February 28, 2013

The Weekend Ahead – March 1-3

This week, it's all happening on Friday. I expect Florida to be having approximately none of Oklahoma's high scoring ways. Get on 198 watch for the Gators. Also watch for Minnesota's scores in that meet because the Gophers desperately need a road 196 to contend for a 3rd seed at a Regional. Oklahoma will be visiting Texas Woman's (Shouldn't it be Texas Women's? This really bothers me), and I expect a scoring letdown from last week. Although, the meet is in Texas, so we never know. 

The most interesting meets of the day should be Georgia/LSU and UCLA/Alabama. That Georgia/LSU meet will be all about the beam. Pack rations because it could be a national disaster. I'm calling that whoever wins beam wins the meet because the teams are pretty evenly matched on vault, Georgia has the big edge on bars, and LSU has the big edge on floor.

UCLA has fallen a few spots in the rankings but still has an outside shot to pass Alabama after this meet. The Bruins have a 196.150 that needs dropping, so even a high 196 (regardless of the result) would do wonders. Note the telling comments in the above video about how certain people need to get in on certain events that they haven't been competing at all. I'm skeptical, but if it happens we could have an interesting convergence where UCLA is beefing up lineups while Alabama is using backups to fill in for Gutierrez.

Saturday is a little sparse, but Michigan is in action along with Penn State. I haven't seen Penn State yet this year and am eager to evaluate how the team looks after two consecutive 196.700s.

The non-NCAA scene invades a little bit this weekend with the Nastia Cup on Friday, which is available only to the eleven and a half people who get Universal Sports. I hope we at least get some videos from the competition because it is a good way to scout future top NCAA talent. Then, on Saturday, we have the American Cup. I haven't even thought about elite since last year, but there's not a ton of interesting action after Friday, and it'll be fun to blog the event with an NCAA perspective. We'll greet our new US seniors and rate Val's level of interest in the Canadians.

Note that the Oregon State/Stanford meet will be starting at 7:00 Pacific on Friday even though many schedules list the start time as 5:30 Pacific.

Top 25 Schedule

February 27, 2013

Regionals Outlook and RQS Update

There is a lot of text coming up, so I have included this unrelated image of Vanessa Zamarripa hitting a handstand to put you in a comfortable place.

While the official distribution of Regional Championships assignments is still a month away, now that RQS is in effect, we begin to see a fairly reliable image of how those Regionals might look. At Regionals, the seeds are distributed in the following ridiculous way:

Regional 1: Seeds 1, 12, 13
Regional 2: Seeds 2, 11, 14
Regional 3: Seeds 3, 10, 15
Regional 4: Seeds 4, 9, 16
Regional 5: Seeds 5, 8, 17
Regional 6: Seeds 6, 7, 18

Because the goal is to finish in the top 2 at Regionals, the top seed ends up with the most difficult job, having to outscore the #13 team, while the #6 and #7 teams must merely outscore the #18 team. This increases the likelihood of top seed upsets but hardly provides much incentive to be the #1 team. This year, however, the seeding might actually work out in the most interesting way because of the hosting situation, but we'll get to that in a minute.

These seeding assignments remain intact unless there is a hosting contradiction where two hosts would end up placed in the same Regional (obviously impossible), in which case the distribution is adjusted slightly. This year's hosts are as follows: Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, Oregon State, West Virginia, and Ohio State.

February 25, 2013

Week 8 Rankings and Notes

Sirs and madams, we have arrived in the land of RQS.

1. Oklahoma - 197.410
Week 8: 198.375
Week 8 leaders: AA - Olson 39.700; VT - Kmieciak, Kanewa, Olson 9.925; UB - Kmieciak, Olson, Spears 9.925; BB - Brewer 9.950; FX - Scaman 9.975

After the colossal score over the weekend, Oklahoma has become the prettiest, most popular girl at the county fair. Like all prettiest girls at the county fair, though, the real test will come when she tries to make it in LA. Because the Sooners already are (essentially) guaranteed the top seed at their own Regional and have a massive RQS, they are kind of done with this regular-season nonsense. They could get 194s for the rest of the year. Expect them to use this opportunity (especially the double home weekend on the 8th and 10th) to rest the most fragile to stay as healthy as possible. It's a difficult balance, though, because there are still a number of refinements to be made on routines. They can't stay at this level.

2. Florida - 197.280 
Week 8: 196.975
Week 8 leaders: AA - None; VT - Hunter 9.975; UB - Sloan 9.975; BB - Dickerson, Stageberg 9.875; FX - King 9.950

Oklahoma taking over the lead is the best thing that could have happened to Florida. Nobody likes a preordained champion, and the Gators were starting to fall into the very strange position of being the boring choice to win even though they've never won before. Now, a little of the attention is off them for a week or two. (Watch, they'll get a 210 next week.)

There was some degree of experimentation with Florida's lineup over the weekend, so I wouldn't read too much into the low scores from the likes of Bridgey Caquatto (though it is a shame because it doesn't really make a case for her staying in these lineups), but the beam performance raises some flags with two low scores coming after a fall. This team hasn't been that unstoppable on beam even when they hit, but previously they had been very controlled and strong performing after mistakes. Don't let this be a 2011, Gators.

February 23, 2013

[10] Stanford @ [7] Utah Live Blog

The meet will get underway at 10:00 ET/7:00 PT on the Pac-12 Network. Enjoy!

UCLA @ Oklahoma in Review

A free replay of the UCLA/Oklahoma meet is available HERE. Excellent. What wonderful service you have here. I'll be making notes about the meet as I go along as if it were a live blog. I'm very interested to see how I feel about this scoring and the quality of the teams. By all accounts it was the best meet for both teams this season.

February 22, 2013

All the Gymnastics Ever - Friday Live Blog

Friday – 2/22/13
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [23] Kentucky @ [1] Florida Scores
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Iowa State @ [9] Nebraska Scores Video(free)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Pittsburgh, Bridgeport, George Washington @ [17] Maryland Scores
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [8] Georgia @ Missouri Scores  Video(free)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [5] UCLA @ [2] Oklahoma Scores
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [4] Alabama @ [19] Arkansas Scores
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [6] LSU @ [14] Auburn Score Video(paid)
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [12] Minnesota @ Iowa
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [22] Washington @ Arizona State Scores Video(free)
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [15] Arizona, Seattle Pacific @ [11] Oregon State Scores Video(free)

We're about to get underway with a very busy Friday of meets, featuring seven of the top ten teams and eleven of the top fifteen.

February 21, 2013

The Weekend Ahead – February 22-24

The most interesting meet of the weekend should be the Friday showdown of top 5 teams, Oklahoma and UCLA. Based on recent quality of performance, the Sooners will be expected to win. For UCLA, this meet is about recovering from last week's drab performance and showing a bit more 9.900 gymnastics (if it can be mined in the course of a week). DeJesus will be returning to the lineup. Oklahoma could potentially use a big home score to jump up to #1 in the rankings.

I'll be blogging the whole mess of action on Friday as usual, especially because nearly all of the top teams and best meets are happening at the exact same time (thanks, scheduling). Watch out for LSU on the road where the Tigers could ride another big road score to a serious RQS. On Saturday, Stanford and Utah will be featured in the Pac-12 Network evening meet. Also, don't forget about Michigan competing early on Sunday. It's often easy to forget about the Sunday meets.

There is some inclement weather happening this week, and it has already begun wreaking havoc on the schedule. Boise State has been forced to withdraw from the Nebraska meet, but Denver  charitably allowed them to join in on their Saturday meet instead. This is especially helpful since Boise State does not yet have an RQS and would have been off the rankings next week without an away meet this weekend.

Top 25 Schedule

February 20, 2013

Hall of 10s and RQS Update

Here are your five entries in the 2013 Hall of 10s after seven weeks of the season:

Mackenzie Caquatto - UB

Vanessa Zamarripa - VT

Tory Wilson - VT

February 18, 2013

Week 7 Rankings and Notes

1. Florida – 197.296 (RQS: 197.280)
Week 7: 197.300
Week 7 leaders: AA - Sloan 39.600; VT - Hunter 9.950; UB - Sloan 9.950; BB - Hunter, M Caquatto, Sloan 9.875; FX - Dickerson 9.875

Florida looked perfectly strong but not unbeatable over the weekend. Obviously, there are brilliant routines on this team, especially on bars. Bridget Sloan's UB routine from Friday contends for the best routine I've seen this season on any event. What also stood out, and may not be evident from the scores, was the lack of secure landings on both vault and floor. The Gators can be much better than they showed and will need to be (but we have a month). I'm becoming very interested in how these lineups will develop over the next few weeks, particularly regarding Johnson's return and who competes bars and beam. 

2. Oklahoma – 197.171 (RQS: 197.225)
Week 7: 197.450
Week 7 leaders: AA - Olson 39.550; VT - Scaman 9.900; UB - Olson 9.950; BB - Brewer 9.950; FX - Spears 9.900

Interestingly enough, the biggest issue for Oklahoma this past week came on beam where the Sooners had a fall from Alexander and a 9.750 from Spears. That's unusual and very unlikely to become a thing. Just pretend it didn't happen. Eight 9.9s, while not as high as the ten 9.9s we saw last week, is a very good number for February. This team is on track but can still turn a few more of those vault and floor 9.850s into 9.900s, which will be necessary to stave off an Alabama surge. I'm already looking forward to that mid-March meet against the Tide, which should tell us a great deal going into postseason.

3. Michigan – 196.939 (RQS: 196.905)
Week 7: 197.375
Week 7 leaders: AA - Sampson 39.600; VT - Beilstein, Colbert, Sugiyama 9.875; UB - Martinez 9.950; BB - Martinez 9.900; FX - Sampson 9.975

It had been almost a month since Michigan showed a 197, so the Wolverines were due. The huge 49.625 floor score will be the focal point (we can't declare the death of Crisler scoring because they didn't compete in Crisler this week), but those kinds of scores don't tend to hold up week to week. What's more important is their overcoming problems on bars and beam. The bars rotation saw an issue from Beilstein and a lower-than-normal score with an odd judging spread from Zurales, who is usually among the strongest, but that (along with three scores under 9.8 on beam) was not reflected in the finals scores because the team erased it with other strong numbers. That's a quality that several other high-profile teams did not display last weekend and will be crucial if maintained.

February 16, 2013

[4] UCLA @ [13] Oregon State Live Blog

UCLA has recorded two consecutive high 196s, and with all of the Bruins' closest rivals consistently going into the 197s now, it is becoming more imperative that UCLA follow suit. I'm not sure it's going to happen today, but it's always a possibility. UCLA will need a 197.225 today to retain the #4 position in the rankings, and that score would be a victory, especially on the road. DeJesus will be missing the meet again this week after her concussion, so look for some lineup adjustment, especially if they hold the likes of Zamarripa off certain events to rest her for the coming weeks.

The Beavers started this season as poorly as is possible but have settled into a nice little low-mid 196 niche. Stambaugh is by far the scoring leader, but I have concerns about how many routines exist that can consistently score anywhere higher than 9.850. I'll be counting that during this meet. If the Beavers are to be a top 12 Regionals seed, that number has to start increasing. There's a pretty bit gap right now between the top 10 and the Beavers, but they're also falling behind the likes of Auburn. 

[1] Florida @ [9] Georgia Live Blog

Florida set the standard with the 198.100 last weekend. Now, a merely good score like a 197.300 would seem like a letdown, and with the talent of this team and the way they are performing, it probably would be a letdown. In the rankings, Florida needs just a mid-196 to stay ahead of Oklahoma, so that should not be a concern. Rhonda is correct in the above interview about how peaking early has not really been an issue this season because the Gators are not putting out all of their best gymnasts in the all-around every week. Either because of injury or conscious resting, they are keeping people off events fairly regularly.

Georgia is coming off a rough one against Kentucky, where the beam rotation was filled with so much tentative acrobatics (and all the falling). While Earls has done an excellent job in the anchor position, especially these last few weeks, there is enough uncertainty in those first four positions (where we'll often see at least one lower score) that the rotation really rises and falls with Shayla in the fifth spot. Last week, beam was lost before we even got to Earls. If Shayla hits this week, I don't foresee a problem.

In the rankings, Georgia has an opportunity to move up and needs just a 196.300 to move ahead of Utah after the Utes' low score last night. Nebraska is yet to compete, so we don't know what score Georgia will need to move ahead of the Huskers, but the Gymdogs could also move ahead of LSU with a 197.300.

February 15, 2013

Friday Scores – Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU

Friday Schedule:
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Missouri @ [17] Kentucky Scores Video(All-access)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [24] Central Michigan @ [22] Kent State Video
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Perfect 10 Challenge ([2] Oklahoma, [16] Boise State, BYU, Texas Women's) Scores
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [20] Arkansas @ [7] LSU Scores
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [15] Auburn @ [5] Alabama Scores Video
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [6] Utah @ [23] Washington Scores
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [25] Arizona State @ [10] Stanford

Things will begin a little bit slower than usual today, but there is action from Kentucky, and a free stream from Kent State if you're interested. Otherwise, the big name action begins at 8:00 ET/5:00 PT.

February 14, 2013

The Weekend Ahead – February 15–17

In the rankings this week, which will still go by team average, Florida and Oklahoma are likely established in their positions if everything goes to plan. UCLA can pass Michigan if the Bruins outscore the Wolverines by .500, and Alabama would have to outscore the Bruins by .450 to pass them. Utah, LSU, Nebraska, and Georgia are all very close in the rankings and can end up in any order based on this weekend's performances.

Friday seems a bit softer than it is most weeks, primarily because there aren't too many streams to watch. Still, Auburn has been the team on the rise, so that meet against Alabama should be entertaining as the Tide attempts to finally get that 197. LSU is coming off a 197 and hoping for a repeat score, and Arkansas is just hoping for a hit meet. Note that the Utah and Stanford meets will not be streamed because they are being broadcast later on the Pac-12 Network.

The big day is Saturday, and I'm excited to blog both Florida/Georgia and UCLA/Oregon State. Georgia was able to defeat Alabama in the last rivalry meet, but Florida will be a much tougher ask. UCLA's lineup manipulation should be interesting because I expect some people to be rested given that the next two weeks are on the road against Oklahoma and Alabama, but who goes into the lineup? I haven't seen OSU since the second week, which was mostly rough, and I hope to see some mid-196 gymnastics this time.

Top 25 Schedule

February 12, 2013

RQS Progress

RQS will take over for season average in the rankings on February 25th, so it's time to begin looking at where teams stand and what they still need to do to achieve the ideal RQS.

But first, a brief introduction or refresher: RQS (Regional Qualifying Score) is the score used to determine the top 36 teams that will qualify to one of six Regional Championships as well as their respective seedings. It is calculated by taking a team's top six scores (at least three of which must be on the road), dropping the highest score, and averaging the remaining five scores.

1. Florida (Current RQS: X)
Road Score 1: 197.575
Road Score 2: 196.575
Road Score 3: None
Road/Home Score 1: 198.100
Road Home Score 2: 197.650
Road/Home Score 3: 197.300

Next week at Georgia, Florida will get its third road score. For the Gators to score up to their potential, they will also need to record something in the 197s either at Utah or at SECs to replace that 196.575. In the post-2004 era, the highest RQS recorded is 197.445, achieved by Florida last year. Expect that to be surpassed easily.

2. Oklahoma (Current RQS: 197.025)
Road Score 1: 197.625
Road Score 2: 197.375
Road Score 3: 197.275
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 196.700
Road/Home Score 3: 196.450

I expect Oklahoma to bump down those 196s with 197s over the next two weeks, which will also highlight the problem with RQS. The Sooners have seven meets left before Regionals, so the last month or so of competition will likely have little influence on their ranking. Since the wins don't matter either, it will be just a month of posturing for the postseason with no weekly stakes.

February 11, 2013

Week 6 Rankings and Notes

Florida's 198.100 on Friday makes it quite unlikely that any team will be able to catch the Gators before that high score is dropped when RQS comes into play. Then, Florida will simply have to rely on all those paltry mid-197s that anyone could get. The top five from last week remains intact, but Georgia does fall three places after failing to reach 196 over the weekend.
While RQS will not officially be in effect until February 25th, a few teams do have their RQSs already, and that is noted next to their scores.

1. Florida – 197.296
Week 6: 198.100
Leaders: AA - Sloan 39.675; VT - Dickerson 9.925; UB - Sloan, M. Caquatto 9.950; BB - M. Caquatto 9.925; FX - Hunter 9.975.

It's important that the Gators are not as infallible on beam this year as they have been in years past. These competitors are gaining experience competing after falls, which makes me less nervous for a  postseason implosion like in 2011 when Ashanee got a negative score at Regionals. The crucial piece in Florida's 2013 success was always going to be bars, and no team is close to matching the quality of that rotation right now.

2. Oklahoma – 197.125 (RQS: 197.025)
Week 6: 197.625
Leaders: AA - Spears 39.575; VT - Kmieciak 9.925; UB - Brewer 9.925; BB - Spears 9.975; FX - Scaman 9.950.

Even though the score is only a few tenths better than the 197.3s we've been seeing, it's a vital step forward for the Sooners because a 197.6 is not attainable without a phalanx of 9.9s. I expected Oklahoma to spend much of the season riding to low 197s with predominantly 9.875s, but the Sooners showed ten scores in the 9.9 range this week. Now do it again.

February 10, 2013

[4] UCLA Quad Meet Live Blog

Before we get started on today's UCLA quad, a few things about last night's meet at Utah. I didn't live blog the meet, but I did watch it and did make incomprehensible notes like "Oh hey, Miss Confident Arms." These are the things I think when watching gymnastics. It was important for Utah to count no falls in the beginning of the no-Lothrop era, but the 197 score flatters some deficiencies. There are too many 9.800-level routines in these lineups. Most of these rotations are going to be relying on the starring classy routine to save them, which is not an ideal strategy. When Dabritz falls on bars, there is no one to pick up the rotation. Dabritz hit beam this week, but when she doesn't, it's the same thing. As for the Wilson 10, her landing was better than the 9.975 last week, so the 10 was inevitable, especially because of the inflated 9.875 that Damianova had just received. Wilson's vault was easily two tenths+ better than Damianova's, so where do you go?

As for Cal, the score is catastrophic because of one of the more disastrous beam rotations I've seen in a while. So many falls that weren't close. Nonetheless, this certainly looks like a Regionals-worthy team. As with many teams at their level, they cannot compete with top-10 teams like Utah when it comes to handstands and dance elements. Every routine loses multiple tenths because of those issues. The highlights were the floor routines from Asturias and Leong. Wonderful. 

UCLA enters this meet having recorded a 196.9 for a fine but unremarkable performance at Stanford. At each of the last two away meets, bars has been a saga of missed handstands and sloppy dismounts. That needs to improve at home, and I'd like to see some progress on vault as well. Right now, it's still  Zam, Courtney, and the 9.800 sisters. Let's talk about constructing some new 9.9s.

February 8, 2013

Friday Live Blog – Florida, Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma

Today, Florida and Alabama fight for SEC supremacy, Michigan attempts to hang onto #3 in the face of a wave of increasing 197s, Georgia tries to prove that it is worthy of competing at the top, and Oklahoma says, "Another 197.3, please!"

February 7, 2013

The Weekend Ahead – February 8-10

Florida has retained a firm grasp on #1, and at this point in the season it is becoming more difficult for any teams to catch the Gators before RQS kicks in. It's not easy to outscore the Gators by over a half point, which is what Oklahoma would need to do to move ahead. Likewise, UCLA would need to outscore Michigan by over a half point to move into the top 3. As long as no one scores like a crazy person (in either direction), it's unlikely that we'll see a major change in the top few teams in the next couple of weeks. Lower in the ranks, however, there is a great opportunity for shift. That Utah, LSU, Nebraska sector is ripe for flux, and the 11-16 teams could end up in any positions after this week.

All of the important action accosts us right from the start on Friday, so there will have to be a lot of bouncing back and forth between meets and scores, which of course I love. Alabama @ Florida is the headliner, and while I'm sure Alabama would love to get the win on the road after the loss to Georgia, this will be Florida's meet to lose. However, I do expect Alabama to get over that 197 hump. Florida could possibly be in the running for 198 depending on the lineup. They may have to wait until Johnson is back and hitting (a few more weeks yet), but if Hunter is in the AA, they'll have a shot. 

Michigan, Georgia, and Oklahoma will all be in action on Friday, but pay special attention as well to LSU. They've been very up and down (one week it's 197, the next it's 195), and a hit meet on the road would do wonders. This is an opportunity for another big score, which the Tigers need after losing ground next week.

On Saturday, Utah hosts Cal, and it will be about watching the bars and beam lineups for how they survive without Lothrop. There is a bit of rebuilding that has to come, but they can't start from scratch again like that very first bars rotation. It's now easy to write Utah out of the Super Six script, so the Utes have something to prove at this meet. The weekend will finish with UCLA hosting a quad meet on Sunday, which they will attempt to run in the manner Utah did with no simultaneous routines. It's going to be a long meet. I hope no one is offended if I take a blogging break during the Sac State and UC Davis routines.

Top 25 Schedule

February 6, 2013

Utah and the Road

The biggest news to come out of competition last weekend was Utah losing Corrie Lothrop for the season after a torn Achilles during floor warmups. This injury is devastating for the Utes. I'd compare it to UCLA losing Sam Peszek, also the reliable rock of the team, but Utah doesn't have a Vanessa Zamarripa to fall back on. It is unlikely that Dabritz and Tory Wilson's vault can carry that load.

So far this season, the Utes have put up an average score of 196.319, so every meet the team as a whole is averaging 0.319 better than 9.800 (given that a meet of 9.800s would result in 196). Lothrop herself has contributed 14 counting scores to the team so far this season, single-handedly averaging 0.163 over 9.800. So if Lothrop were replaced with 9.800 in every position, the team average would be 196.156, good for #9 in the country instead of #7. That's if they can get 9.800s out of their 7th workers. The future of this team without her on bars and beam will be a story to watch this season.

Another story to watch over the next few weeks will be the evolution of road RQS. Most teams have just three or four road meets left this season, so there is precious little time for those teams that won't want to count any of their current road scores to record viable numbers for the three required road scores. Estimating broadly based on the current trend and past scoring, it's going to take three road scores averaging in the lower 196s (unless there is a monster home score balancing it out) to snatch a top twelve seed at Regionals. For a top six seed, it's looking like it will take closer to a 197 average for the three road scores (once again, assuming regularish home scores).

Below, I have calculated how the top 25 teams currently rank based on the average of their road scores to be used as a guideline for how much improvement/score dropping needs to occur in the coming weeks.

1. Florida – 197.075
2. Oklahoma – 196.950

February 4, 2013

How 10 Do You Feel?

Which vault should be a 10? Both? Neither?

Vanessa Zamarripa – 10.000

Tory Wilson – 9.975

February 3, 2013

Week 5 Rankings

Florida extends its hold on the top spot in the rankings while Georgia and Utah ride solid performances into the heart of the top 10. Full rankings

1. Florida  - 197.135
Top performers - Week 5:
AA - Sloan, Dickerson (39.550)
VT - Dickerson (9.950)
UB - M. Caquatto (9.950)
BB - Sloan (9.925)
FX - King, Dickerson (9.900)

Top performers - Season:
AA - Hunter (39.688)
VT - Dickerson (9.935)
UB - Hunter (9.900)
BB - M Caquatto (9.890)
FX - Hunter (9.917)

2. Oklahoma  - 197.025
Top performers - Week 5:
AA - Olson (39.575)
VT - Scaman, Kmieciak (9.900)
UB - Olson, Spears (9.875)
BB - Mooring, Spears (9.925)
FX - Scaman (9.950)

Top performers - Season:
AA - Spears (39.425)
VT - Scaman (9.860)
UB - Brewer (9.856)
BB - Spears (9.885)
FX - Scaman (9.917)

February 2, 2013

[4] UCLA @ [11] Stanford Live Blog

UCLA Gymnastics posted this picture, and it's all I've ever needed. Presenting Evita Kondos Field.

UCLA comes into this meet after a mostly pleghhhh performance at Arizona State. The time for good road scores is immediately, so I expect Zamarripa back in on all the events. Now, the best teams are consistently going into the 197s (or at least high 196s), so this month will be the deciding point as to whether UCLA keeps pace all season with the top 4 or has one of those years where it enters the postseason in 6th-9th and has to talk about peaking at the right time.

For Stanford, there's an opportunity to make up a little ground here with a strong score. Minnesota had a poor meet, and Utah counted a fall this week. This is one of just three home meets this year. The Cardinal doesn't get the frequent home boost that other teams do, so when the opportunity arises, it is impotant to take it. Otherwise, the team becomes reliant on big road scores, which can't always be counted on. 

[5] Alabama @ [8] Georgia Live Blog

Get excited.

Even post-Suzanne, this is the best meet of the year. The least appealing part of NCAA gymnastics to me is that winning doesn't matter during the season. A team could theoretically lose every regular-season meet and still win the Championship. For this meet, however, winning absolutely matters. January is over, so it's time for Alabama to begin moving out of the "we've counted a fall for 196.500" stage and into the sturdy 197 stage, while it's time for Georgia to move into the "we're not counting 9.7s on beam and floor anymore" stage. I give Alabama the edge, but you never know what's going to happen in a rivalry meet. Things get bizarre.

Georgia Lineup:
Vault: Davis, Persinger, Cheek, Rogers, Hires, Jay
Bars: Cheek, Tanella, Jay, Rogers, Worley, Davis
Beam: Cheek, Persinger, Couch, Rogers, Worley, Earls
Floor: Earls, Tanella, Persinger, Jay, Worley, Couch

Georgia has been falling behind on both beam and floor, so it's vital for them to have Couch back on those events this week. In the past, I've been critical of having Couch anchor floor because she has had enough built-in deductions to stunt building toward a big-scoring sixth routine, plus I haven't been a fan of her routines/music choice, but she and Shayla are the best (or only) options for that spot, so I suppose it makes sense given the team. I'd go with Shayla, but Couch can still get a 9.900 if she's in form.

February 1, 2013

The Friday Meets

All-access subscribers will be able to watch LSU @ Kentucky here. Otherwise, today will be all about following scores from the likes of Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Florida. If Florida doesn't go into the 197 stratosphere, Oklahoma has a solid shot at taking over the #1 ranking for the moment. LSU will be looking to show that the 197 from last week wasn't just a Metroplex thing.