Comparisons across seasons are difficult. Judges and technical controllers clearly get more lenient as the Olympics approaches. Anyway it was never my point that AC would win a medal at the Olympics.
I suppose the main point I meant to make was this: the relevant question is: By what criteria ought we decide who gets the "luxury" third spot? My view is that it ought to go to AC (so long as she is decent at Nationals). (E.g., third place should not go to Zawadzki yet again, no matter how scintillating her SP is, if she can't get through her LP without at least two major errors.)