March 14, 2016

Week 10 Rankings + Final RQS Scenarios

The final weekend of the regular season has come and gone, with all its senior nights, and crying festivals, and craziest 10s you'll ever see. We couldn't have asked for anything more. Hanna Nordquist getting a 10 for a wobble. Nicole Artz struggling through a beam routine, ending with a fall, and still scoring 9.450. Janay Honest and McKenzie Wofford getting the same bars score. We'll always have these memories.

This was actually one of the more normal ones.

What are you talking about? Bridget Sloan doesn't hop on final-pass landings during her last floor routine on senior night. Shut up.

Now, we sit on the cusp of the conference championships, just one week remaining for teams to resolve their horrible RQSs and make a push for a not-horrible regionals spot. Normally at this point, I would do the temporary regionals outlook if the season ended today, but if the standings truly do end this way, it's going to take some fancy figuring and rearranging to sort out the host placements. Based on current seeding, Alabama and Minnesota would be placed together (both hosts), Utah and Georgia would go together (both hosts), and Michigan and Iowa would go together (both hosts). So, that won't work. Unless things dramatically resort themselves after the conference championships, be ready for the seedings to get a little weird for regionals and depart from the traditional 1/12/13, 2/11/14, 3/10/15, 4/9/16, 5/8/17, 6/7/18. 

I sort of wish they didn't have to change because right now we have some really juicy pairings set up, like Nebraska/Arkansas fighting for a spot and Cal/Oregon State fighting for a spot. And then there's the Stanford wildcard. Bring it on. 

Anyway, let's get to the rankings. This week, I've included the maximum RQS for each team in order to provide a look at how high each team can potentially climb after the final meet. Toward the bottom, I have included the score each of the bubble teams needs to clinch a spot at regionals, if that's possible.

Week 10 rankings
1. Oklahoma – 197.845

Road Score 1: 197.950
Road Score 2: 197.925
Road Score 3: 197.675
Road/Home Score 1: 198.075
Road/Home Score 2: 197.900
Road/Home Score 3: 197.775

Maximum RQS: 197.925

With another gigantic performance over the weekend at UCLA, Oklahoma widens its lead over Florida, but while the season-ending #1 ranking looks likely at this point, it is not yet guaranteed. The Sooners can clinch the spot with a 197.850 at Big 12s, a difficult score but one that is clearly attainable. The other entirely cosmetic but fun benchmark to watch out for is Oklahoma's school RQS record of 197.895 (tied for second-best all time), which can be broken this year with a 197.950 at Big 12s.

The Sooners did a little lineup fiddling against UCLA with Kmieciak coming out of the six on vault, beam, and floor. It didn't end up mattering too much in the final score, but her replacements (Jackson on beam and Marks on floor) both had errors, and their scores had to be dropped. They're probably not routines Oklahoma will want to use when things count, putting a little more pressure on the good lineups to be present and accounted for. 

2. Florida – 197.655

Road Score 1: 197.750
Road Score 2: 197.525
Road Score 3: 197.075
Road/Home Score 1: 198.175
Road/Home Score 2: 198.050
Road/Home Score 3: 197.875

Maximum RQS: 197.875

With the senior-night scoring parade, Florida won the 198-race for the regular season, which is a thing now I guess. Florida could theoretically pass Oklahoma for the #1 national seed, but that would take at least a 198.050 at SECs coupled with Oklahoma not increasing its RQS at all. It's possible, but not likely.

Beam was Florida's weak event on Friday in spite of marking the team's first 6-for-6 showing in quite a while. Peyton Ernst was out injured, putting yet more strain on a group that has been somewhat shaky lately, pretty much all except for McMurtry.

3. LSU – 197.555

Road Score 1: 197.900
Road Score 2: 197.825
Road Score 3: 196.800
Road/Home Score 1: 197.925
Road/Home Score 2: 197.825
Road/Home Score 3: 197.425

Maximum RQS: 197.780

LSU has made a late run and is suddenly within striking distance of Florida for that #2 spot. It will take at minimum 197.325 at SECs, but both teams should be eclipsing that mark quite comfortably at this point. If both teams do go big and LSU beats Florida by a couple tenths, LSU could move ahead.

Priessman returned on bars for 9.925 last weekend, shoring up a somewhat questionable lineup. There are still a couple clear 9.800s that will pale against the top teams, but it's starting to look more competitive. In fact, the biggest question for LSU this year is once again whether beam, the team's most enjoyable and beautiful event, is non-terrifying enough to warrant a national championship.

4. Alabama – 197.325

Road Score 1: 197.525
Road Score 2: 197.300
Road Score 3: 197.250
Road/Home Score 1: 197.550
Road/Home Score 2: 197.375
Road/Home Score 3: 197.175

Maximum RQS: 197.400

Out of action, Alabama was forced to concede a step to the other big girls, and heading into conference championships, the Tide look like a clear #3 in the SEC. But don't sleep on Alabama. We learned that last year in pretty much the exact same scenario. And many times before that. The concern about Alabama right now is one of scoring potential. Alabama's high is 197.550 this year, a score we'd expect both Florida and LSU to sail past at SECs. Then again, Alabama is sort of secret-weaponing it this year. Have we even seen the final lineups? Even in the last meet of the regular season, those were not the lineups that should be going out at SECs unless there are serious injury problems.

5. Utah – 197.205

Road Score 1: 197.525
Road Score 2: 197.150
Road Score 3: 197.075
Road/Home Score 1: 197.675
Road/Home Score 2: 197.150
Road/Home Score 3: 197.125

Maximum RQS: 197.325

Utah is starting to get real scores now. In the rankings, the Utes could theoretically tie Alabama and may be somewhat vulnerable to Auburn with a weak showing at Pac-12s, but by far the most likely scenario sees them hanging at #5 going into regionals. 

Unfortunately, Utah may also be entering Problemtown, USA after Stover injured her shoulder on beam in the last meet, accounting for the bizarre floor routine that followed. Her injury is not too devastating for floor especially if Partyka comes back in (and even if she doesn't, there are workable backups), but is quite troubling for beam if she's not able to return for the counting meets. Stover and Lee were supposed to lead beam to new heights this year, and if a postseason lineup has to be cobbled together without both of them, it will be hard to stay competitive.

6. Auburn – 197.120

Road Score 1: 197.325
Road Score 2: 197.125
Road Score 3: 196.825
Road/Home Score 1: 197.275
Road/Home Score 2: 197.200
Road/Home Score 3: 197.175

Maximum RQS: 197.220 

How exactly is Auburn doing better this year than last year? Quietly, the Tigers have squeezed out a very respectable number of 197s, but it's hard to classify them as a Super Six favorite in spite of the current ranking. Is it just a reputation thing? Or is Auburn's peak scoring potential lower than that of Michigan, Georgia, UCLA etc? Will Auburn's resolute 49.3s keep pace if one of those other teams figures out what hitting is, or is this another season in which Auburn would have to rely on a mistake to get into Super Six?

7. Michigan – 197.085

Road Score 1: 197.275
Road Score 2: 196.975
Road Score 3: 196.900
Road/Home Score 1: 197.425
Road/Home Score 2: 197.225
Road/Home Score 3: 197.050

Maximum RQS: 197.190

BEAAAMMMMMMMM. The beam virus has been making the rounds all over school, but it looks like Michigan has the brunt of it now, counting yet another fall at the Big Five meet along with a possible injury to Nicole Artz. Michigan's beam is becoming one of those must-watch, must-cower rotations again. The good old days. The Wolverines will have a shot to move ahead of Auburn this weekend depending on what happens, but since 6 and 7 go to the same regional, that is exactly meaningless. Fighting off Georgia and UCLA will be the task.

8. Georgia – 196.990

Road Score 1: 197.125
Road Score 2: 197.025
Road Score 3: 196.775
Road/Home Score 1: 197.525
Road/Home Score 2: 197.275
Road/Home Score 3: 196.750

Maximum RQS: 197.145

BEAAAMMMMMMMM. But a positive version of that. Sort of. No one feels safe while watching Georgia on beam, but managing six hit routines over the weekend is another step, especially with a burgeoning glimmer of (dare I say) confidence brewing in Broussard and Rogers to join Box as realistic and expected hits. ...? Maybe...? Georgia will have to endure the early session of SECs, which is only really a concern with respect to scores being kept down early in the day. Given what we've seen this year, Georgia should still be able to drop that 196.750 with another actually hit beam, even in the first session. 

9. UCLA – 196.940

Road Score 1: 196.925
Road Score 2: 196.800
Road Score 3: 196.675
Road/Home Score 1: 197.475
Road/Home Score 2: 197.200
Road/Home Score 3: 197.100

Maximum RQS: 197.100

After FLASHGATE, another fine-not-amazing score keeps UCLA smashed down in the rankings at 9th, though that 196.675 is very drop-able, so we may see a rise back up the rankings. The performance on Sunday exposed the trouble of relying heavily on beam to stay in the realm of competitiveness. It's still beam, and people sometimes do layout stepouts to their hips.

While we may seem some teams shifting a spot or two in this top group, these nine will remain the top nine heading into regionals. Because the teams look like they're going to have to be rearranged so much to make regionals work, the final spots may not even matter that much as they'll end up being adjusted anyway.

The rest of the rankings get really interesting with quite a bit more potential for reshuffling. As many as five teams are still capable of finishing the season in 10th and nearly every team left in the teens still theoretically capable of snatching a #2 seed at a regional.

10. Denver – 196.645

Road Score 1: 197.050
Road Score 2: 196.350
Road Score 3: 196.325
Road/Home Score 1: 197.525
Road/Home Score 2: 196.825

Road/Home Score 3: 196.675

Maximum RQS: 196.885

11. Cal – 196.555

Road Score 1: 197.500
Road Score 2: 196.900
Road Score 3: 195.650
Road/Home Score 1: 196.825
Road/Home Score 2: 196.750
Road/Home Score 3: 196.650

Maximum RQS: 196.925 

Cal got a 197.500. I know. It's enough to earn a spot in the evening session at Pac-12s, which in the grand tradition of scores begetting scores, could be just what Cal needs to confirm a #2 seeding. 

12. Nebraska – 196.535

Road Score 1: 197.000
Road Score 2: 196.350
Road Score 3: 196.150
Road/Home Score 1: 197.350
Road/Home Score 2: 196.775
Road/Home Score 3: 196.400

Maximum RQS: 196.725

Nebraska got a PHEW of a result in the Big Five meet in the team's final chance to drop a nasty low road score and move toward a more realistic ranking. Healthy, this is a 197 team, and if I'm any of the other schools in this little 10-16 group, Nebraska is the team I'd most want to avoid when the final placements shake out. 

13. Arkansas – 196.505

Road Score 1: 196.700
Road Score 2: 196.200
Road Score 3: 196.150
Road/Home Score 1: 197.225
Road/Home Score 2: 196.775
Road/Home Score 3: 196.700

Maximum RQS: 196.720

14. Oregon State – 196.450

Road Score 1: 196.550
Road Score 2: 196.350
Road Score 3: 196.225
Road/Home Score 1: 196.850
Road/Home Score 2: 196.800
Road/Home Score 3: 196.325

Maximum RQS: 196.575

That max RQS is the lowest in this group, putting OSU at a disadvantage compared to the others. The Beavs can still move up, but the likes of Cal, Nebraska, and even Arkansas won't have to be all that great at conference championships to keep Oregon State down in the rankings. The Beavs will even be vulnerable to dropping lower since several of the next teams could pass regardless of what they score.

15. Boise State – 196.425

Road Score 1: 196.425
Road Score 2: 196.425
Road Score 3: 196.400
Road/Home Score 1: 197.325
Road/Home Score 2: 196.575
Road/Home Score 3: 196.300

Maximum RQS: 196.630

Boise State finally got that huge score but suffered the inevitable plummet at the same time because of those bunched mid-196s, which were not going to remain top-ten competitive when the other schools started to counter with higher 196s and into the 197s. But, it does mean that if BSU can replicate that score at home this weekend at the Mountain Rim Central Rockies Goodwill Alliance Definitely-Not-A-Fake-Sounding-Competition Conference Cup Championship, they'll have a better shot to move up than Oregon State.

16. Minnesota – 196.395

Road Score 1: 197.425
Road Score 2: 197.225
Road Score 3: 196.300
Road/Home Score 1: 196.200
Road/Home Score 2: 196.175
Road/Home Score 3: 196.075

Maximum RQS: 196.665

Thank crazy scoring for this sudden and relatively unexpected ranking. Minnesota looks poised to become that ever-dangerous third-seed host, even more dangerous with scoring precedent achieved both home and away. It will take a 196.350 at conference championships to guarantee Minnesota a #3 regionals seed.

17. Washington – 196.360

Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 196.250
Road Score 3: 196.175
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.450 
Road/Home Score 3: 196.325

Maximum RQS: 196.425

Washington made a late run and didn't even end up all that far away from qualifying for the evening session at Pac-12s. Hosting Pac-12s is a bit of a disadvantage in that it means those lower road scores must count and that Washington does not control its #3-seed destiny. If Iowa and Stanford nail their meets, Washington will drop into the 19-24 range regardless of performance.

18. Iowa – 196.330

Road Score 1: 196.650
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 196.275
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.375
Road/Home Score 3: 196.075

Maximum RQS: 196.445

19. Stanford – 196.305

Road Score 1: 197.400
Road Score 2: 196.650
Road Score 3: 196.250
Road/Home Score 1: 196.675
Road/Home Score 2: 196.075
Road/Home Score 3: 195.875

Maximum RQS: 196.610

Ah, the big one. Stanford left it until late obviously, and honestly all the histrionics from me about this ranking may all come to nothing if Stanford manages a big performance at Pac-12s. The Cardinal could still theoretically get as high as #11, but that would require a lot of help and fortuitous falls from others. More likely is a mid-low #3 seed, resolutely pestering those 5-8 teams and making their lives miserable. At least it wouldn't be a #4 seed, which is what will happen in Stanford has a disaster at Pac-12s. 

20. Missouri – 196.235

Road Score 1: 196.625
Road Score 2: 196.050
Road Score 3: 195.825
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.625
Road/Home Score 3: 196.050

Maximum RQS: 196.400

21. Arizona – 196.155

Road Score 1: 196.375
Road Score 2: 196.000
Road Score 3: 195.775
Road/Home Score 1: 196.850
Road/Home Score 2: 196.475

Road/Home Score 3: 196.150

Maximum RQS: 196.370

Here we hit the cutoff for top-3 seed contention. Stanford, Missouri, and Arizona could still potentially get in, but no one else can. This seeding range can be important because the top three seeds are drawn based on their rankings while the rest are split into groups of six and distributed "geographically," or more accurately, "randomly." It's unlikely that Arizona will get up into that pack, but it's still possible. Below this, the fate of the next eight teams is already sealed regardless of what happens this weekend. They're going to regionals, and they'll be sorted as 4, 5, 6 seeds.

22. Kentucky – 196.115

Road Score 1: 196.700
Road Score 2: 195.800
Road Score 3: 195.800
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.275
Road/Home Score 3: 196.050

Maximum RQS: 196.295

23. George Washington – 195.905

Road Score 1: 196.175
Road Score 2: 196.075
Road Score 3: 195.750
Road/Home Score 1: 196.600
Road/Home Score 2: 195.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.725

Maximum RQS: 196.080

24. Eastern Michigan – 195.875

Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 195.975
Road Score 3: 195.800
Road/Home Score 1: 196.250
Road/Home Score 2: 195.750
Road/Home Score 3: 195.600

Maximum RQS: 196.075

25. Illinois – 195.870

Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 195.950
Road Score 3: 195.875
Road/Home Score 1: 196.525
Road/Home Score 2: 195.725
Road/Home Score 3: 195.500

Maximum RQS: 196.075

Sadly, seeing Mary Jane Horth and Giana O'Connor as crutch-twins after O'Connor's injury in the Big Five meet may have sealed the season for Illinois.

26. Southern Utah – 195.840

Road Score 1: 196.275
Road Score 2: 196.000
Road Score 3: 195.250
Road/Home Score 1: 196.300
Road/Home Score 2: 195.975
Road/Home Score 3: 195.700

Maximum RQS: 196.050

27. West Virginia – 195.805

Road Score 1: 196.225
Road Score 2: 195.825
Road Score 3: 195.250
Road/Home Score 1: 196.800
Road/Home Score 2: 195.925
Road/Home Score 3: 195.800

Maximum RQS: 196.115

28. Penn State – 195.800

Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 195.925
Road Score 3: 195.700
Road/Home Score 1: 197.125
Road/Home Score 2: 195.675
Road/Home Score 3: 195.350

Maximum RQS: 196.155

29. Ohio State – 195.765

Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 195.975
Road Score 3: 195.275
Road/Home Score 1: 196.100
Road/Home Score 2: 195.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.675

Maximum RQS: 195.980

This is the regionals cutoff. Everyone through Ohio State has already clinched a spot at regionals, while everyone below this line still has work to do this weekend.

30. Kent State – 195.455

Road Score 1: 195.325
Road Score 2: 195.275
Road Score 3: 194.625
Road/Home Score 1: 196.125
Road/Home Score 2: 196.050
Road/Home Score 3: 196.000

Maximum RQS: 195.755

To guarantee qualification to regionals, Kent State must score 195.050 this weekend.

31. BYU – 195.430

Road Score 1: 195.575
Road Score 2: 195.550
Road Score 3: 195.400
Road/Home Score 1: 195.750
Road/Home Score 2: 195.475
Road/Home Score 3: 195.150

Maximum RQS: 195.550

To guarantee qualification to regionals, BYU must score 195.700 this weekend.

32. New Hampshire – 195.400

Road Score 1: 195.800
Road Score 2: 195.225
Road Score 3: 195.100
Road/Home Score 1: 196.075
Road/Home Score 2: 195.550
Road/Home Score 3: 195.325

Maximum RQS: 195.595

To guarantee qualification to regionals, New Hampshire must score 195.800 this weekend.

UNH has fallen apart lately with consecutive 193s, dropping precipitously into the danger zone, which didn't look all that likely even a month ago. Now, that 195.800 it will take to assure qualification is quite an ask.

33. NC State – 195.375

Road Score 1: 196.175
Road Score 2: 195.925
Road Score 3: 195.450
Road/Home Score 1: 195.900
Road/Home Score 2: 194.900
Road/Home Score 3: 194.700

Maximum RQS: 195.670

To guarantee qualification to regionals, NC State must score 195.525 this weekend.

Being able to drop that 194.700 puts slightly less pressure on NC State in terms of the score needed to advance, which in turn makes things more precarious for New Hampshire and BYU.

34. Utah State – 195.350

Road Score 1: 195.750
Road Score 2: 195.475
Road Score 3: 195.100
Road/Home Score 1: 196.025
Road/Home Score 2: 195.425
Road/Home Score 3: 195.000

Maximum RQS: 195.555

To guarantee qualification to regionals, Utah State must score 195.950 this weekend.

35. Central Michigan – 195.345

Road Score 1: 195.700
Road Score 2: 195.400
Road Score 3: 195.275
Road/Home Score 1: 196.125
Road/Home Score 2: 195.175
Road/Home Score 3: 195.125

Maximum RQS: 195.535

Central Michigan does not hold its own fate. Even if CMU scores a 198 this weekend, it's still possible that they could be passed by the likes of Michigan State and Bowling Green and not be able to do anything about it. It will be a weekend of waiting to see what other teams do and hoping Michigan State and Bowling Green have meltdowns.

36. Michigan State – 195.310

Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 195.425
Road Score 3: 195.275
Road/Home Score 1: 195.575
Road/Home Score 2: 195.175
Road/Home Score 3: 195.100

Maximum RQS: 195.560

It's possible for Michigan State to guarantee qualification with its performance this weekend, but it would take 196.250 at Big Tens to do so, which is a tall order. More likely, Michigan State will also have to play the wait-and-see game, but depending on their performance, can make that game a lot less scary.

37. Bowling Green – 195.290

Road Score 1: 195.725
Road Score 2: 195.350
Road Score 3: 194.800
Road/Home Score 1: 196.500
Road/Home Score 2: 195.425
Road/Home Score 3: 195.150

Maximum RQS; 195.630

Bowling Green is in the same spot as Michigan State, though the score to guarantee qualification is slightly lower, a 196.050. That's still quite a bit to expect of a Bowling Green team, however.

38. Maryland – 195.235

Road Score 1: 196.025
Road Score 2: 195.500
Road Score 3: 195.125
Road/Home Score 1: 195.500
Road/Home Score 2: 195.350

Road/Home Score 3: 194.700

Maximum RQS: 195.500

Maryland has an uphill battle to make it back to regionals this time, also forced to depend on other teams to have weak meets to go along with a solid performance of their own. It will take at minimum 195.100 for Maryland to be in with a shot, but realistically it will take a lot more than that.

39. Iowa State – 195.225

Road Score 1: 195.625
Road Score 2: 194.825
Road Score 3: 194.725
Road/Home Score 1: 196.025
Road/Home Score 2: 195.650
Road/Home Score 3: 195.300

Maximum RQS: 195.485

With a 194 last weekend, Iowa Stare suddenly plummeted out of the safe zone. Iowa State's fate is the same as Maryland's currently, though it would take minimum 195.175 for Iowa State to have a chance to take advantage of others' mistakes and squeak into the top 36.

Beginning with Rutgers at #40, every other team has already been eliminated from contention for regionals.

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