Scott D. Pierce: Why Utahn will not win 'Survivor'

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Utahn Dawn Meehan has a one-in-five chance of winning $1 million in the season finale of "Survivor" (Sunday, 7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2) — because she's one of five remaining contestants.

But the odds are longer than that. The Brigham Young University English professor who lives in South Jordan is an underdog, and she faces an uphill climb to be the sole survivor.

Of course "Survivor" is full of surprises. But here are reasons Meehan will — or will not — win:

Dawn won't win • Because she won't make it to the final three. She's not exactly great at individual immunity challenges. She won the most recent, but Brenda Lowe insisted she threw it to Dawn. (Maybe. Maybe not.)

Dawn will win • Because she's not seen as a huge threat and is, thus, more likely to be taken to the final three by another contestant.

Dawn won't win • Because, at 42, she's the oldest player left. That's not fair, but older players generally don't win. Of the previous 25 winners, only one was older than Meehan. The average age of the other 24 winners was 30.

Dawn will win • Because she hasn't really angered too many members of the jury. So they won't hold a grudge against her.

Dawn won't win • Because she betrayed Malcolm Freberg. He may influence other jurors.

Dawn will win • Because she's a nice person who comes across as exactly who she is — a mom. And who wouldn't vote for their mom?

Dawn won't win • Because she's perceived as a follower, not a leader. She rode the coattails of the much-disliked Phillip Sheppard for most of the season, and never made any sort of big move. Even the blindsiding of Brenda on Wednesday was Cochran's idea.

Dawn will win • Because she's got a great pitch. The money could really help her and her husband and their six adopted kids.

Dawn might win • If Sherri Biethman makes it to the final three. Because nobody likes Sherri.

Dawn won't win • If John Cochran makes it to the final three. He seems like a lock.

Dawn might win • If she's not injured in Sunday's episode. We're led to believe one of the remaining five won't be able to continue. If it's not Dawn, that means she is one step closer.

Dawn won't win • Because of her crying jags. Emotional outbursts are seen as a sign of weakness — and that sort of behavior has hurt contestants in past seasons.

Dawn won't win • Because of her paranoia. She's freaked out more than once, convinced she was a target when nobody was after her. That's another behavior that has hurt contestants.

Dawn will win • Because on "Survivor," you should expect the unexpected. And because sometimes nice guys don't finish last.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.