Well, with Asada bombing out of the GPF, Joubert off the podium at TEB and several other surprises, predicting this is rather silly. But I still have fun doing it, so here goes...
1. Nobunari Oda
2. Evan Lysacek
3. Samuel Contesti
4. Yannick Ponsero
5. Denis Ten
I think Oda will take his good result from TEB and run with it. He's got a program that works for him, a level of refinement that's quite strong already, and the ability to land great triples. Lysacek should be right behind - he's a strong competitor and very focused. I think he wants to prove that last year was no fluke.
Contesti vs Ponsero vs Ten for bronze, and I think Contesti's all around strong skills win out (see those statistic threads). Ponsero, as good as he is, is a bit wobbly and Ten is still new - I don't think he'll get the PCS he needs to make bronze.
1. Joannie Rochette
2. Rachel Flatt
3. Fumie Suguri
4. Carolina Kostner
5. Mirai Nagasu
This is Rochette's to lose. I don't think she will: that confident, 7-triple performance at the Japan Open really raised my expectations. Flatt has shown steadiness in her summer competitions (something virtually everyone in this field lacks) and I think she'll do well here. It's bronze that I'm curious about. Kostner.. she upended her training situation this for season, but it didn't work out for her at TEB. I think her problems are too broad to be instantly fixed in time for this competition. Suguri - she really wants to make this Olympic team. I know that sounds "well,duh" but will she be able to channel that into a successful GP season? And Nagasu's my wild card.
I don't want to overrate Shen/Zhao. After all, they have competed in three seasons, and Zhang/Zhang are quite strong and also, like S/Z, on home turf. I don't know who the Chinese Federation would support. I assume S/Z, simply because it's their last shot. Zhang/Zhang COULD be around for another cycle (I doubt it. This will be their third Olympics. Pretty cool, actually), but Shen/Zhao came out of retirement for one more chance at the brass ring. Given how underwhelming pairs skating has been this cycle, it'd be a pretty sweet ending to a great career that's had disappointing Olympic success (overshadowed by the controversy in 2002; the injury that took them out of competition for much of 2005/06 and seeing teammates get gifted points).
I think it's Ukraine vs Canada for the bronze, and V/M take it on the basis of a better 08/09 season (aka, I think they're better) and D/B's lack of refinement hurts them. I/M in fifth because I can't imagine any of the other teams beating them.
Belbin Agosto are Gold-Silver-Gold-Silver in this event, so now it's time for Gold. It is written (:D) But seriously, I don't think they have much of a challenge from K/N. Even if K/N are boosted due to chicanery, all that means to me is that K/N are guaranteed second. B/A would have to have another freak fall for that to rewrite itself F/S are in third for me - I don't think C/Z will quite able to catch up to them in their first senior GP. I have Z/Z ahead of Weaver/Poje just because I don't want to jinx the Canadian team. C/Z, Z/Z and W/P all have their personal best within five points of each other, and I could see them ending up in any 4th-6th positions.