Pac-12 Championships – Definitely Not a Live Blog

So, I’m just now getting around to watching the broadcast of Pac-12 Championships. I’m going to record my thoughts as I watch as if it were a live blog. I will be paying special attention to deciding just how insane the scoring was, which I will then compare to SECs when I watch that (tomorrow?).

Not in HD. I feel like I’m watching it through a sandstorm.

Our hosts are Amanda Borden and Some Guy #12. We’re starting with a recap of session #1 with some random routines from the four teams.

Aubree Cristello was by far the best scoring gymnast from the early session, but there are a number of deductions in her routine, namely a large lunge back on the double arabian mount, but her amplitude sets her apart from most of the other second-tier teams. She got a 9.850, which was too high given the deductions on the mount and the piking on the second pass.

Good difficulty from Cal’s Crawford for 9.875. They haven’t had big scores this year, but the potential for good performances is there under Durante more than it has been in a long time. For the most part, the routine composition is there even if the hitting isn’t always.

Beate Jones vaults a yfull. Pikes down, steps back, and lacks some distance. Goes 9.850, as does Fechter from Washington for a bar routine riddled with little deductions. None of the routines they’re showing are bad, necessary, but they are all going 9.850, which is a good tenth too high for all the leg separations and body position faults were seeing. We haven’t seen any actually clean gymnastics from this group. At events like World Championships, we always see the scores rise in the later sessions, and it looks like the judges backed themselves into a corner with their afternoon scoring, which explains some of the evening scoring.

Rotation 1:

Utah starts on vault. The last few times I’ve seen Utah vault, the landings have not been there, with most of the gymnasts incurring a tenth just for a lunge back. McAllister can’t do that because she doesn’t have the distance and amplitude of the others. Delaney gives them a solid vault, though, just a little piking down and a hop back. If she can maintain her body position the whole time, she could be an anchor for them in the future. Lothrop vaults her Omelianchik with a leg separation, lack of amplitude, and a hop back, so 9.900 is too high. I love this vault in general, but I’m not sure if it’s the right fit for her.

UCLA on floor, Zam is focusing on cleanliness instead of difficulty in this routine. A big of leg form on the mount and a little piking down on the dismount, which is not the kind of cleanliness they were looking for. Even though Zam looks a little less self-conscious with her movements than in the past, this routine is just sort of there. Nothing about it stands out. Peszek’s routine is growing on me. It’s more dynamic than it was later in the season, but she had a big bounce back out of her DLO. EHH has fortunately gone back to her all-star 2010 routine for good, but incurs a humongous deduction on her double tuck mount with an OOB.

Stanford is on beam, where they put up a whole team of 9.900s, which gave us our first opportunity to wonder about the scores. Pechanec is lovely to watch on this event and is quite clean except for a check on the side aerial and an awkward foot placement on her loso into the dismount. Alyssa Brown was extremely clean and gets the same 9.900 as everyone else, which is called not differentiating between quality of routine.

For OSU on bars we see Mak fall on her Bhardwaj, which is a shame because I love that skill. Amanda described the fall as “almost unexpected.” Stambaugh has a very nice Jaeger and a hop back on the dismount for 9.925.

So in the first rotation, we have visual evidence of what we all assumed, that the scoring was anywhere from .050 to .100 too high on every routine. However, I really enjoy Stanford’s line on beam, and we know UCLA can be much better than that on floor, so there is something to take from the first rotation.

Rotation 2:

Utah on bars. Lopez has very nice handstands, but needs to be sticking that landing on the DLO. It seems like it’s close to a stick. Next is Hansen, hmmm, what to say? She’s cleaned up this routine, but it’s not a 9.900, especially because she didn’t stick. In particular, I’d like to see the legs cleaned up on the pak. Dabritz does well, but I’d like to see a little more amplitude on the jaeger, which I don’t recall being an issue for her usually. Lothrop does an efficient routine with a missed handstand and hop on the landing, but it went 9.925. When Utah gets to Nationals, most of these routines will be 9.850, so there’s work to be done. We’re seeing way fewer stuck landings overall than I expected based on the scores.

On beam, OSU has Stambaugh who has made the lineup now after early career inconsistency. I wish she worked a little more aggressively, though. OK, one of the judges on beam gave Melanie Jones a 10 even though she had a clear balance check and a step on the landing. We need to make some optometry appointments now. 9.850 was appropriate. Leslie Mak anchors with a very clean routine, very confident performance.

UCLA on vault gets a stick from EHH. She’s perfect for this leadoff position because even though there are clear deductions in the vault, she can stick to get a big score from judges that are overly landing conscious (which these judges were), which bumps up the rest of the rotation. Peszek has a big hop back on her yfull, but Courtney gets a very nice stick. Frattone has a big leap forward. She needs to  be sticking every week, though. Zamarripa has a hop back on her yfull. Has she stuck it since her 10 at Cal in week 2?

For Stanford on floor, Ashley Morgan is aggressive, but her second pass is just layouts, so it doesn’t stand out in the way it might. It’s interesting how angle changes everything because in the original Stanford video of this routine, she looked very low on the dismount, but it looked fine here.

Rotation 3: 

UCLA on bars, MDLT didn’t hit her handstands the way she needed to and didn’t hit her landing either. She peaked at Championships last year and needs to do it again. Olivia Courtney was exactly the same, not great on handstands or landing. We get to see what happened for Peszek in this routine. Ooh, she really did land on her neck after peeling off the bars. That was a little scary but she’s fine. Zamarripa had a leg separation on the bail handstand and a weird stumble on her DLO. She can (and should) be going at least 9.900. Gerber has a big step back on her dismount, way too many dismount issues for this point in the season. Nearly everyone incurred a tenth.

On vault, Stanford’s Ashley Morgan does a solid enough yhalf. Ivana Hong sticks very nicely, a little issue with body position, but I love to see Hong scoring well in her first year. That’s a stuck landing, not these little shuffles we’ve been seeing all over the place.

Beam is where Utah had to count a fall and still scored nearly a 49, so we’ll see about that – except we won’t because the broadcast omits the falls. Showing the highlights isn’t the same as telling the story of the meet. We’re seeing so much perfectly fine 9.850 gymnastics from all the teams but not a ton to be enthusiastic about, certainly not as enthusiastic as the judges were that night. Big wobble for Lothrop on her side aerial, so I’m not seeing this 9.900 at all. Robarts finishes with a very clean performance.

Rotation 4:

UCLA finishes on the beam, Gerber is excellent except for a shuffle on the dismount, which is a bit unusual for her. Courtney looks extremely uncomfortable, which accounts for these two falls. Will she be in the lineup for Regionals? Baer is more reliable. Zam is very clean and sticks the dismount, but had two or three minor balance issues, so I’m not seeing 9.950. I should stop pointing it out because it’s every routine. We see EHH’s 9.975 (also posted above). She’s done much better routines, but she doesn’t get 10s for those, only the OK ones. Peszek has two notable balance issues and a hop on the dismount. I know the hands-free routine is a nice gimmick, but it also makes her dismount less stickable.

OSU on vault, the distance and amplitude isn’t there. This event really sets them back more than the others. When top teams go 49.500, OSU is happy with a 49.200.

Utah ends on floor, where they had four routines over 9.900. We see a bit of Kyndal Robarts’s routine. They’re sticking the passes they needed to. A little stumble on the triple dismount from Dabritz, but otherwise it was clean. Not Lothrop’s cleanest routine with a little lack of control on the middle pass and a very minor stumble on the dismount. McAllister has two nice passes but is awkward on the punch front in the middle pass.

Stanford ended on bars, where they just needed to hit to take the title, but they counted a fall to finish last. Ashley Morgan does a fine routine, but she has NCAA stuck her landings at this meet and will get deducted for it. We see Pechanec miss her Shaposh, which accounts for her low score (in the routine Stanford posted, we didn’t see the fall, so there was some question as to the score).

* * * * * * * * *

So there we have it for Pac-12s. In another world, none of these teams would have broken 197, or perhaps would have hit it exactly. As I mentioned, a lot of 9.850-level performances. Way too many landings were not stuck across the board with too much flat gymnastics. None of these teams should be that pleased with their performances. It will be fascinating to see how this compares to SECs in terms of both quality and scores.

Regionals Draw and Final Rankings

This year, the NCAA decided to hold a selection show to announce the draw for Regionals. This would make sense if there were any kind of suspense involved in the draw (or any kind of draw at all instead of just a guy reading out what a committee decided), but since we already knew the placements of seeds 1-18, there was little reason for it to exist. Our 2012 Regionals are as follows:

NC State Regional
1. Florida
2. Ohio State
3. Penn State
4. NC State
5. Kent State
6. North Carolina

Illinois Regional
1. Oklahoma
2. Stanford
3. Denver
4. Illinois
5. Kentucky
6. Illinois-Chicago

Arkansas Regional
2. Arkansas
3. Boise State
4. Missouri
5. New Hampshire
6. Maryland

Washington Regional
1. Alabama
2. LSU
3. Arizona
4. Washington
5. Iowa
6. Central Michigan

Utah Regional
1. Nebraska
2. Utah
3. Minnesota
4. Iowa State
5. Arizona State
6. San Jose State

Auburn Regional
1. Georgia
2. Oregon State
3. Auburn
4. Michigan
5. West Virginia
6. Michigan State

So there’s that. Thoughts on these placements? Is it possible to be excited about any of them? In the two weeks we have to wait, I’ll be putting together previews of each individual Regional, and I’ll probably try to convince myself there’s a greater chance for an upset than there actually is so that it will be more exciting.

Final rankings after the jump.

Final National Rankings:
1. Florida – 197.445
2. Oklahoma – 197.360
3. UCLA – 197.270
4. Alabama – 197.245
5. Nebraska – 197.030
6. Georgia – 196.995
7. Oregon State – 196.760
8. Utah – 196.705
9. LSU – 196.570
10. Arkansas – 196.545
11. Stanford – 196.410
12. Ohio State – 196.245
13. Penn State – 196.230
14. Denver – 196.090
15. Boise State – 196.055
16. Arizona – 196.020
17. Minnesota – 195.985
18. Auburn – 195.965
19. Missouri – 195.925
20. NC State – 195.870
21. Michigan – 195.825
22. Illinois – 195.695
23. Washington – 195.595
24. Kentucky – 195.490
24. Iowa State – 195.490
26. Kent State – 195.400
27. West Virginia – 195.265
28. Arizona State – 195.145
29. New Hampshire – 195.120
30. Iowa – 195.065
31. North Carolina – 195.010
32. Illinois-Chicago – 194.940
32. Michigan State – 194.940
34. Maryland – 194.905
35. San Jose State – 194.790
36. Central Michigan – 194.770

Live Blog – Conference Championships

Our first day of nonstop postseason gymnastics has arrived. We’ll probably have set a land speed record for Yurchenko fulls by the end of the Pac-12 Championships tonight.

The pride of winning the conference championship will be on the minds of our competitors, but as fans we also know how important this day is in foreshadowing the postseason. If there are cracks, we’re going to see them today. Last year, this was the day we saw Florida start to crumble on the beam. If a team wants to win National Championships, performing well today is a must. The last time a team won Nationals without having placed in the Top 2 at the conference championships was 1989. Pay special attention to which gymnasts underperform today. Those who let the pressure get to them today will be on nail-biting watch come Regionals and Nationals.

Primary attention will be paid to our big four conferences, with Oklahoma the clear favorite to take the Big 12, Nebraska the clear favorite to take the Big 10, UCLA and Utah battling for the Pac-12, and Alabama, Florida, and (maybe) Georgia battling for the SEC. These teams will get all the focus today, and could legitimately sweep all of the individual titles, so let’s take a minute and root for Jamie Pisani to take some titles so that it’s not a complete rout for the big 7.

Remember that we will also have four judges starting today. This usually has little effect other than to regularize the scoring. We see fewer .075 and .025 scores because the outliers (usually the more charitable judges) will get thrown out.

As mentioned before, no streams today for Pac-12s or SECs, so it’s all about our meager live scoring. I’ll be around beginning at 3:30 ET / 12:30 PT for all kinds of jibber jabber. In the meantime, feel free to pay attention to the first session of the Big 10s, which begins at 2:00 ET / 11:00 PT.

Live Scores:
Big 10
Big 12
Pac 12 Session 1
Pac 12 Session 2

Getting ready for the major action to start soon. Taking a look at the first session at Big 10s, we have a close battle between Michigan and Illinois. Illinois leads 146.950-146.850 after three rotations. Michigan will be on bars and Illinois on beam for the final rotation. These scores will not hold up for the second session, but it will be a matter of pride to win the first group.

Of note on vault, Michigan’s Sachi Sugiyama scored a 9.950, Joanna Sampson scored 9.925, and Illinois’s Amber See scored 9.900. No one else has broken into the 9.9s on any event.

Adavtange Michigan so far in the final rotation, 9.800 and 9.825 versus two 9.725s from Illinois. Ending on beam, the odds are not in Illinois’s favor.

As we look toward SECs beginning, note that Shayla Worley will be in on floor for Georgia. Risky, but they need her hitting.

Ack, Michigan and Illinois have each had falls in the final rotation now. Anyone’s game in the final two routines.

Neither team has to count a fall after all, and Michigan JUST sneaks past Illinois 195.875-195.850 on the strength of Sugiyama’s 9.900 on bars. Can’t get closer than that. Let’s hope it’s a trend. Looks like Joannides of Illinois is our current AA leader with 39.400. Iowa finishes with 195.450 and Michigan State scores 194.675.

Oh, Michigan. I suppose winning the session is a victory, but what a tremendous letdown from last year. The good news: they’re not losing any seniors. Looking at the group they’ll have next year, they can at least be a Top 12 team again.

And now, we shift attention to SECs and Pac-12s Part 1, both of which will begin momentarily, and by momentarily I mean probably after a while because there’s no way these things start on time.

Our first rotation at SECs will see Georgia on vault, Alabama on bars, Florida on beam, and Arkansas on floor. We’re getting the big guns out right away. Georgia, Alabama, and Florida all start on events where they MUST stay afloat. Georgia is the worst of the three on vault, same with Alabama on bars, and then we all know what happened with Florida and the beam last year, so that holds some extra mental importance as well.

Over at Pac-12s, none of these teams will contend for the title, but Arizona in particular has some important positioning to do for Regionals. As of right now, they’d be with Oklahoma and Stanford. Not bad. Maybe they don’t want to move up after all. I’d rather be with the #2 seed as Stanford instead of Arkansas, that’s for sure. To me, Washington also has more potential than they’ve shown this season. I hope to see them going into the 196s.

Arizona starts on floor, so expect them to lead after the first rotation.

We’ve done introductions, just waiting on the warmups and the action now.

And GASP, it looks like the SEC has a legitimate scoreboard this year. Joys and miracles. Pac-12s has begun. Get ready. Just waiting on the scores right now, which may be lagging. “Pac-12s!” he says shaking his fist in their general direction. Boo!

Well, let’s leave Pac-12s for the moment then since SECs has begun. Big 9.850 for Davis to start for Georgia. Questions for Florida already with Stageberg’s leadoff 9.725 on beam. Demeo (ALA) and Zumwalde (ARK) start with solid 9.800s.

Georgia is starting off in true home meet form with a 9.875 now from Couch. Florida gets another socre below 9.800 from Spicer (9.750). Is it too early to say “Ruh Roh”?

Ack. Fall from Canizaro for Arkansas on floor. Razorbacks already having to fall into keep it together time. Over on vault, Earls and Persinger break UGA’s momentum with 9.800s. Fine, but not competitive with ALA and FL.

Johnson goes 9.800 for Florida to start to pick things up, and Sledge gets 9.850 on bars. No really major scores so far. Georgia needs Ding to go into the 9.9s to have a competitive vault now.

Poor Arkansas. Two falls on floor out of three routines. Can’t come back from that. Kolbas is not the answer to Grable in these lineups, so there was little chance without her.

Really important 9.900 from Stack-Eaton on bars for Alabama. This will be the kind of rotation they needed on the first event. Anything 49.250+ is fine and they can build on it. Florida is NOT excelling on beam, but they have not had a fall.

Ding goes 9.850 on vault – fine not great for her. 49.175 will not cut it against teams that can go 49.500, so that’s a little disappointing for Georgia.

Ashley Priess goes 9.875, so Alabama will have the lead after the first rotation with 49.275. They are right on pace, and look to be the only one right now. Florida will need a big routine from King to catch Georgia for current 2nd, probably impossible.

Oh no. More disaster for Arkansas on floor. I feel terrible for them. They are already counting two bad scores (9.125 and 8.900). They got an 8.300 from Lewis, so potentially an unfinished routine or multiple falls and loss of SV.

King gets another OK score (9.850), so Florida gets 49.050 on beam. For most teams that would not be a disaster, but in this competition it really cuts into scoring potential. How will they react? Certainly Alabama has come out of this first rotation with the momentum, and it’s not like 49.275 is even THAT great a score.

Still no help on the scores at Pac-12s. If they don’t get this figured out for the evening session, I’m leading a rebellion. Who’s with me?

Geralen Stack-Eaton and Jamie Pisani are the only gymnasts to hit 9.900 in the first rotation. I would not necessarily have predicted that. It will be interesting to see how tight the scoring really is. Georgia had a few 9.900s from individual judges that were dropped. Someone gave Noel Couch a 9.950, so it doesn’t sound like they’re being too picky.

After 1 Rotation: Alabama 49.275, Georgia 49.175, Florida 49.050, Arkansas 47.575
Arkansas needs to regroup on the bye. Any hope of a top 4 finish is over for them. They’ll probably need help to stay above Auburn. Alabama is going straight to beam for the second rotation, so they could amass a big lead before anyone else has really warmed into the meet. We’ll see LSU, Auburn, and Kentucky entering in the second rotation as well.

Finally scores from Pac-12s! Arizona leads after the first rotation with a 48.900 on floor. Washington also had a strong vault to keep pace. Arizona State counted a fall on bars (Seaman and Hangartner fell), so they will actually trail Cal after the first rotation. Highest score so far is a 9.850 for Cristello on floor.

Second rotation has begun at SECs. Auburn starts solidly on vault. Jacob gets a low 9.725 on beam to start for Alabama, just like how Florida started. LSU starts with a 9.675 on floor, and Kentucky has a disaster as a leadoff score on bars. What is happening in this society? I know we’ll hear about the podium after this meet, but that’s what podium training is for. Champions adjust.

Milliner follows Jacob with a 9.775. This was my concern with the Alabama beam lineup, but they did get through those routines. The rest of the lineup should improve (?)

Kayla Williams still in Alabama’s beam lineup after her 9.900 last week, goes 9.800 this week, still matching Florida’s scores performance for performance. LSU gets a good 9.850 from Jordan on floor to break the 9.6 trend.

Auburn ends solidly on vault (led by Guy’s 9.850) to get 48.900 and keep pace. Demeo’s 9.825 leads Alabama on beam so far. Highest score in this rotation so far is still a 9.850. Kentucky avoids counting a fall and scores 48.575, so they will hope to stay ahead of Arkansas as the rotations progress.

Low for Stack-Eaton (9.700), so Alabama is not avoiding the general troubles. Might Georgia be in this after all? Alabama needs a 9.875 from Priess to go 49 on beam.

Over at Pac-12s Session 1, Arizona will lead Washington 97.750-97.625 at the halfway point. Cristello is the class of the meet so far.

Priess gets only a 9.700 as well (9.800 from one judge, 9.550 from another. Let’s watch this.) So Alabama scores a disappointing 48.825 on beam. No high scores today, that’s for sure. Meanwhile, LSY totally recovers from two weak opening routines for a 49.150 on floor. Wouldn’t it be the most fun thing ever if they won? It won’t happen, but still. Hall’s 9.925 on floor is the highest score of the meet so far.

SECs after 2: Alabama 98.100, Georgia 49.175, LSU 49.150, Florida 49.050, Auburn 48.900, Kentucky 48.575, Arkansas 47.575
Since Alabama has gone twice, I say Georgia is our leader after two rotations. They can put up a big score on bars, so they should have some serious forward momentum right now. Who expected we would consider 9.850s momentum at this meet?

For rotation three, Arkansas on vault, Georgia on bars, Kentucky on beam, and Florida on floor.

Tanella starts Georgia with a 9.850. That’s a huge score at this meet. She’s gotten very good at sticking that landing. Ferguson starts Florida with 9.800, which is her usual. They can build on that.

9.775 for Couch. Scores range from 9.650 to 9.850. We’ve been seeing that a lot today. Judges don’t seem on the same page. I have a feeling there will be complaints. Stageberg scores 9.875 for Florida in the second position. I feel a big rotation coming on.

Ah! I forgot Big 12s were starting now too (It’s too much!). Oklahoma starts vault with two scores in the 9.7s. Trend. At SECs, Arkansas is getting some solid 9.8s on vault. Fine but nothing that will make up for floor.

Shayla totally Shaylas on bars. All that needs to be said. 9.500. 9.825 from Davis. She’s been consistently in the 9.9s lately, so they needed better. Still, they can rely on Nuccio and Ding. 9.850 for Nuccio. They’ll need a huge score from Ding to challenge Alabama’s number on bars, but we know she’s capable.

49.050 for Arkansas on vault. 9.775s for Dickerson and Johnson on floor. Neither is scoring that well so far today. Hunter and King must get into the 9.9s.

At B12s, Oklahoma picked it up for a 49.225 on vault. 9.875s from Ward and Olson.

9.900 for Ding. Georgia goes 49.200 on bars, which is fine for this meet so far. 98.375 through two.

9.850 for Marissa King. Florida will score adequately here, but Georgia will be the leader for now. Hunter gets a 9.900 (Florida’s first of the day), so the Gators will be ahead of Alabama but behind Georgia.

At Pac-12s, Arizona does well on bars for 49.025, so the lead will be safe after three events. Washington is having some problems on beam.

Remember how I predicted that the winner of SECs would go over 197.500? I’m smart.
After 3 Rotations:
1. Georgia – 98.375
2. Florida – 98.250
3. Alabama – 98.100
4. Kentucky – 97.300
5. Arkansas – 96.625
6. LSU – 49.150
7. Auburn – 48.900

LSU is coming up on their best event, vault. Don’t be surprised if they have the highest two-event score of the meet.

Fourth rotation: LSU on vault, Auburn on bars, Georgia on beam, Alabama on floor. Alabama should feel OK about this position since they have the potential to score so well on the final two events. Georgia must not give away the kinds of wobbles on beam that Alabama and Florida did. They cannot afford 9.7s.

Washington is having an enormous nasty on the beam. McCartin finally came in but scored 8.025 on beam, so they are counting two falls. Arizona State will move into second, but will still be a point behind Arizona, the clear leaders. Sweet Mike (that’s an expression, right?), Washington scores 47.375 on beam. Disaster.

Next rotation underway at SECs, and Lau starts LSU with a 9.825 on vault. Good start. They have a few who can go into the 9.9s. Couch starts Georgia’s beam with a 9.775. Will you believe that’s the highest beam leadoff score so far today?

Big start for Alabama on floor with Jacob’s 9.850. She’s been around 9.800 usually, so that’s an improvement for her, which is extremely rare today.

Watch out for LSU! 9.900 and 9.925 from the 2nd and 3rd on vault (Jordan and Mathis). Judge #2 gave them both 10s. This is the same judge who gave Couch a 9.950. Can we find out who judge #2 on vault is?

They are having trouble with the internet at the arena for SECs (not acceptable), so that may account for the lull we’re having with the score updating.

Judge #2 on vault has given a third ten, this time to Ashley Lee (9.925 final score). Judge #2! We need to have a talk! Not every vault deserves a 10. No other judges thought any of them were 10-worthy. Imagine if we were at a meet where you couldn’t drop one of the judge’s scores. Then where would we be?

LSU finishes with a 49.475 on vault (dropping a fall from Hall. Did judge #2 give it a 10?). They’re at 98.625 after two events. By far the highest two-event score. Auburn got a 48.825 on bars. Georgia has not impressed on beam, and Alabama is hitting its stride with a 9.900 from Priess on floor.

Worley leads UGA’s beam with a 9.850, so they score 49.050, somewhat dropping the momentum with their lowest rotation yet and falling behind Alabama, who score a 49.350 on floor with 9.900s from Stack-Eaton and Priess.

After 4 Rotations:
1. Alabama 147.450
2. Georgia 147.425
3. LSU 98.525
4. Florida 98.250
5. Auburn 97.725
6. Kentucky 97.300
7. Arkansas 96.625

Alabama is in the driver’s seat all of the sudden, as they should score better on vault than Georgia will on floor. Florida is off to vault now, and they can certainly reach Alabama’s three-event number even with an average rotation.

At Big 12s, Oklahoma had an enormous bars score of 49.475, led by Ferguson’s 9.925. Scores appear to be going pretty high across the board there, as both Missouri and Iowa State have had 49+ rotations as well.

The first session at Pac-12s is winding down, and Arizona will cruise to the lead at the halfway point, though no one will break 196 as Arizona finished with a 195.900. Second is Arizona State with 194.550. Cal scores 193.525, and we’re still waiting on Washington.

LSU’s vault score has been adjusted down to 49.375. (So judge #2 gave only two 10s instead of three).

Rotation 5 at SECs: Florida on vault, Arkansas on bars, Auburn on beam, Kentucky on floor. Eyes on Florida this rotation.

Spicer starts Florida with a 9.825. That’s big for her. She’s been in the 9.7s.

Pac-12 Session 1 Final Scores:
1. Arizona 195.900
2. Arizona State 194.550
3. Washington 194.125
4. Cal 193.525

Dickerson scores 9.900 on vault. Her first big score of the day. Arkansas has started with 9.700 from the first two bar workers. Marissa King scores 9.925 on vault (yay!), one of her first big scores of the season. This should be our highest vault rotation score yet.

Kytra Hunter must have stuck her vault as she gets a 9.975, our first huge score of the day. She got a 10 from Judge #2 (no surprise), but also Judge #3, so it’s OK. Florida scores 49.525, and all of the sudden they have a massive lead. Florida will really like their chances to take this thing on bars in the final rotation, where we will know exactly what score they need.

Oklahoma is continuing the big home scoring and knocking into more 9.9s on the beam.

Auburn is 9.750-ing all the way to an adequate score, and they should be able to slide in easily for 5th place here. Arkansas scores a 48.850 on bars, while Kentucky struggles to get out of 9.500 territory on floor.

If we look at Alabama, they are going to need at least a 49.500 on vault to have any hope of staving off Florida in the final rotation. It looks like Georgia will have to settle for third after all unless they manage something special on floor. LSU likely cannot match their current pace on bars and beam, but we’ll keep an eye on them as well.

After 5 Rotations:
1. Florida – 147.775
2. Alabama – 147.450
3. Georgia – 147.425
4. Auburn – 146.400
5. Arkansas – 145.475
6. Kentucky – 145.350
7. LSU – 98.525

On rotation 6, we’ll see Alabama on vault, LSU on bars, Arkansas on beam, and Georgia on floor. Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia will be finishing their competitions in this rotation. Arkansas will probably be glad when it’s over.

Oklahoma matched the bar score on beam with 49.475. They will easily win this event, and are on solid 197.500 pace, which would be their highest score of the season. Note that Iowa State and Missouri are also currently on pace to go over 196. This is what they mean when they talk about how you can’t compare scores between meets.

Alabama starts big on vault with Clark’s 9.875. That’s the kind of score they need to start with to have a chance at Florida. Earls scores 9.800 on floor for Georgia (as she has on every event today). LSU has a fall on bars in the second position.

Since Clark and Priess have gone 9.875, we can expect 9.900s from the rest of the lineup, unless they have landings like they did at the last home meet (where nearly everyone had a .100 slide back). Please note that judge #2 on vault has had the lowest scores for each of the first three Alabama vaulters. I wonder if someone had a little convo with her between rotations or if she got the hint and is now trying to overcompensate lower.

Ding gets a nice 9.875 on floor, but the 9.700 from beam erased her chance at the AA title. Similarly, two scores in the 9.7s now have erased Stack-Eaton’s chances.

Hmm, some disappointing scores for Stack-Eaton and Milliner on vault give Alabama a 49.325. That will not cut it, I’m afraid. Can Georgia move ahead of them? Doubtful but possible. Alabama had four routines at 9.900 today, but nothing that went higher. 196.775 is the final score for Alabama. They may not keep the #3 ranking if UCLA has a big meet.

LSU salvages the bars rotation with a 48.900. Should be our clear 4th place team.

Applause for Jamie Pisani’s 39.500 in the AA. She’s our current leader. Nuccio’s 9.700 on floor erases Georgia’s chance at passing Alabama. Couch would need a 10 for them to tie.

So, Florida will need a 49.025 on bars to take the SEC title, which they will surely do. Right? We don’t have another twist in store?

Noel Couch’s 9.800 means Georgia finishes with 196.575, two tenths behind Alabama. Important for Georgia that Shayla hit floor. Arkansas can finally say goodbye to this disaster of an evening with a 194.175. None of these teams are having a meet to remember.

After 6 Rotations:
1. Alabama – 196.775
2. Georgia – 196.475
3. Arkansas – 194. 175
4. Florida – 147.775
5. LSU – 147.425
6. Auburn – 146.400
7. Kentucky – 145.350

Note that LSU still has a shot to pass Georgia with a good beam rotation.

As for the AA, it looks like Hunter and Courville will be the major challengers to Pisani in this rotation.

Oklahoma finishes with a 197.475 to easily win the Big 12s and record their highest score of the season.

Nicole Ellis starts Florida with a 9.875. Just a matter of staying on the bars for them to win, but they also want to record a statement score, which will be difficult with the first two rotations.

Overall a weak meet for Dickerson with a 9.750 on bars. I wonder if she made a mistake or if they just really took deductions that we’ve haven’t seen taken this season.

Kytra Hunter continues her big day with a 9.875 on bars to easily pass Pisani in the AA with a 39.625, which should tie up the title for her (and should also tie up SEC FOTY pretty handily).

LSU has a fall from Lau on beam, so they have to hit now to have any hope of breaking 196.

After waiting around all day, Macko comes in with a strong 9.900 on bars to wrap up the title for Florida. Johnson’s routine will be a formality – except for the chance to win the bars title.

Auburn is having a disaster on floor, which should give some hope to Kentucky for a possible unexpected 5th place finish, after UK finished with 194.350.

Johnson’s 9.925 will indeed win her the bars title outright, as well as ensuring Florida wins the SEC title with a 197.150. I would NEVER have expected the winning score to be that low given the near-2004 level scoring we’ve been seeing for much of the season.

LSU manages a 49.000 on beam to record a very respectable 4th place finish with a score of 196.425, not far behind Georgia at all.

Auburn’s disaster continues on floor and sees them finish in an extremely disappointing last place. Applause to Kentucky for managing that 5th place finish. I had them in 7th for sure.

SEC Final Scores:
1. Florida – 197.150
2. Alabama – 196.775
3. Georgia – 196.475
4. LSU – 196.425
5. Kentucky – 194.350
6. Arkansas – 194.175
7. Auburn – 194.100

Individual winners: VT: Hunter, UB: Johnson, BB: Pisani, FX: Hall, AA: Hunter

I’m very interested to see what kind of reaction we get from the coaches about the scoring today. Starting relatively soon, we’ll have the second session of Big 10s, where I expect Nebraska to cruise, and then at 9:00 ET / 6:00 PT we’ll have the grand finale of the Pac-12s. (Futilely) Comparing scoring between SECs and Pac-12s will be an interesting side story this evening.

Alright, Big 10s Session 2 is already underway (they don’t give us a break!) and Nebraska has started well on bars with two scores of 9.875 already. As usual, Nebraska will have 5 AAers today, with Evenstad and Lauer doing two events each.

Musser leads Penn State to a 49.100 on vault. It will be an interesting battle between PSU and OSU today, especially because we expect them to be fighting it out for the second qualification spot in the Florida Regional.

Nebraska goes 49.425 on bars. Watch out, Oklahoma’s score. The Minnesota Gophers are in a surprising 2nd after the first rotation by scoring 49.150 on floor, and Ohio State trails the group after a disappointing beam rotation that put them behind the pack at 48.725.

Nebraska will be on beam in the next rotation, which should tell us everything we need to know about how they will be performing today. They’ve had some . . . adventures on the beam recently.

Nebraska starts with 9.775 and 9.625. Skinner is not having a great meet through the first two events. Minnesota continues its nice pace with the opening on vault, 9.850s. Definitely did not expect Minnesota to be in the fight for #2, but that’s what we’re seeing so far. I still think Nebraska will have a stranglehold on the meet, though.

Minnesota is doing its best to prove me wrong, though. 49.300 on vault led by Slechta’s 9.900 to extend the lead over Penn State. Nebraska must score a 49.050 on beam now to retain the lead, which is possible but not definite given these early scores.

This could end up being a fun AA race as well. Wong, DeZiel, Musser, and Russell are all within .100 of each other.

Nebraska has to count three scores under 9.800 for a low 48.850, meaning that Nebraska will trail Minnesota by nearly two tenths at the halfway point. Beam is probably the event that will keep Nebraska from challenging for a national title.

Minnesota has started on bars with two routines in the 9.7s, so Nebraska will have a real chance here. While they don’t have any depth on floor, the six have been much more consistent than they have been on beam this season.

So am I crazy? Apparently I had the wrong time for Pac-12s Session 2. Won’t start until 9:00 ET / 6:00 PT. Sorry for any confusion.

Minnesota had a weak bars rotation, and now the Gophers stand less than a tenth ahead of Ohio State. Penn State is not scoring so well on beam, but Nebraska has a very strong chance to retake the lead as long as they hit the final two floor routines.

Nebraska did hit those floor routines and ends the rotation with a strong of 9.900s that put the Huskers well into the lead again. They have an edge of over four tenths on Minnesota going into the last event. Penn State trails the group but can still beat Michigan with a 49.025 on floor.

Minnesota will have to withstand a fall on beam in the second position to stay ahead of Ohio State. Nebraska will record a big number on vault to easily win the meet. Emily Wong’s 39.600 looks like it will be enough to win the AA title over DeZiel and Musser.

Big 10 Final Scores:
1. Nebraska – 197.100
2. Ohio State – 196.225
3. Minnesota – 195.950
4. Michigan – 195.875
5. Illinois – 195.850
6. Penn State – 195.700
7. Iowa – 195.425
8. Michigan State – 194.675
Shortly, the Pac-12 Championships Session 2 will be getting underway (actually, this time), so I’ll be here for full commentary on that.

Good point in the comments that now Nebraska has moved ahead of Georgia in the rankings. So, Georgia will be in the Utah Regional, and Nebraska’s opponent will depend on Oregon State’s performance tonight.

Utah begin on vault, OSU on bars, Stanford on beam, and UCLA on floor. This rotation order doesn’t necessarily benefit one team over another, other than the fact that Utah should enjoy having the home crowd and home rotation order. I expect Utah to have the lead after the first rotation, but if UCLA can keep it close, they will be in a strong position. Oregon State is also starting on the strength, so watch out for them in the beginning.

Interesting that Lothrop is the vault anchor now instead of Robarts. I’m not sure I think Lothrop can score as well under ideal conditions. UCLA is bringing out the big guns on floor, with Zamarripa in the 2nd position and no De La Torre (no Larson either, but we knew that). Zam would normally be later, but her watered down routine this year probably warrants #2.

Oregon State starts with a 9.700 on bars. Let’s hope the scores are a little more with it than they were earlier today in the first rotation. 9.825 for Frattone on floor. Fine, regular. Big start for Stanford with a 9.900 for Wing on beam. Love Becky Wing, so I’m happy with that big leadoff number.

Not a great score from Dabritz for Utah (9.750), so they’ll need the end of the lineup to help drop that.

9.850 from Zamarripa, and the same from Tory Wilson on vault. I’m interested to see what the judges will do with EHH on floor and whether they will judge her harshly for opening with an easy pass.

Pretty big scores flying so far. We’ve already had a couple 9.900s early in the first rotation. Definitely a far cry from the 9.7s we were starting with at SECs. Stambaugh scores 9.925 on bars, the highest score of the meet so far. Utah is in shape to score something in the 49.3s on vault if Lothrop hits well.

Another 9.900 on beam for Stanford (Hong). These will be some big scores for everyone. 9.875 for Courtney on floor.

Oregon State will go 49.200 on bars as the anchor, Mak, had a fall. There goes her shot at the AA. Pritchett gets a 9.850, which seems about right. Her mount is nice, but she’s consistently low on the dismount. Stanford gets a third 9.900 on beam. I expected bars to be my favorite event for them this season, but it has been beam. Floor is the question, so we’ll know how this is going for them soon enough.

Peszek scores 9.900 for UCLA, but EHH goes OOB, so they will finish with 49.300 on floor, tying Utah’s vault score. Stanford will have the lead after the first rotation by quite some margin. Hmmm. Where did this come from? Stanford finished with 5 straight 9.900s for a 49.500 on beam.

After 1 Rotation:
1. Stanford – 49.500
2. UCLA – 49.300
2. Utah – 49.300
4. Oregon State – 49.200

We’ve already seen 10 scores in the 9.9s from the first rotation of this session. We saw 18 total during the SECs (with seven teams versus four).

Expect UCLA to take the lead after this next rotation since they will go to vault, while all the rest of the teams go to weaker events for them.

Lopez starts Utah on bars with a 9.850, Stambaugh goes 9.775 on beam. Another 9.900 from Hansen. I haven’t seen this routine since she started scoring well, so maybe the judges aren’t crazy. I’ll try to allow for that.

Baer starts UCLA with 9.825 as per usual. They will build from there. Harris falls on beam for OSU in the third position. They’ll be relying on Mak quite a bit in this rotation.

EHH in on vault for Larson (I wonder if this is yet another case of Mattie not warming up well) for 9.900. 9.900 for Beers on bars, followed by a 9.950 for Dabritz with a 10 from one judge. Why don’t we just give everyone 198s?

Courtney sticks vault for 9.950, with Frattone and Zamarripa still to go for UCLA. Frattone goes 9.900 with a step. Utah is throwing up the 9.9s all over the place on bars. These will be the highest rotations we’ve seen all day at any of the events.

Utah scores an insane 49.600 on bars, and we have now officially seen more 9.9s through the halfways point in the second session of Pac-12s than we saw at all of SECs.

UCLA goes 49.550 on vault after Zamarripa scores 9.950 as well. Nevermind about UCLA being in the lead after 2, though. I hadn’t counted on the scoring. The way things are going, OSU’s 49.275 on beam is low.

Waiting to hear about Stanford on vault. They’ve had a fall from Shapiro with two routines to go. Two more huge scores help Stanford go 49.425 on floor and retain the lead. I’m not predicting anything anymore.

24 scores of 9.900 or above out of 48 total routines so far. Remember this. You know how 8-10 years ago, every routine was a 9.925? This feels a lot like that.

After 2 Rotations:
1. Stanford – 98.925
2. Utah – 98.900
3. UCLA – 98.850
4. Oregon State – 98.475 (Oh no, OSU is only near 197 pace. How lowly.)

I’m watching some of the Stanford routines on youtube to get a sense of the scoring. All I can say is this: NO. I live for judging messes like this.

For as crazy as this scoring has been, at least it’s close. This could go to anyone really. Although it will be a problem for Utah, as they will have this scoring for Pac-12s and Regionals and then go in to Nationals where it will not be like this.

Important that UCLA has been able to remove EHH from the bars lineup since she can’t dismount. Looks like Olivia Courtney is doing the AA tonight.

De La Torre (bars) and Morgan (vault) open with 9.850s. De La Torre must have really missed her handstands to get a 9.850 tonight. That’s such a paltry little score.

Utah starts with a fall on beam from Lopez, but Beers will probably get an 11, so it doesn’t matter. If Stanford goes anywhere near 49.400 on vault, I’m walking.

Ohh, Lofgren has fallen. Utah counting a fall on beam for the first time in two years. Now this is anyone’s ball game. Looks like Stanford is going to win. I’m not kidding. Ivana Hong goes 9.950 on vault.

I can’t wait for Val’s press conference when she says, “What a great meet,” with that knowing look.

Stanford scores 49.450 on vault, so scores are just meaningless at this point. Peszek botched her bar routine for 8.750. Oh heavens, what happened there, dear?

Utah scores 48.950 on beam while counting a fall. UCLA avoids having to deal with Peszek’s disaster, but they don’t have anyone score a 9.900 on bars, which is devastating for this meet.

After 3 Rotations:
1. Stanford – 148.375
2. UCLA – 148.050
3. Utah – 147.850
4. Oregon State – 147.825

This could still go to anyone, especially because I expect Utah to score a 78.900 on floor. Fourth rotation coming up with OSU on vault, Stanford on bars, UCLA on beam, and Utah on floor. What fresh madness will befall us here?

Interesting that UCLA is throwing in Courtney on beam with so few routines this season, but it’s the right idea since she has much higher scoring potential than Baer.

Gerber opens beam for UCLA with a 9.900. She usually deserves that score, so I’m OK with the fact that she actually gets it tonight. Stanford starts with two 9.825s on the way to securing the unexpected title. Olivia Courtney follows with multiple falls. UCLA. Beam.

Stanford has had a fall from Shapiro on bars, so they must hit the final two routines. UCLA has had TWO scores in the 8.7s tonight. Oh boy. Larson goes 9.700 (Scores range from 9.55 to 9.85). They’ll have to rebuild for Regionals because they are going to finish unacceptably low in the standings tonight.

Oregon State is our first team to finish. 197.025 total score.

Is Stanford counting a fall on bars now? The scores have suddenly changed. What. Is. Happening? Is Utah going to win this meet? I don’t even know anymore.

Apparently, Stanford has now finished with a 196.825, BEHING Oregon State after choking on bars. Zamarripa is out current AA leader at 39.575.

9.975 from EHH on beam! Two judges went 10. Yay! The circus is in town! Yippee!

One routine left for UCLA and Utah. It’s coming right down to it! Peszek vs. McAllister.

McAllister goes 9.925, but Peszek’s 9.850 is enough to put UCLA over the top. I’m not going to delete that part a few paragraphs ago where I said that UCLA would have to rebuild after this meet because that emphasizes how CRAZY this meet has been. UCLA wins the Pac-12 Championships with 197.425. Utah scores 197.375. Oregon State 197.025. Stanford, who should have won easily, finish last in the session with 196.825.

Lothrop wins the AA with 49.625. So there’s that.

FOTY goes to Dabritz. Well deserved.
GOTY goes to Mak. Ohhh, I did not expect that, but I’m very happy for her. She’s a beautiful gymnast. Everyone loves Leslie Mak.
COTY goes to Miss Val. I thought they would give it to Greg since he’s new to the conference, but I’ll never argue with Miss Val getting any award. It’s her 4th COTY award, I believe.

Has anyone done the math about what this score means for RQS? Does UCLA move ahead of Alabama? I’m far too overcome with the vapors at this scoring to figure it out myself. I believe UCLA will move back up to #3, but that’s just an assumption. It would mean that UCLA will travel to Arkansas for the Regional, right?

I’m excited to watch the actual coverage of this competition to make real judgments about the scores. I’ll keep you posted. That’s all for now.

SEC Championships Preview

While the Pac-12 Championships will be exciting for the battle between UCLA and Utah, tomorrow’s main event is really the SEC Championships. We have a great contest shaping up between Florida and Alabama, which I expect to be very close and will probably come down to a few tenths either way. Unfortunately, the draw has been revealed and Alabama ends on a bye, which takes some of the drama out of it, but try not to let that spoil things. Let’s just hope neither team has to count a fall.

Not to be totally overlooked, Georgia is also the “host” team, and it wouldn’t be inconceivable for them to challenge. However, in a realistic scenario, I don’t see them scoring higher than Florida or Alabama unless we do start counting falls. We could see both Alabama and Florida pushing the 49.500 territory on a few events, and Georgia just doesn’t have the scores throughout the lineup to be able to do that. They can very well go 197.300 this weekend, but I expect the winning total to be higher than that.
Another compelling story at the SEC Championships will be the likely fourth place battle between Arkansas and LSU. Arkansas’s performance will largely depend on whether Grable is available (and on how many events). Unlike some of the deeper teams, the Razorbacks don’t have 9.8s sitting in the wings to come in and replace Grable and Salsberg, so they have been counting a lot of falls and 9.7s the last few weeks. LSU won’t have to do that and will easily outscore a less than ideal Arkansas. In fact, if Georgia doesn’t hit exceptionally, they should watch their backs for LSU. The Tigers are peaking right on time.
In the Pac-12, even though Utah has an excellent chance of winning (and is probably the logical choice), UCLA is the better team if everyone hits to potential, but we don’t have that kind of clear difference between Alabama and Florida. If both teams hit to potential, it could still come down to a tenth, which is, of course, what will make tomorrow so much fun. I think I know which way I’m leaning, but let’s take a look at each event to help confirm the decision. (As with before, these are not official rankings and are instead based on my own opinions and perceptions.)
1. Alabama
2. Florida
3. LSU
4. Georgia
5. Arkansas
6. Auburn
7. Kentucky
This is the event with the clearest difference between the top few teams. While Alabama usually gets a .050 boost per vault at home (See: Diandra Milliner’s 10), they’re still capable of at least four solid 9.900s, and I would consider anything less than a 49.500 tomorrow to be an underperformance based on the way the scoring has gone this season.  
Florida is also obviously extremely adept on vault, and on paper they would appear to be able to hit right with Alabama (the lineup of Johnson, King, Dickerson, and Hunter is comparable to Sledge, Gutierrez, Stack-Eaton, and Milliner). However, Florida’s group hasn’t hit those 9.900s nearly as consistently, with far too many scores in the 9.8s coming from those late positions. Also, the leadoffs Spicer and Ellis are not as capable of sticking for an early big score as Clark/Williams/Priess are.
Vault is LSU’s best event, and they have a few 9.900 possibilities in that lineup, with Courville capable of 9.950. The consistency of 9.875 scores puts them just above Georgia in my opinion, since the Gym Dogs are too reliant on Hires and Ding, with everyone else likely to go around 9.825. Georgia has to get at least 9.850s from Couch and Earls if they are going to keep within a reasonable distance of the top two.
Uneven Bars:
1. Georgia
2. Florida
3. Alabama
4. Arkansas
5. LSU
6. Auburn
7. Kentucky

Florida is ranked #1 on bars, and they are certainly talented on the event, but this is a misleading ranking because 1) none of the teams are that great on bars this year, and 2) uneven bars at Florida has been the most overscored rotation in the country this year. Their scores will come down to Earth at SECs, and I expect Georgia to be able to catch them on the strength of Nuccio, Davis, and Ding, all of whom should go 9.900. Chelsea Davis has really found her form on this event, and Kat Ding’s prowess is well documented.
For another season, this is the event where I have the most question marks for Alabama. Stack-Eaton and Priess can score well (much like Georgia’s vault with Hires and Ding), but the likes of Demeo and Jacob are not cutting it for me at the beginning of the lineup. Ashley Sledge also needs to make sure the rest of her routine is worthy of the dismount. If Alabama can stay afloat with a 49.250 here, then they’ll probably be fine, but if we see some 9.775s early in the lineup, that could be a tough ask.
Arkansas doesn’t have the handstands to compete with the top teams on this event, but if Grable is back, I see them scoring acceptably. Auburn, too, has some solid 9.850-9.875s in that bars lineup, so I have them in sixth, but not by a great deal. They could certainly outscore LSU, but I give the edge there to LSU because of Sarie Morrison’s scoring ability.
Balance Beam:
1. Florida
2. Alabama
3. Georgia
4. Arkansas
5. LSU
6. Auburn
7. Kentucky

I’m being kind of hypocritical in this ranking because I have been distrustful of Florida retaining the same beam lineup all season. (What if someone gets injured? No one else has competition preparation.) And yet, I’m giving them the #1 spot on beam because their lineup has been more stable than Alabama’s. For Alabama, I have questions revolving around the name of this blog. What’s the Milliner/Gutierrez situation. Is Kayla Williams in for good? They have big scoring potential, but I don’t have as much trust in the lineup.
Georgia has been fine on this event, and they have a consistent lineup, but Worley is the only one I really see putting up a high score. The rest of them will just be expected to be solid. For Arkansas, Grable is the centerpiece of the lineup, so without her it’s just Jamie Pisani and a whole bunch of 9.7s, which won’t cut it. LSU is similar and could outscore Arkansas, but it will be close. This event could decide their placement.
Floor Exercise:
1. Florida
2. Alabama
3. Georgia
4. LSU
5. Arkansas
6. Auburn
7. Kentucky

Ah, what to do about floor? I went back and forth on this one. Florida has certainly had an inconsistent showing on floor this season with a few too many OOBs and missed landings sprinkled in, but they have five people in the lineup capable on scoring 9.900, and I’m not sure that Alabama does. Alabama has some great gymnastics at the end of the lineup, but there’s also the Lora Leigh Frost question (she’s not as impressive a 2nd as Stageberg), and the issue with Ashley Sledge doing two layouts as a middle pass. Judges are less likely to be impressed by Alabama than they are Florida.
Georgia has really improved on floor since the disastrous beginning of the season, but they’re too reliant on being able to tape Nuccio together to get a big score, and Mariel Box isn’t really quite at the level needed to score well in the postseason. 
I’m actually surprised I ended up putting Florida above Alabama on three events. So, I suppose that answers the question for me unless Alabama racks up a giant lead because of vault. I’m going with Florida to win. Georgia also looks primed for a #3 finish as expected. In fact, one of the most interesting stories may end up being the fight for 4th and 5th (if you’re like me and think that things like which team finishes 5th at SECs is interesting).
Florida starts on beam tomorrow, so we’ll know right away whether last year’s demons really have been exorcised or whether they were just on a low simmer. If Florida hits beam for something like 49.300 or above, they should cruise through the rest of the events, but if it’s a wobble factory or there’s a fall, look to Alabama to be the sturdier team.