Well, well well. Look at yourselves. No 197s. No accidental 10s given for Yurchenko fulls. You disgust me. If it hadn't been for the crazy home-team floor scoring at literally every meet, I would hardly even recognize you.
For the moment, Michigan and LSU are riding the "not really doing anything wrong" train to the top spot, but very, very few of the scores recorded this weekend will be expected to stick around once RQS rolls into town. No one burst out of the gate with a shocking or overwhelming performance, except for Nina McGee, who tallied the first 10 of the season with her usual McGeeificiation of the floor exercise. She wins the award for best control and body position on a DLO this week. Now, let's get to the standings and some general thoughts about the scoring changes based on week 1.
Week 1 Ranking (RTN)
1. Michigan – 196.950
Week 1 leaders: AA - Artz 39.450; VT - Karas 9.900; UB - Artz 9.900; BB - Artz, Chiarelli 9.875; FX - Artz, Karas 9.950
1. LSU – 196.950
Week 1 leaders: AA - Hambrick 39.450; VT - Gnat, Wyrick 9.900; UB - Finnegan, Zamardi 9.850; BB - Finnegan 9.925; FX - Gnat 9.950
3. Florida – 196.825
Week 1 leaders: AA - Sloan 39.500; VT - McMurtry 9.925; UB - Sloan 9.875; BB - Boren, Fassbender 9.900 9.875; FX - Baker, Sloan 9.900
4. Oklahoma – 196.725
Week 1 leaders: AA - Kmieciak 39.250; VT - Kmieciak 9.875; UB - Wofford 9.950; BB - Lehrmann, Brown 9.875; FX - Scaman 9.925
5. UCLA – 196.550
Week 1 leaders: AA - Ohashi 38.650; VT - Cipra 9.850; UB - Francis 9.825; BB - Lee, Francis 9.950; FX - Mossett, Bynum 9.950
6. Alabama – 196.300
Week 1 leaders: AA - Brannan 39.350; VT - Brannan 9.900; UB - Bailey, Winston 9.900; BB - Beers, McNeer 9.850; FX - Bailey, Sims 9.900
7. George Washington – 196.175
Week 1 leaders: AA - Winstanley 39.350; VT - Winstanley 9.925; UB - Winstanley 9.900; BB - DeMoura, Mermelstein 9.875; FX - Drouin-Allaire 9.825
7. Utah – 196.175
Week 1 leaders: AA - Lee 38.400; VT - Delaney 9.850; UB - Rowe 9.925; BB - Stover 9.825; FX - Schwab 9.900
7. Auburn – 196.175
Week 1 leaders: AA - Atkinson 38.300; VT - Atkinson 9.925; UB - Milliet 9.875; BB - Milliet 9.875; FX - Demers 9.875
10. Arizona – 195.700
Week 1 leaders: AA - None; VT - Cindric, Mattson 9.825; UB - Laub 9.850; BB - Sheppard 9.825; FX - Schneider 9.825
11. Cal – 195.575
Week 1 leaders: AA - None; VT - Williams 9.850; UB - Williams 9.800; BB - Howe 9.800; FX - Howe 9.875
12. Oregon State – 195.425
Week 1 leaders: AA - Gardiner 39.225; VT - Dessaints 9.900; UB - Dessaints 9.850; BB - Gardiner 9.850; FX - Radermacher 9.875
13. Denver – 195.375
Week 1 leaders: AA - McGee 39.250; VT - Fielitz 9.850; UB - McGee 9.900; BB -Hammen 9.825; FX - McGee 10.000
14. Missouri – 195.275
Week 1 A leaders: AA - Porter 38.900; VT - Miller 9.850; UB - Kelly, Porter 9.875; BB - Ward 9.850; FX - Harris 9.900
Week 1 B leaders: AA - Porter 39.250; VT - Porter, Ward 9.825; UB - Porter 9.800; BB - Kelly 9.850; FX - Harris 9.875
15. Georgia – 195.200
Week 1 leaders: AA - Rogers 39.100; VT - Snead 9.875; UB - Snead 9.900; BB - Box, Rogers 9.800; FX - Marino 9.875
16. Arkansas – 195.150
Week 1 leaders: No meet
16. Kent State – 195.150
Week 1 leaders: AA - None; VT - Williams 9.850; UB - Stypinski 9.900; BB - Lippowitsch 9.750; FX - Stypinski 9.900
18. New Hampshire – 195.100
Week 1 leaders: AA - Lauter 39.200; VT - Mahoney 9.825; UB - Mulligan 9.900; BB - Aucoin, Lauter 9.875; FX - Lauter 9.850
19. Illinois – 195.075
Week 1 leaders: AA - O'Connor 39.275; VT - O'Connor, Foley 9.700; UB - Horth 9.900; BB - O'Connor 9.850; FX - O'Connor 9.900
20. Eastern Michigan – 194.875
Week 1 leaders: AA - Conrad 39.050; VT - Valentin 9.875; UB - Valentin 9.850; BB - Valentin 9.850; FX - Slocum 9.750
21. Kentucky – 194.825
Week 1 leaders: AA - Dukes 39.125; VT - Dukes, Stuart 9.850; UB - Dukes 9.825; BB - Hyland 9.875; FX - Puryear 9.875
22. Stanford – 194.800
Week 1 leaders: AA - Price 39.500; VT - Price 9.850; UB - Price 9.900; BB - Price 9.850; FX - Price 9.900
23. Minnesota – 194.700
Week 1 leaders: AA - Mable 38.900; VT - Mable 9.900; UB - Hanley 9.850; BB - Mable 9.850; FX - Mable 9.800
23. NC State – 194.700
Week 1 leaders: AA - Knight 39.000; VT - Knight 9.825; UB - Turner 9.825; BB - Wild 9.900; FX - Woodford 9.800
25. Maryland – 194.400
Week 1 leaders: AA - Kathy Tang 39.025; VT - Kathy Tang 9.850; UB - Epperson 9.875; BB - Kathy Tang, Nee 9.875; FX - Brauckmuller 9.675
-The significant story heading into the season was how the downgrading of the yfull would affect overall vault scoring. It's too soon to draw any grand conclusions because the approach was not consistent from meet to meet. In several meets, we saw the judges being noticeably stricter on yurchenko fulls, not just accounting for the 0.05 downgrade but taking probably another 0.05 after that, at least compared to the last three or so seasons. For instance, Haley Scaman got a 9.825 for her yurchenko full with a hop back that would have received a 9.900 last season, as all her vaults did at the very least. Plenty of 9.750s popped up for yfulls, especially early in the lineup, that would have gone 9.825-9.850 last season. So in some cases, the judges were adding an additional level of scrutiny to the fulls, which is a positive development and should help create more separation in the vault scores, a desperately needed change.
-In these same meets, however, an identical level of scrutiny was not applied to the vaults that still started from a 10.0, with the judges much more willing to go into the 9.9s for y1.5s, even if the performance may not have merited it. Olivia Karas of Michigan comes to mind, with a pretty sizable step off to the side on her 1.5 that still received a 9.900. Perhaps we're seeing a bit of overcompensation right now and the creation of an artificially significant separation between fulls and 1.5s of the same quality, though I would still say this is preferable to the previous situation of a glut of 9.925s being handed out to so many different vaults of widely varying quality. We'll see how things level out in the coming months.
-Although, this approach was not consistent across all the meets. UCLA/Alabama, for instance, had more charitable scores given to a couple yurchenko fulls (Angi Cipra's 9.850) and stricter scores given to 10.0 SV vaults, like Brannan's. To me, that vault did look like a 9.900, which is exactly what it received (miracle of miracles!), but it was a stronger vault than some of the other 10.0 SVs that received 9.900s over the weekend.
-We're going to have to work through this yurchenko arabian business together as a family. It's going to create a lot of frustration this year. (Wyrick and Gnat got the same vault score this weekend, which is the exact opposite of what the scoring change was intended to achieve.) The bigger issue to me, though, is that NCAA gymnastics has always prided itself on being explicable and accessible to all fans, even those who never did gymnastics or who have never picked up a CoP before. For the most part (and I emphasize for the most part), the deductions are basic enough that someone with only a passing understanding can tell what constitutes a good routine or a not-so-much routine. Steps, handstands, wobbles, etc. The obvious things, what are often referred to as "visible deductions," though I hate that expression because they're all visible deductions. An invisible deduction is nothing. Differentiating between the y1/2 and yArabian (which the elite code does not) and giving them different start values, however, begins to get a little inside-baseball for the target audience of NCAA gymnastics. Why are those vaults different? Why is one scoring better than the other? Those are legitimate questions casual fans and gymfans alike will be, and have been, asking. In NCAA, scoring rewards should always strive to be as visually explicit as possible.
-In other scoring news, "strict" and "floor" are two words not even in the same continent so far. Oh, floor.
-Many of the top teams that scored in the mid-high 196s had a couple brilliant moments apiece but not much else to put in the scrapbook. It was a ragged weekend for most teams, especially in terms of adjusting to vault expectations. We're going to see a lot of difficulty experimentation in the coming weeks as teams try to feel out which vaults they'll get more rewarded for, which adds a little more unpredictability and removes some of the stagnation from NCAA vault, so I'm all for it. But for teams like Oklahoma, Florida, LSU, Alabama, etc., nothing happened this weekend to warrant a change in our preseason expectations for their accomplishments.
-George Washington. Yep, 196.175. And it seems pretty legit. Check out this channel for meet videos. The vaults from Winstanley and Drouin-Allaire in particular are competitive with pretty much all the rest of the teams. Everyone rush to fantasy gym to make the necessary trades.
-Is it bad that Stanford got a 194.800 and I don't think it's that much of a problem? Now, filling out the lineups is going to be a huge issue all season, especially on floor, but take away the unexpected mistakes (Rice's floor fall and Hong's beam fall, the things that shouldn't be repeated), and this is a high 195, meaning Stanford would be in the top 10. Not a mighty accomplishment, but about where the team should be. Of course, they cannot afford even one more injury otherwise they'll be back to not having enough competitors, but aside from the very real concerns over having enough competitive floor workers, doesn't this count as on-track for Stanford?
-Georgia didn't have a good opener, which was mostly disappointing because the beam problems put us all right back where we were last season. This should be a beam team in 2016, more so than in the last couple years, so let's hope this 48.000 doesn't develop into another edition of the Georgia beam epidemic of the last five years. Nebraska's issues were more pronounced and more troubling (not even in the top 25 right now) because the team appears to lack both depth and 9.9 star power. Laeng had a good meet—and of the freshmen, Schweihofer looks like the usable 9.800 find—but the falls notwithstanding, they're going to need to get more people into competition shape to have a true shot at nationals this year.