February 29, 2016

Week 8 Rankings + RQS Update

This was really another week for the 9.975 as those continued to sprout up all like weeds, but we did see a few full 10s thrown out as well, one for Lauren Beers for sticking her Y1.5, and another for Nina McGee for doing Nina McGee things on floor.

"Don't lean, don't lean, don't lean, don't lean." She had to adjust that stick a little bit.

We're also closing in on regionals, with most teams two meets and a conference championship away from finalizing RQS, so it's worth looking at how the regional placements would pan out if the season ended today. And by worth it, I mean fun. For me.

Just to review, regional placements are made using a traditional No Damn Sense seeding process, whereby seeds 1/12/13 go together, as do 2/11/14, 3/10/15, 4/9/16, 5/8/17, and 6/7/18. The 19-36 teams are then placed into pots of 8 and allocated by region as much as possible (usually not very possible). With two teams advancing from each regional, that means the top seed receives the most difficult challenger (#13), and the 6th/7th seeds receive the easiest challenger (#18), often making #6 and #7 the ideal ranking places at which to finish the season. Why yes, that is stupid. Welcome. You'll like it here.

The regional hosts this year are Georgia, Utah, Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa, which means if we placed teams in their normal seeding spots right now, we would have host conflicts with Alabama and Georgia ending up in the same one, and Michigan and Iowa ending up in the same one. When that happens, the placements are adjusted slightly, usually one spot, to avoid the conflict, so I've done that in the prospective placement below, flip-flopping Georgia with Boise State and Iowa with Stanford, which is the path of least resistance to get everything to work out. This will obviously change in the coming weeks, but it's a sense of how things could look. There are some juicy matchup possibilities to get excited about.    

Regional 1: [1] Oklahoma, [12] Cal, [13] Denver, (Minnesota host)
Regional 2: [2] Florida, [10] Georgia (host), [14] Missouri
Regional 3: [3] Alabama (host), [11] Boise State, [15] Nebraska
Regional 4: [4] LSU, [9] Arkansas, [17] Iowa (host)
Regional 5: [5] Michigan (host), [8] Auburn, [16] Stanford
Regional 6: [6] Utah (host), [7] UCLA, [18] Arizona

Note that Oregon State currently sits at #20. Imagine if Utah, UCLA, Arizona, and Oregon State all got the same regional. Pac-12 bloodbath.

Week 8 rankings
1. Oklahoma – 197.705

Road Score 1: 197.925
Road Score 2: 197.675
Road Score 3: 197.550
Road/Home Score 1: 198.075
Road/Home Score 2: 197.900
Road/Home Score 3: 197.475

Oklahoma broke 198 and recorded another season high over the weekend on the quest to beat last season's program-record 197.895 RQS. Still a few mid-197s to drop to make that happen. The Sooners did lose the #1 vault ranking to LSU this week, and while still great, that is an area where the landings will need to come into line as we get closer to things mattering. Even in this week's 198, it was a hop-fest until Ali Jackson saved the earth with her stuck 1.5. We also saw a huge discrepancy in Oklahoma's floor scores at home this week compared to away at Georgia last week. Now, the performance was also clearly better this week, but the postseason truth is going to be somewhere in between. It will be interesting to watch those floor scores @ UCLA in a couple weeks, because it's an away meet but also one known for getting a little fancy with the floor scores. It still should let us know how much of a 9.9 fest that floor rotation could be in April.

2. Florida – 197.440

Road Score 1: 197.750
Road Score 2: 197.075
Road Score 3: 196.825
Road/Home Score 1: 198.175
Road/Home Score 2: 197.875
Road/Home Score 3: 197.675

Florida will view losing to LSU at home as distinctly not cool in spite of the glitter-factory of 9.9s, largely a function of Sloan having another bad meet with a fall on beam and an OOB on floor. She has been through patches like this in her NCAA career before, two seasons ago suffering a streak of beam misses in the postseason until she put up probably her best ever in Super Six. If Sloan hits 4-for-4 last Friday, Florida wins that meet and passes 198 in the process. The positive development was the introduction of McMurtry on floor, silly score notwithstanding. Floor had been the biggest question for the Gators, and if she's able to go consistently when it matters, that lineup becomes much more competitive and much less at the mercy of the depth monster.

February 27, 2016

Saturday Live Blog – Utah @ Cal; Arizona State @ UCLA

Saturday, February 27
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Southern Utah @ BYU - SCORES - Stream
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Utah @ Cal - SCORES - Pac-12
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Arizona State @ UCLA - SCORES - Pac-12 (Arizona/LA)
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Eastern Michigan, Pittsburgh @ Ohio State - SCORES - Stream($)
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Winona State, Gustavus Adolphus, Hamline @ Minnesota - SCORES - BTN($)
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – UW-La Crosse @ UW-Whitewater - Stream
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Washington @ Arizona - SCORES - Stream
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Sacramento State, Bridgeport, Northern Illinois @ Nebraska - SCORES
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Centenary @ Texas Woman’s - SCORES - Stream
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Iowa, SEMO, Illinois-Chicago @ Denver - SCORES

Pac-12 day! Scoring should be interesting. SEC scoring went on a bender last night, particularly in the Florida meet, highlighted by that time one judge gave McMurtry a 9.950 for a Yfull that she didn't stick. 


Handy reference guide:

February 26, 2016

Friday Live Blog – LSU @ Florida; Michigan @ Oklahoma; Georgia @ Alabama

Friday, February 26
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – West Virginia, Penn State, Temple, West Chester, S. Connecticut (@ Philadelphia, PA) - SCORESish
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – LSU @ Florida - SCORES - SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – George Washington, NC State, William & Mary @ Towson - SCORES - Stream
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Rutgers @ North Carolina - SCORES
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Maryland @ New Hampshire - SCORES 
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Oshkosh @ UW-Eau Claire
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Michigan @ Oklahoma - SCORES - TV: Various Fox Sports
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Missouri @ Auburn - SCORES - SECN
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Kentucky @ Arkansas - SECN
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Iowa State @ Illinois - SCORES 
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO @ Air Force - Stream
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Georgia @ Alabama - SCORES - SECN
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Boise State @ Utah State - SCORES - Stream
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – San Jose State, Alaska @ Seattle Pacific - SCORES - Stream

The big day! Eight of the top ten teams are in action, most of them against each other. We're late enough in the regular season now for this to feel like the first postseason preview, where we'll get a borderline realistic sense of how these matchups might go come April. Of course, with a number of big SEC duels and many of the top teams competing at home, we're going to have to conduct a 10.0 pool. Pick five people competing today whom you think will get a 10 from at least one judge, and the winner gets the grand prize of self-righteously rolling your eyes to the next galaxy while going, "I can't even..."

February 25, 2016

The Weekend Plans – February 26-29

Before we get into the schedule and weekend preview, a few notes on the development of the week, Jess's fantabulous interview with McKayla Maroney and a metric ton of pillows in which Maroney announced her don't-call-it-a-retirement, which she will be expressing by retiring. In case you've been living under a rock on Pluto, here it is.

Obviously, I'm obsessed with it. The biggest news here is her discussion of AOGC and Artur and Galina, and I love that she had the giant steel ovaries to say exactly what was wrong about their treatment of her and exactly what is wrong about the treatment of the livestock athletes through the camps and tours. Not being allowed to smile or look at people? Horrible. All the athletes feeling afraid to eat at the ranch? Horrible. Not having her injuries taken seriously? Horrible. We have a tendency to gloss over terrible treatment of gymnasts with a "the kind of stuff that happened in the 80s and 90s" nonchalance, but clearly it's still happening. Your move, USAG.

But also, getting in trouble for doing Yurchenko double backs at the ranch? Awesome.

Top 25 schedule
Friday, February 26
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [23] West Virginia, Penn State, Temple, West Chester, S. Connecticut (@ Philadelphia, PA)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [7] LSU @ [2] Florida
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [20] George Washington, NC State, William & Mary @ Towson
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [4] Michigan @ [1] Oklahoma
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [16] Missouri @ [8] Auburn
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [22] Kentucky @ [9] Arkansas
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Iowa State @ [24] Illinois
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [10] Georgia @ [3] Alabama
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [11] Boise State @ Utah State

Saturday, February 27
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [5] Utah @ [14] Cal
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Arizona State @ [6] UCLA
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [21] Eastern Michigan, Pittsburgh @ Ohio State
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Winona State, Gustavus Adolphus, Hamline @ [19] Minnesota
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Washington @ [25] Arizona
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Sacramento State, Bridgeport, Northern Illinois @ [14] Nebraska
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [18] Iowa, SEMO, Illinois-Chicago @ [13] Denver 

Sunday, February 28
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Maryland, Towson @ [20] George Washington
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – [24] Illinois @ Lindenwood 

Monday, February 29
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [12] Stanford @ [17] Oregon State

Live blogging
Friday is one of the biggest days of the regular season, perhaps the biggest, featuring three significant top-10 match-ups, so I'll be all over it. Then, on Saturday, we have some simultaneous Pac-12 action. (Planning...) Utah/Cal is on the main Pac-12 Network and UCLA/ASU is just on the regional LA version of the network. I'll be watching both simultaneously and commenting back and forth as usual, but let me know in the comments if you guys have a preference as to which one I focus on with the live blogging. 

Expect things at the very top to remain steady this week with many of the top teams competing at home and unable to drop their nasty road scores. Oklahoma at #1, Florida at #2, and Alabama at #3 are all guaranteed to retain those positions after this weekend. Beyond that, things get a little interesting with the next four teams, Michigan, Utah, UCLA, and LSU, who are capable of ending the weekend in really any order. With those 196.9s, Michigan has been safe at the top since the season began, but now the Wolverines are a little vulnerable to all other teams that are matching their couple mid-197s and high 196s. Pay particular attention to LSU in 7th. With a 195.825 road score to drop on this visit to Florida, the Tigers look very likely to zoom way up.

While those four may change order, the current top 7 are guaranteed to remain the top 7 for another week. Georgia has a road 195.350 to drop and can close the gap significantly, and do so even with another 4/6 beam rotation, but getting this Georgia team ranked where it should be is going to be a multi-week process. Still, with even just a 196.100, Georgia would be guaranteed to jump ahead of Arkansas for 9th.

Stanford doesn't compete until Monday night, so it's quite possible in the new rankings that we could see the Cardinal dropped by the likes of Denver, Nebraska, and Cal, making Monday's meet for Stanford all the more important to avoid a yucky ranking. There's no more margin for error. One more bad meet, and Stanford is counting a 195 for RQS. The score on Monday is similarly critical for Oregon State, the #17 team that could theoretically move as high as #12 and pass Stanford if everything falls just right.

February 22, 2016

Week 7 Rankings + RQS Update

RQS has officially taken over, which means the rankings look quite different than they did last week when they were based on average, but not too different from what we saw in last week's RQS primer. Florida got a vital away score, LSU is ranked artificially low because of a nasty away score that's still hanging around, and a number of teams bumped up their RQS totals by dropping ugly scores yet didn't quite get the boost they would have hoped. Enjoy!

Also, I go on a little mid-ranking rant about hypersensitivity! So that's fun. Enjoy turning on me. 

Ashleigh Gnat got a 10 on floor this week, adding to her nation-leading total of three. Other than that, it was once again a week of 9.975s, with Winston and Brannan going back-to-back for Alabama on bars, Sloan getting one on floor, and Stover reaching the mark on beam. Among others?

Also, Kyla retired from elite today. So that's suddenly big news. I should probably have something to say about that. It sounds like the smart decision since Rio was looking less and less and less likely with the passing months. Now, she'll avoid putting her body through the ringer of a Trials process and heal up as much as possible for a UCLA team that desperately needs someone without a case of elite-injured-forever. 

Week 7 rankings
1. Oklahoma – 197.595

Road Score 1: 197.925
Road Score 2: 197.675
Road Score 3: 197.550
Road/Home Score 1: 197.900
Road/Home Score 2: 197.475
Road/Home Score 3: 197.375

The Sooners scores a relatively paltry 197.375 at Georgia over the weekend. Slackers. That counts as bad for Oklahoma, a result of a couple missed vault landings and suddenly strictly judged floor routines. You can certainly justify the scores that were given to those floor performances, but the argument that those scores were out of step with the rest of the meet and the general looseness of floor scoring this season is a valid one. The consequence of that garbage shame of a 197.375 is that what used to be a nearly 0.500 RQS advantage over Florida has shrunk to just about 0.250. It's still comfortable, but no longer dominant, and Florida will view the #1 ranking as much more attainable now.

2. Florida – 197.355

Road Score 1: 197.750
Road Score 2: 197.075
Road Score 3: 196.825
Road/Home Score 1: 198.175
Road/Home Score 2: 197.675
Road/Home Score 3: 197.450

Much of last week, I spoke about how important it was for Florida to get a huge away score over the weekend to close that gap with Oklahoma, and that's exactly what Florida did. Now, we'll all just acknowledge the fact that Bridget Sloan had two landing hops on floor and the judges just threw roses at her and shouted, "Encore! Bravissima!" instead of taking deductions, and the questions about Florida's ability to keep pace on floor remain. Still, 197.750. No slouch of a score. Mission #1 accomplished, but Florida will still need to replicate that performance in the two remaining road meets in order to have a shot at #1 and drop the distinctly un-Florida score still in the RQS picture.

3. Alabama – 197.195

Road Score 1: 197.525
Road Score 2: 197.300
Road Score 3: 197.250
Road/Home Score 1: 197.375
Road/Home Score 2: 197.175
Road/Home Score 3: 196.875

Alabama had an RQS lead on Florida going into the week and had a real shot at #2 but was not able to gain as much after getting stuck on the 9.850s for three events, though a huge bars score lifted the total up to 197.300, a respectable enough total and one that keeps Alabama squarely in the hunt for a finish somewhere 3-5. Counting two 197.3s, however, will make it harder to move up any higher than 3rd given what Oklahoma and Florida are counting so far. Right now, I would classify Alabama as the deepest team in NCAA, but the difference between qualifying to Super Six and challenging for the title will be decided by whether this is just a team with a billion 9.850 options or a team with a billion 9.850 options, from which emerge 12+ 9.9 options.

4. Michigan – 196.920

Road Score 1: 196.975
Road Score 2: 196.900
Road Score 3: 196.550
Road/Home Score 1: 197.425
Road/Home Score 2: 197.225
Road/Home Score 3:196.950

The Michigan beam disaster. Is it 2012 already? PTSD flashbacks. This score will be dropped and is best forgotten forever. My motto about beam is that disasters aren't something to worry about until they happen twice. This is the second time, so gentle concern might be arising. But no more than that yet. It was a bit troubling, though, that the errors did compound themselves. The back of the lineup appeared to lose composure after the early mistakes, ending is uncharacteristically weak showings from Artz and Chiarelli, who should be the bam-bam, confident 9.9s at the back of the lineup who save the total even in tense circumstances. 

With the dropped score, Michigan's RQS stays the same, which makes the total a little more vulnerable to the likes of LSU, Utah, and UCLA. Still, both bold scores are perfectly fine right now, and with three road meets remaining, there's time to get a few more. Michigan's scores are tightly packed enough that even with a season high next weekend at Oklahoma, they have no chance to move up any higher than 4th. The mission will be holding off the challenging hordes.

5. Utah – 196.850

Road Score 1: 197.150
Road Score 2: 197.075
Road Score 3: 196.725
Road/Home Score 1: 197.150
Road/Home Score 2: 197.125
Road/Home Score 3: 196.175

Utah will be relatively happy with the performance at Stanford, one that was largely steady if marked by a few more missed dismounts on bars and checks on beam, but will not be particularly happy with the total. The big 197.5s that it takes to challenge the top remain out of reach. Still, Utah has that 196.1 hanging around the RQS picture, and we can expect that score to be eradicated next week barring disaster, which puts the team in contention to catch Michigan even with another normal, medium performance.

The Utes also got in a tiny morsel of fake internet trouble over the weekend by tweeting something along the lines of "three people go to Stanford's meets, and a million people go to our meets. Neener-neener-neener." I paraphrase. It was basically that. Apparently, this was shocking and offensive to people because of the wild hypersensitivity of college gymnastics. Was it kind of snarky and ignoble? Yeah. And that's fine. That's good. A little trash talk between teams/fans is healthy. It's hardly harsh or mean-spirited. There's nothing wrong with some G-rated rivalry and animosity to throw a spark into proceedings. This is a sport of adults after all, not a little girl dance recital presentation where everyone is happy for everyone, hard as some might try to make it that way. But of course, this is college gymnastics, so anything exhibiting a shred of personality, honesty, or the acknowledgment that this is actually a competition among passionate athletes who are in no way required to be supportive best friends must be removed immediately.

It's like when Stanford went to Oklahoma a few years ago and then had a minor twitter rant about the insane scoring, then had to delete it and apologize because heaven forbid someone say something publicly that isn't entirely positive. Or when Taylor Rice came on Gymcastic with us and then got in trouble for having a personality and giving honest impressions about the crazy scores. Breaking news: this is all fine. Have an opinion. Care. Create rivalries. Talk trash. Snark. Disagree. Be excited. Be salty. Cheer. Boo. Raise a hullabaloo. Root for outcomes, not just for everyone to hit/have a good time. Otherwise, how can you expect anyone to treat this like a real sport? Positivity is not exclusively a virtue and negativity is not exclusively a vice. If you're an LSU fan, rooting for Florida to fall on beam or trip while doing a Gator chomp is not mean-spirited and not something to be ashamed of. It's just sports. Inherent in wanting your team to succeed is wanting other teams to fail, and gymnastics needs to stop pretending that's not true and stop pretending that it's something inappropriate, unattractive, or shameful. It just is. Not everyone needs to come away from everything feeling great and supported all the time.

If the Sophina viral incident taught us anything, it's that gymnastics makes waves when it loosens up and shows a side that isn't in line with the prim and reserved reputation it has. So loosen up.  

February 20, 2016

Saturday Live Blog – Oklahoma @ Georgia; Utah @ Stanford

Saturday, February 20
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Oklahoma @ Georgia - SCORES - SECN
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Alabama, Denver, Cornell @ Penn State - SCORES - Stream(free)
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Utah @ Stanford - SCORES - Pac-12
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Cal @ Oregon State - SCORES - Pac-12 Oregon
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Towson @ Iowa - SCORES - Stream($)
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Pennsylvania, Temple, Ursinus @ Rutgers - SCORES 
10:15 ET/7:15 PT – Winter Cuppity Cup Cup Cup – SCORES/STREAM

Joyful times to be had by all! Until we get to Georgia on beam. Then...we'll see. The main focus of the day will be everything, but mostly Oklahoma and Georgia because I'm fascinated to see those two up against each other. I don't think it's going to be the cakewalk for Oklahoma it might seem based on most previous scores, so that's obviously the kiss of death. Enjoy reading that sentence after Oklahoma wins by three points.

First eye goes on that meet. Second eye on Utah and Stanford because that's now an urgent scoring assignment for Stanford. Remaining eyes on Iowa's scores and the "who's fourth-best in this conference" showdown between OSU and Cal. Oh, and Alabama! Too much!

Also, why you should be a fan of Kaytianna McMillan.

"That was a good sentence. We have like maybe two."

And then tonight, the elite boys get their Winter Cup on, which is always a treat. It's like gymnastics, but where everyone falls on everything. It's really fun. You'll like it a lot.

February 19, 2016

Friday Live Blog – Auburn @ LSU; Florida, Michigan, Missouri

Friday, February 19
6:30 ET/3:30 PT – Western Michigan @ Eastern Michigan - SCORES - ESPN3
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Florida @ Missouri - SCORES - SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Illinois @ Michigan State - SCORES - Stream ($)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – New Hampshire, North Carolina, William & Mary @ George Washington - SCORES - Stream($)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – UW-Eau Claire @ Gustavus Adolphus - SCORES 
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Arkansas @ Maryland - SCORES - BTN2Go ($)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Minnesota, Air Force @ Iowa State - SCORES
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Illinois State @ SEMO - SCORES
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Hamline @ Winona State - SCORES
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Stout @ UW-Oshkosh - Stream
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Ball State, Seattle Pacific @ Northern Illinois - SCORES - ESPN3
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Centenary @ UW-Whitewater - Stream
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Auburn @ LSU - SCORES - SECN
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Michigan, UC Davis @ Southern Utah - SCORES - FLOG($)
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Ohio State @ Boise State - SCORES - Stream
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Utah State @ BYU - SCORES - Stream
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – San Jose State @ Sacramento State

Week 6 rankings

February 18, 2016

The Weekend Plans – February 19-22

We've already hit the point in the season when teams begin having senior night/day. What is happening? This weekend marks the final home meet for Stanford and Iowa, among others.

Top 25 schedule
Friday, February 19
6:30 ET/3:30 PT – Western Michigan @ [21] Eastern Michigan 
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [2] Florida @ [19] Missouri
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [25] Illinois @ Michigan State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – New Hampshire, North Carolina, William & Mary @ [17] George Washington
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [11] Arkansas @ Maryland
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [18] Minnesota, Air Force @ Iowa State
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [8] Auburn @ [6] LSU
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [3] Michigan, UC Davis @ [23] Southern Utah
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Ohio State @ [9] Boise State

Saturday, February 20
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [1] Oklahoma @ [10] Georgia
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [4] Alabama, [13] Denver, Cornell @ Penn State
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [5] Utah @ [12] Stanford
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [15] Cal @ [16] Oregon State
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Towson @ [24] Iowa

Sunday, February 21 
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [22] Kentucky @ West Virginia
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – [14] Nebraska, NC State, UW-La Crosse @ Iowa State
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [7] UCLA @ Washington

Monday, February 22
9:00 ET/6:00 PT –[20] Arizona @ Arizona State

Live blogging
Friday and Saturday, as is becoming the norm. Friday's headline meet is Auburn and LSU, but Michigan and Florida will be worth keeping an eye on as well. Once again, Saturday totally beats Friday, with a whole heap of overlapping afternoon meets. It'll be another Gymnastics Situation Room kind of day, so prepare your eyes, devices, and attention spans.

We move onto RQS Island starting on Monday, which means we'll have a more defined sense of exactly what teams need in order to move up now. Oklahoma is guaranteed to retain the #1 ranking for at least another week. Alabama and Florida are neck-and-neck for the #2 spot right now with both teams heading out for what should be comfortable road wins. A slight advantage goes to Florida because the Gators have a 196.350 to get rid of while Alabama is trying to drop a 196.775. Florida is more likely to increase RQS even with an average result. 

Michigan is almost surely safe at #4, with only UCLA having an outside chance to overtake (though it would take a season-high for UCLA and a season-low for Michigan to get it done). UCLA is currently at #7 but has a 195.175 road score to drop this weekend and with a big result, can leapfrog both #5 Utah and #6 LSU regardless of what either team does.

Stanford and Georgia are two other teams with high increase potential, with Georgia looking to drop a 195.700 and Stanford looking to drop that nasty wretch of a 194.800. Also, don't lose track of Iowa. Iowa is currently at #24, but with a fifth consecutive 196, it would not be surprising to see Iowa jump right up into the mid teens.

-Most of the results on Friday seem relatively predestined, except perhaps for Auburn and LSU, the annual instance of Tiger on Tiger crime. Auburn is coming off that huge upset of Alabama and, more importantly, a return to the type of scores we saw last season. Winning away against LSU, however, is more challenging prospect. LSU is the stronger team overall and so tough to beat at home, but LSU has managed a 197 just once so far this season, not displaying enough consistency yet to earn the mantle of prohibitive favorites. LSU didn't count a fall last weekend but still came in below Auburn's mark by half a point because of way too many minor errors across every event. 

Until last weekend, vault would have seemed a major advantage for LSU, and while LSU still should have the edge primarily because of the Gnat Factor, Auburn can keep the meet close early, or event get a lead, if the vault landings are similar to last week. The halfway lead may be possible because bars, particularly dismount control on bars, is one area where Auburn has looked stronger than LSU. It's necessary because once we get to the second half of the meet, LSU has more 9.9 potential on beam, meaning that if LSU actually hits real routines (hasn't always happened/hasn't usually happened), Auburn will drop tenths in spite of Demers/Atkinson greatness. Those tenths will be tough to make up against LSU on home floor.

-Florida's mission this weekend is a big road score, which has so far eluded the team. This Gator roster is far too capable to be maxing out at a low 197 on the road, even in February. Last weekend's result was perfectly solid, but a little misleading in the vault and floor scores because essential routines from Sloan and Baker were missing, which made those rotations look a little more flaccid than they are. Yes, I used the word flaccid. Florida doesn't have enough depth on vault and floor to rest people and still maintain Florida-esque scoring potential, but with full lineups, this team should be able to do mid-197s regardless of venue. We do still need to be on floor watch/Bridgey watch, though.

February 15, 2016

Week 6 Rankings + RQS Outlook

Now that we've reached the point in the season during which the top teams get all boring and start hitting their routines and getting good scores and giving us nothing fun to talk about (I mean, Georgia hit beam this week...so inconsiderate), let's switch gears and get a little numerical.

But really, we didn't even get a 10 this week! Just a bunch of 9.975s thrown out to people for silly reasons like being internet famous, going last on floor, or being Elizabeth Price and deserving it.  

We're still one week away from RQS kicking in. At least, that's when it usually kicks in. Road to Nationals doesn't have that information anywhere that I've seen. Troester used to have a little note about when rankings switch over to RQS, but anyway, it's usually for next Monday's rankings.

For the moment, I've put together each team's RQS outlook to give a sense of what the true rankings will be once we switch over and what kinds of scores teams need to get in order to avoid falling precipitously into the depths of 195s.

Refresher: RQS stands for Regional Qualifying Score. It determines which 36 teams will advance to the Regional Championships and is calculated by taking a team's top six scores, of which at least three must be road scores, removing the highest score, and averaging the remaining five.

Week 6 rankings
1. Oklahoma – 197.428

Current RQS: 197.545
Road Score 1: 197.925
Road Score 2: 197.675
Road Score 3: 197.550
Road/Home Score 1: 197.900
Road/Home Score 2: 197.475
Road/Home Score 3: 197.125

*Scores in bold are guaranteed to be part of the final 6 RQS scores with not enough meets remaining to eliminate them. 

The Sooners are running away with RQS right now, over four tenths ahead of any other team and already in a very comfortable position with well over a month of meets and detail perfecting left. They'll expect to drop the pitiful little 197.1 and probably that 197.4 as well over the next five meets to rise even higher and challenge the school-record RQS of 197.895 from last season. That's level with Florida's mark from 2014 as the second-best ever, and while UCLA's 2004 record RQS of 198.055 is probably out of reach, you never know.

2. Florida – 197.258

Current RQS: 197.075
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.825
Road Score 3: 196.350
Road/Home Score 1: 198.175
Road/Home Score 2: 197.675
Road/Home Score 3: 197.450

Try to contain your shock. Florida's home scores are much stronger than the road scores. WHAAAAAT????? Those road scores will need a little emotional help if Florida has a hope to challenge Oklahoma, or even stay in second position. The Gators have just three road meets remaining and would ideally like to get rid of all three of those current road scores. Sure, the regular-season #1 is a purely symbolic title and doesn't matter, but if Florida is going to have a realistic shot at that symbolic title, the meet this coming weekend at Missouri needs to be a 197.5+.

3. Michigan – 196.993

Current RQS: 196.920
Road Score 1: 196.975
Road Score 2: 196.900
Road Score 3: 196.550
Road/Home Score 1: 197.425
Road/Home Score 2: 197.225
Road/Home Score 3:196.950

Michigan has among the solidest sets of six scores, without the terror of a hideously low score that needs dropping. On the flip side, that impedes any chance to move up dramatically with a single giant number, though more of those mid 197s would put Michigan on track to challenge what Florida and Alabama currently have. That 196.5 is the lone runt, and this coming weekend at Southern Utah, the Wolverines will have a chance to drop it and move as high as 197.095 with a season-high score. Still, they currently have the fourth-highest RQS because of all those 196.9s, and staying at fourth would be an excellent regular-season accomplishment that they would have taken in a millisecond if offered it before the start of the season.

4. Alabama – 196.959

Current RQS: 197.090
Road Score 1: 197.525
Road Score 2: 197.250
Road Score 3: 196.875
Road/Home Score 1: 197.375
Road/Home Score 2: 197.175
Road/Home Score 3: 196.775

The big news here is that if RQS were currently in place, Alabama would be ranked #2 despite a season of losing to weaker SEC teams. Those two early-season low 196s are bringing down the average a bit, but once they're dropped, Alabama's scores look healthy and competitive. With just four meets left, the Tide doesn't have as many opportunities to drop scores, but at this point they're not forced to count anything untoward and are outpacing Florida because of stronger road scores. And we can only expect improvement in the scores from here. 

5. Utah – 196.729

Current RQS: N/A
Road Score 1: 197.075
Road Score 2: 196.725
Road Score 3: N/A
Road/Home Score 1: 197.150
Road/Home Score 2: 197.125
Road/Home Score 3: 196.175

Utah has just two road meets on its resume so far, so we'll have to wait until after this weekend to see where things stand. With four road meets remaining, there's plenty of time left to get valuable numbers. That low 196.1 home score is bringing things down for the moment but will surely be dropped in due course. The real issue making Utah vulnerable to dropping down to a #2 regional seed is a lack of high, high scores. These are healthy scores, but not yet huge scores, with even a couple charitably scored home meets so far featuring a dud rotation that keeps the total lower.

February 13, 2016

Saturday Live Blog – [5] LSU @ [11] Georgia; Washington @ [6] Utah; [16] Oregon State @ [7] UCLA

A big day! I'll keep this blog going throughout, sort of like mini-regionals, so just keep scrolling through the mass of ramblings as the day progresses.

Saturday, February 13
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [5] LSU @ [11] Georgia - SCORES - SECN
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Penn State @ [23] Ohio State - SCORES - Stream($)
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Iowa @ [20] Illinois - SCORES 
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Southern Connecticut @ [22] New Hampshire - SCORES 
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Washington @ [6] Utah - SCORES - Pac-12
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [13] Stanford @ Arizona - SCORES - Pac-12 (Arizona/Bay Area)
11:00 ET/8:00 PT – [16] Oregon State @ [7] UCLA - SCORES - Pac-12

In the rankings fight, LSU will find it challenging to move up at all based on today's performance, needing a 197.900 to ahead ahead of Alabama. In RQS, there's still plenty of time to get scores and LSU has four road meets remaining including this one, but with only one vaguely usable road score on the resume so far, a big number today would do a lot to solidify that ranking.

February 12, 2016

Friday Live Blog – Alabama @ Auburn; Oklahoma, Florida, Arkansas, AND SO MUCH MORE

Friday, February 12
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Southern Connecticut @ Bridgeport
6:30 ET/3:30 PT – Air Force @ Cortland State - Stream
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Arkansas @ Florida - SCORES - SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Missouri @ Kentucky - SCORES - SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – NC State, William & Mary @ North Carolina - SCORES
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Pittsburgh, Ursinus, Penn @ Towson- SCORES - Stream
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – UW-Eau Claire @ UW-Stout - SCORES - Stream
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Gustavus Adolphus @ UW-La Crosse - Stream
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Perfect 10 Challenge (Oklahoma, Denver, George Washington, Utah State) - SCORES - TV: Fox Sports Whatever
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Winona State @ Illinois State
8:00 ET/5:30 PT – IGI Chicago Style (Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Temple, Alaska) - FLOG
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Alabama @ Auburn - SCORES - SECN
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU, Sacramento State @ Southern Utah - SCORES - Stream
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Minnesota @ Nebraska - SCORES
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Boise State @ San Jose State - SCORES - Stream
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – UC Davis @ Seattle Pacific - SCORES - Stream  

Florida returns home. Place your bets for the number of 10s now.

February 11, 2016

The Weekend Plans – February 12-15

Saturday night meets? What, do they think we all have no lives? Oh wait, that is correct.

Top 25 schedule
Friday, February 12
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [9] Arkansas @ [2] Florida
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [15] Missouri @ [25] Kentucky
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Perfect 10 Challenge - [1] Oklahoma, [12] Denver, [17] George Washington, Utah State
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [4] Alabama @ [8] Auburn
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU, Sacramento State @ [21] Southern Utah
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [18] Minnesota @ [14] Nebraska
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [10] Boise State @ San Jose State

Saturday, February 13
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [5] LSU @ [11] Georgia
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Penn State @ [23] Ohio State
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Iowa @ [20] Illinois
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Southern Connecticut @ [22] New Hampshire
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Washington @ [6] Utah
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [13] Stanford @ Arizona
11:00 ET/8:00 PT – [16] Oregon State @ [7] UCLA

Sunday, February 14
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – [25] Kentucky, Lindenwood, Kent State @ Ball State
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Michigan State @ [3] Michigan
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [24] West Virginia @ [4] Alabama

Monday, February 15
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [19] Cal @ Arizona State

Live blogging
Friday as usual, probably with special attention to the Perfect 10 Challenge since I've seen so much of the SEC this year and less of Denver and GW. Saturday is also sort of making Friday look like an idiot this week, so I'll be all over that with LSU/Georgia and then again later for the glut of Pac-12 action. It'll get crazy. Sit back and let the insanity wash over you like a fine breeze or the knowledge of your own insignificance.

-The most competitive meets on Friday will probably end up being Missouri/Kentucky and Minnesota/Nebraska. The higher-ranked team will be favored in both, but upset potential exists. I'm particularly curious to see how Missouri fares away from home after that unexpectedly huge score last weekend. The next away meet is always the best test of how realistic home scores are.

-Among the big girls, Alabama against Auburn is the showcase on Friday. Apparently, this is kind of a rivalry or something, but in spite of meeting three times last season and this already being the second meeting of 2016, Auburn is still yet to record a victory against Alabama since turning good. At home and coming off a season-high, this is the best chance they'll have. That said, Alabama should win the meet and is the better team on every event, but that doesn't mean it will be a blowout. The Tide has displayed inconsistency this season, and while there haven't been any implosions since the loss to Arkansas, counting medium mistakes or weak landings has become commonplace, including on two of the four events in the last meet. Relying on those mistakes will be Auburn's hope.

Alabama has two meets this weekend, so I wouldn't necessarily expect to get any answers about postseason lineups quite yet. Dana has been jumbling people all over the place and will likely do the same this time in order to keep everyone relatively rested and avoid over-pressing the fragile ones. I would bet on more depth exploration for the time being.

We should also be on Beers Watch 2016, not just because it's important to start drinking during beam but because even though Lauren Beers has competed a remarkable amount for someone who spent the preseason in several pieces in a shoebox, she has been very up-and-down, occasionally starting to look like herself and then immediately falling a bunch of times. How much will they push her in a double-meet weekend, and will we see GoodBeers or DarthBeers?

February 8, 2016

Week 5 Rankings + Notes

Oklahoma takes over the #1 ranking this week. That seemed unlikely heading in, but the Sooners managed to pour some 197.9 all over the NCAA as Chayse Capps suddenly became the most important all-arounder in your life, while Florida had a late-meet nasty and lost to Georgia. Georgia. With Georgia beam.

Our regal 10.000 of the week comes courtesy of Capps, because of course it does. Finally. You can see the video of her beam 10 on Aunt Flo, but it's behind the iron subscription curtain. So otherwise, just imagine every other beam routine you've seen Chayse Capps do, and it's that. Just a 10 this time. And with a walkover to scale.

In other big routine news, NastiaFan101 posted Sophina the diva's floor routine and got it trending all over faceplace and the information superhighway. Hero's work. It's almost like social media is a tool that can be used to attract attention to the sport, or something. Teams should definitely continue not taking advantage of that at all and waiting for fans to do the work for them.

Love. Exciting. Beautiful. Fun and crowd-pleasing without being a joke. Though it will be interesting to see what it scores away from home given factors like whatever is happening after that switch ring. Or, knowing UCLA and the health situation and the Sophina being in the floor lineup situation, we'll never see this routine ever again. RIP, Hallie Mossett's feet.

This is why it has been frustrating to spend three seasons watching Sophina actively not making the floor lineup. Because she's capable of this. Her performance elevates the lineup, and when we have DeJesus and Mossett going at the same time (ever?), it will start to feel like a classic, thrilling UCLA floor rotation of years ago. Even Cipra, whose routine is not my taste, moves quite well and performs with style. It's encouraging to see that this year for a team that, especially in the couple seasons post-McCullough and EHH, had to keep the best dancers out of the lineup in favor of tumblers who could get the scores but didn't really want to have to dance about it, when it was all Pritchett and Courtney and Zam. (Stop freaking out, I love the Zam, but she never really looked thrilled at the idea of doing these routines.)

Week 5 rankings
1. Oklahoma –197.393
Week 5 A: 197.925
Week 5 A leaders: AA - Capps 39.775; VT - Scaman 9.925; UB - Capps, Kmieciak 9.900; BB - Capps 10.000; FX - Capps 9.975

Week 5 B: 197.900
Week 5 B leaders: AA - Capps 39.625; VT - Jackson 9.950; UB - Wofford 9.950; BB - Capps 9.950; FX - Scaman 9.950

2. Florida – 197.220
Week 5: 196.350
Week 5 leaders: AA - Sloan 39.150; VT - McMurtry 9.900; UB - McMurtry 9.925; BB - Sloan 9.875; FX - Baker 9.925

3. Michigan – 196.860
Week 5: Monday meet

4. Alabama – 196.842
Week 5: 196.775
Week 5 leaders: AA - Bailey 39.450; VT - Beers 9.950; UB - Brannan 9.925; BB - Bailey, McNeer 9.875; FX - Bailey, Sims, Valentin 9.850

5. LSU – 196.705
Week 5: 197.425
Week 5 leaders: AA - Hambrick 39.625; VT - Everyone 9.875; UB - Hambrick 9.925; BB - Hambrick, Finnegan 9.925; FX - Gnat, Hambrick, Wyrick 9.900

6. Utah – 196.650
Week 5: 197.075
Week 5 leaders: AA - Partyka 39.450; VT - Partyka 9.875; UB - Lopez 9.925; BB - Stover 9.900; FX - Schwab 9.950

7. UCLA – 196.510
Week 5: 197.100
Week 5 leaders: AA - None; VT - Bynum, Preston 9.850; UB - Mossett 9.900; BB - Lee 9.925; FX - Cipra 9.975

8. Auburn – 196.204
Week 5: 196.825
Week 5 leaders: AA - Atkinson 39.575; VT - Atkinson 9.900; UB - Atkinson, Krippner 9.875; BB - Atkinson 9.875; Atkinson, Kluz, Rott 9.925

9. Arkansas – 196.200
Week 5: 196.150
Week 5 leaders: AA - Wellick 39.350; VT - Wellick 9.850; UB - Zaziski, Freier 9.875; BB - Wellick 9.850; FX - Wellick 9.825

10. Boise State – 196.194
Week 5: 196.250
Week 5 leaders: AA - Remme 39.325; VT - Bennion, Bir 9.825; UB - Jacobsen 9.875; BB - Remme 9.875; FX - Krentz 9.925

February 6, 2016

Saturday Live Blog – Utah @ UCLA

Pac-12 Net
4:00 ET/1:00 PT

Ah, Utah and UCLA. One of my favorites. The unfortunate aspect of this rivalry over the last three seasons has been the road team throwing up an utter catastrophe on bars in the first rotation, deciding the meet and dulling any kind of competitive excitement after about three minutes of gymnastics before anyone has time to get interested. This is supposed be a close, back-and-forth affair (it's Utah and UCLA), but we haven't had that for a while, so...here's hoping. No one is allowed to have a catastrophe until at least beam.

Today's pre-meet discussion topic is Angi Cipra's floor routine, which now that we've seen it four or five times, is taking on a new identity where the theme is the continued emotional bullying of Angi Cipra. Why do people keep hanging up on her so much? Prank calls are just mean, you guys. Does she have no friends? Do we have a clique problem at this school? She keeps being like, "Who's calling me?????" and every time the whole team is like, "I don't know..." Dicks. Don't worry, Angi. It gets better.

February 5, 2016

Friday Live Blog – The Cult of SEC Scoring

Friday, February 5
6:30 ET/3:30 PT – Central Michigan @ Eastern Michigan - SCORES - ESPN3
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Florida @ Georgia - SCORES - SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Winona State @ UW-La Crosse - Stream
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – West Virginia @ Iowa State - SCORES
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Stout @ Hamline
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Oklahoma, Auburn, Illinois State @ Texas Woman’s - SCORES - FLOG
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO, Lindenwood @ Missouri - SCORES - SECN
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Kentucky @ Alabama - SCORES - SECN
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Arkansas @ LSU - SCORES - SECN
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Boise State @ Southern Utah - SCORES - Stream
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – San Jose State @ UC Davis - SCORES
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Seattle Pacific @ Sacramento State - SCORES - Stream

Another Friday, another batch of exciting SEC meets. The real question is, now that the 10s have started flying again, who's getting the first 10 of the Florida/Georgia meet: Brandie Jay on vault or Bridget Sloan on bars? Or will Sloan beat the odds and get a pre-meet 10 for just being so great.

February 4, 2016

The Weekend Plans – February 5-8

After this weekend, a number of teams will be halfway done with their regular-season schedules. Why yes, we did just start this two seconds ago. 

Top 25 schedule
Friday, February 5
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [1] Florida @ [11] Georgia
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [23] West Virginia @ Iowa State
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [2] Oklahoma, [10] Auburn, Illinois State @ Texas Woman’s
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO, Lindenwood @ [16] Missouri
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [25] Kentucky @ [4] Alabama
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [8] Arkansas @ [6] LSU
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [9] Boise State @ [24] Southern Utah

Saturday, February 6
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [7] Utah @ [5] UCLA
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [19] Illinois @ [18] Minnesota
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [14] Nebraska @ Iowa
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Utah State @ [13] Denver

Sunday, February 7
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Towson, Bridgeport, Brown @ [22] New Hampshire
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [17] George Washington, Northern Illinois @ Kent State
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – [23] West Virginia @ [2] Oklahoma

Monday, February 8
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Maryland, Eastern Michigan @ [3] Michigan
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Arizona State @ [12] Stanford
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [15] Oregon State @ Washington
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [20] Arizona @ [21] Cal

Live blogging
Friday and Saturday. On Friday, my focus will be Florida/Georgia, the TWU meet featuring Oklahoma and Auburn, and Arkansas/LSU, with perhaps brief check-ins with Kentucky/Arkansas. Saturday is all about the Utah/UCLA rivalry. Also on Sunday, check your cable options if that's your kind of thing because Oklahoma's second meet of the weekend will once again be broadcast on some really random networks. Otherwise, just spend the day making fun of handegg like a normal.

-Coming off the pile of gold doubloons falling from the ceiling that was Florida's meet last Friday, it's hard to envision any kind of drop in quality coming into the Georgia meet. The Gators will be major favorites against the have-we-stopped-reeling-yet Gymdogs. As the road team, however, Florida may be hit with a reality stick this time around as to what scores they're really earning for hit routines. Because Georgia has never exhibited crazy scoring. Never ever. I don't know what you're talking about. 

If Georgia is to pull off the upset, it will probably take Florida counting a mistake, but it will also take winning vault. That's the one event where Georgia may find an opening. While Florida displayed much-improved landings over the weekend, and Georgia the opposite, Georgia has a touch superior difficulty and the real capability to stick for 49.5s, especially at home, which not that many teams have. If Florida's vault landings return to mid-January level, Georgia could gain some very valuable early tenths.

Of course, we can't go much further without talking about Georgia's beam. It's the all-important factor that will decide whether this meet is even in the vicinity of close. Last weekend, The Gymdogs graduated to just one fall, which was a laudable achievement, but they must take the next step and actually hit six whole routines this time. That's the short-term goal, but one that's immediately necessary with a tough opponent like Florida. The long-term goal, which could be decisive when evaluating postseason aspirations, is not just getting six hit routines but getting them from the six highest-potential scorers. Keep watching the lineup members and order. If Georgia is forced to compromise too much scoring potential in order to get a hit rotation, by removing pretties or moving top workers to early spots (my most loathed of strategies), that's almost as bad as having a fall. 

As for the other events, Georgia has impressed so far on bars and floor. This was the least terrifying January floor performance of the Durante era, and bars looks much stronger than I thought it would based on preseason showings, with a particular gold star to Gracie Cherrey for cleaning up her DLO so dramatically in a short period of time. The question going forward for Georgia on bars will be Brandie Jay's dismount. She's capable of a big score on bars but doesn't have the most pristine form or handstands in the world. Couple that with a DLO 1/1, difficult to stick and maintain body shape, and she's always on the verge of getting dropped down to 9.800, a score that looks comparatively harsh against the rabble of much less inspiring 9.800s that we see all over the place. The team needs a 9.900 from Jay pretty much every time, so when will be the time to introduce a more cynical, simpler dismount so that she can join the ranks of stuck dismounts on this team? The Gators have more of those likely 9.9s, even for Piked Giant McGee, which will give them the bars edge.

On floor, I still think Florida is suffering from a case of the half-a-lineups, in spite of the score last weekend, but the big routines from Baker and friends will likely overshadow what Georgia has to offer. That's why vault is so important for the GymDawwwwwwwwwgs. I added extra w's because I can't take it seriously. 

February 1, 2016

Week 4 Rankings + Notes

That Florida gymnastics isn't marketing a shirt that says, "On Fridays, we get 10s" is ludicrous. Verging on lyyyyyudicrous. Florida's meet was the closest to a postseason-level performance we've seen so far this year (closest, but not there by any means), and now the Gators lead the rankings by a big, heaping margin this week with that 687.900 (because of Florida at home), highlighted by a "yeah, I'm down with that" 10.000 for Bridget Sloan on beam, a "squint...but also that Dos Santos" 10.000 for Kennedy Baker on floor, and a "Bahahahaha" 10.000 for Alex McMurtry on bars. At least she has a same-bar release this year.

Kathy is not OK with these piked giants. The judges are. The interesting thing is that McMurtry gets a heaping load of side-eye for this bars routine every time because she gets such high scores, but if she were going, say, 2nd or 3rd in the lineup and getting a 9.850 for this routine, we would be standing up and applauding for how much she has improved on bars from her Level 10 career, when she was getting 8s for hit routines. Compare her 10.000 to this routine from the Nastia in 2013, which scored 8.925, uninspiring even by JO scoring standards. Improvements, clearly.

But let's be honest, the biggest difference between 2013 and 2016 is going 6th in a Florida lineup. Many of the factors that got her an 8.925 remain, hence the saltiness about this 10.

And now Baker and Sloan.

Kennedy Baker is like, "This is the seventh-best floor routine I've done at Florida, and this is the 10?"

To the rankings!

Week 4 rankings

1. Florida – 197.438
Week 4: 198.175
Week 4 leaders: AA - Sloan 39.775; VT - Boren, Baker 9.950; UB - McMurtry 10.000; BB - Sloan 10.000; FX - Baker 10.000

2. Oklahoma – 197.185
Week 4: 197.550
Week 4 leaders: AA - Capps 39.575; VT - Jones 9.900; UB - Wofford 9.950; BB - Capps 9.900; FX - Jones 9.950

3. Michigan – 196.860
Week 4: 196.550
Week 4 leaders: AA - Karas 39.525; VT - Karas, Chriarelli, Sheppard 9.850; UB - Brown 9.875; BB - Brown, Karas 9.875; FX - Artz 9.975

4. Alabama – 196.855
Week 4: 197.525
Week 4 leaders: AA - Beers 39.650; VT - Beers 9.900; UB - Beers 9.925; BB - Sims 9.975; FX - Winston 9.925

5. UCLA – 196.758
Week 4: Monday meet

6. LSU – 196.525
Week 4: 196.750
Week 4 leaders: AA - Gnat 39.500; VT - Gnat 10.000; UB - Finnegan, Zamardi 9.900; BB - Gnat 9.925; FX - Gnat, Finnegan 9.900

7. Utah – 196.342 
Week 4: Monday meet

8. Arkansas – 196.210
Week 4: 196.600
Week 4 leaders: AA - Wellick 39.500; VT - Wellick 9.900; UB - Wellick, Speed 9.850; BB - Wellick, Nelson 9.850; FX - Nelson 9.925

9. Boise State – 196.175
Week 4: 196.400
Week 4 leaders: AA - Collantes 39.475; VT - Stockwell 9.850; UB - Jacobsen 9.950; BB - Everyone 9.825; FX - Collantes, Krentz 9.950

10. Auburn – 196.080
Week 4: 195.975
Week 4 leaders: AA - Atkinson 39.400; VT - Rott 9.900; UB - Milliet, Engler 9.875; BB - Demers 9.850; FX - Atkinson 9.900