January 30, 2015

Friday Live Blog – [11] Georgia @ [3] Florida

Friday, January 30
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Georgia @ Florida (Scores) (ESPN3)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Alabama @ Kentucky (Scores) (ESPN3)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Pittsburgh @ Kent State (Scores) (Stream)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Missouri, Lindenwood @ SEMO (Scores) (Stream)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Air Force @ Auburn (Scores) (ESPN3)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Maryland @ Iowa
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Boise State, UC Davis @ Utah State (Scores) (Stream)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU @ Southern Utah (Scores)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Washington, Sacramento State, Hamline @ Oregon State (Scores) (Stream)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Alaska @ Seattle Pacific (Stream)

Get ready. I'll be here for the Georgia/Florida meet and whatever other meets I happen to be glancing at at the time, which begins at 7:00 ET/4:00 PT on the SEC Network.

January 29, 2015

The Weekend Ahead – January 30th-February 2nd

In case you missed it, I was a guest on GymCastic this week, so you should give it a listen if you haven't already. Jessica and I talked Florida/Alabama, UCLA/Utah, Georgia/Kentucky, and the greatness of Tabitha Yim. 

Also earlier this week, Elizabeth Price recorded the seventh 10.0 of the young season, the sixth on vault. She continues to perform the full as she returns from injury (we'll expect more difficulty eventually once she is 100%), but she has such crazy amplitude that pretty much whenever she sticks she's going to be in line for a 10. Methinks this isn't the last 10 we'll see from her. Not much incentive to upgrade, is it?

Damn, girl.

Rounding out the discussion of things that have already happened, Oklahoma competed earlier today and continued to bolster their claim as the best team in the country with a 197.650. The Sooners currently own all three of the top scores recorded so far this season, and that trend can only be expected to continue as they head to Metroplex on Saturday, where everyone always gets an 11. 

Friday is going to be a little different this week. Normally, Friday is the night of main events with most of the top teams in action, but this weekend relatively few of the top teams showing their wares. Still, I'll be here blogging, and be sure to be ready right at the start because we do have a good one early on between Georgia and Florida. That will be a showdown. Florida enters as the favorite. Being the higher-ranked team, the stronger team, and the home team will usually do that for you. Plus, they will certainly be eager to erase the rancid taste of meh from their mouths coming off the disappointing loss to Alabama last weekend. No sucky handstands this time, deal? Deal. I fully expect a non-meh performance. That said, Georgia is in this thing and should come into town with optimism. They made huge strides against Kentucky by getting Rogers back in the lineup and hitting their least terrifying beam and floor rotations of the season. Recall last year, Georgia was leading this meet after three events and about to pull off the upset. Then, they had a beam fall and Florida had that infamous floor score. Does history repeat?

January 26, 2015

Week 3 Rankings and Notes

This weekend, we saw three more routines join the 10 club, with Ashley Lambert getting her second 10 on vault, and Brenna Dowell and Haley Scaman of Oklahoma getting their first 10s of the season on bars and vault respectively. We're on a pretty furious pace for 10s considering that it's only January 26th. Six 10s have been awarded so far, compared to two at this point last season. We've already seen more 10s in 2015 than in the whole 2012 season.

Dowell's 10 highlights why Oklahoma has included the DLO 1/1 in her routine. She doesn't get any SV benefit for it and could be doing the DLO instead, but since she's one of the rare gymnasts who can stick it while maintaining a pretty straight position throughout, it makes sense to put it in her routine so she can bank on the stuck DLO 1/1 WOW factor.

Now, to the rankings.

Week 3 Rankings - (Gym Info
1. Oklahoma - 197.325
Week 3: 197.850
Week 3 leaders: AA - None; VT - Scaman 10.000; UB - Dowell 10.000; BB - Capps 9.950; FX - Dowell 9.975

The Sooners regain their comfortable lead after a national-high 197.850 over the weekend, featuring the two 10s above. Two 10s in the same meet is perhaps not the accomplishment it used to be (both LSU and Florida also managed that last year), but it speaks to how far along this team is for January. They were looking solid for a 198 until floor, when having to count an OOB put them down to a paltry 49.275 and took them off the pace.

January 25, 2015

[11] Illinois @ [4] Michigan Live Blog

Let's get going!

The meet begins at 4:00 ET/1:00 PT.

If you're a BTN Plus subscriber, you can watch the meet here. Scores are here.

January 23, 2015

Friday Live Blog – UCLA @ Utah, Florida @ Alabama

Friday, January 23
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Western Michigan @ Kent State (Scores) (Stream)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Central Michigan @ Ball State (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Florida @ Alabama (Scores) (ESPN3
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – UCLA @ Utah (Scores) (Pac-12 Network)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO, TWU @ Oklahoma (Scores)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Arkansas @ Auburn (Scores) (ESPN3)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Lindenwood @ Northern Illinois (Scores) (CSL)
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Missouri @ LSU (Scores) (ESPN3)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Southern Utah @ Boise State (Scores)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Utah State @ BYU (Scores) (BYUtv)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – UC Davis @ Sacramento State (Scores) (Stream)

UCLA, Utah, Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn all going at the same time. What more could you want? Them all going separately so you could watch each of them? I know. Me too.

I'll be here to start blogging at 8:00 ET/5:00 PT. As I mentioned yesterday, I'll be doing a live blog for UCLA/Utah followed by a not-live blog for Florida/Alabama. It should be a good one.

January 22, 2015

The Weekend Ahead – January 23rd-26th

Get ready because Friday is a big one. All the top 4 teams, and 6 of the top 8 teams, will be in action at the exact same time. I'm already tired about it. I mean excited. But I really mean tired.

Oklahoma and Florida enter the weekend tied for the top spot in the nation after Florida recorded a national high of 197.200 last weekend while Oklahoma's first week lead dissipated during an uncharacteristically 9.4 beam rotation. Neither team seems more likely than the other to grab the #1 ranking after this weekend, and LSU, Michigan, and Utah are all within striking distance if things happen to go south for both of them.

Even though everything in the world is happening at once (not an exaggeration), the big grudge matches on Friday will be UCLA/Utah and Florida/Alabama, and for both of those meets, I'm just not pretending they could go either way to make it more interesting for myself. They really could. Here's my plan: Rather than having 18 panic attacks while trying to watch every routine from both of these meets at the same time like I'm a malfunctioning robot, I'm going to blog about UCLA/Utah as it's live, and record Florida/Alabama and then watch and write about it after UCLA/Utah. Deal? Deal. 

First, Utah/UCLA. As is always the case when UCLA and Utah square off at the beginning of the season like this, Utah comes in looking like the steadier team. The Utes have two hits meets in two weeks under their belt, while UCLA has those four falls from Monday under their belt. The key to a Utah victory will be exactly that. Stay steady, hit those routines, be the more consistent team, and let Dabritz do her thing. Utah, however, is still vulnerable to 9.825itis, so they're going to need stronger supporting scores than they've been getting so far to defeat a hit meet from UCLA.

The most important rotation for the Bruins will be beam. UCLA should be phenomenal on that event, which we saw flashes of on Monday, and if they hit beam to their capabilities, they can open up a major lead on Utah solely with that apparatus. Of course, hitting beam like beasts doesn't amount to much when you're counting a fall on floor and botching dismounts. Hint hint. There's no reason for that to be happening. Maybe they can use the inspiration of Katelyn Ohashi's commitment to get through the whole three passes this week.

As for Alabama, this is a pressure meet. It was always going to be a pressure meet because they have not lost in Tuscaloosa since that infamous February 2009 clash with LSU, but this new-look Alabama team is the underdog against the reigning co-champion. That pressure is only compounded after last weekend's shock loss and beam implosion against Arkansas. Is it bad that I kind of can't wait for Alabama's beam rotation tomorrow? All eyes will be on that. I know it's only January, but it's an important rotation. Hit, and they basically erase the Arkansas disaster. Miss, and their beam rotation is a thing. No one wants their beam to be a thing. The only step after thing is full-on balance beam situation. The horror.  

January 19, 2015