer” They probably won’t go far, but I found both endearing.

The Montana team are only memorable because they said it several times, and they did kick ass on duck herding.

The B-ball (HG?) team were likable.

I am ambivalent about the rest of the teams because there are too many of them, too many to remember

Episode 1, teams herded Japanese game show audience members
Episode 2, teams herded Vietnamese ducks

Any task involving animals is going to be comical.