The last meets of January mean the last few opportunities for allowances. Teams are still permitted to be lackluster this week, but the window is closing. Starting next week, teams better have one or more (preferably two) scores that they would be willing to count toward RQS, otherwise they are going to be under pressure to deliver every week from here on out. Once we get into March, it’s a good idea to start resting some of those top performers so that they will be ready for the postseason, but teams won’t feel comfortable doing that if there is RQS pressure to get into the top six (or top twelve, or whatever the goal may be). Even though the season seems brand new, we will be more than a third of the way done after this weekend. January rust has to come off.
Florida has a big meet at home this weekend. Arkansas is by far the more in-form team, and Florida’s trajectory (and injury situation with Caquatto coming back) won’t have them ready to start putting up huge scores yet. But at the same time, I expect to see a more accomplished lineup from Florida than we have seen so far to avoid the potential upset (even though it’s not a numerical upset, it would still be an upset if Arkansas won). This is a major confidence meet for Florida against their first serious competition of the year, and all the big scorers should be in the lineup wherever they are prepared to compete.
As always, I will be following along with all the Friday scores and potentially checking in with some of the live streams we will have.
Top 25 Schedule:
Friday – 1/27/12
6:00 ET / 3:00 PT –  Illinois @  Michigan
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT –  Arkansas,  Maryland @  Florida
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT –  Ohio State @ Pittsburgh
7:30 ET / 4:30 PT –  Iowa @ Iowa State
8:00 ET / 5:00 PT –  NC State @  Oklahoma
8:00 ET / 5:00 PT –  Alabama @  Auburn
9:00 ET / 6:00 PT – BYU @  Utah
9:00 ET / 6:00 PT –  Boise State, Southern Utah @ Utah State
9:00 ET / 6:00 PT –  Arizona @ Arizona State
10:00 ET / 7:00 PT –  UCLA @  Washington
10:00 ET / 7:00 PT –  Stanford @  Oregon State
Saturday – 1/28/12
4:00 ET / 1:00 PT –  LSU @  Georgia
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT –  Missouri @  Nebraska
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT –  Penn State @ Minnesota
8:00 ET / 5:00 PT – Air Force, Centenary @  Denver
Sunday – 1/29/12
1:00 ET / 10:00 PT – George Washington, Towson @  West Virginia