The Weekend Ahead — January 11th–14th

After the sparse, gradual introduction to the season last week, you should be ready for a packed weekend of meets, and that’s exactly what we have.

The first stop will be the 2013 introduction of the defending champions, Alabama at 7:30 E/4:30 P. It’s difficult to say what we’ll see from the debuting teams like Alabama, but it will be interesting to compare the opening meets from Alabama and Florida to see which team is starting quicker.

Not long after Alabama begins, there will be important scores to follow from Florida/LSU and Georgia/Arkansas. I’ll be popping in and out to follow each of these three SEC meets throughout the evening. Georgia and Arkansas will be particularly interesting because I think the Gymdogs will be the better team this year and should win, but some of those rotations last week didn’t fill me with the kind of enthusiasm I would need to feel confident about their victory. Arkansas started well last season, but do we feel a repeat? Later that evening, Ohio State visits Oregon State, which will be on the Pac-12 Network on tape delay, and I may try to catch up on that at some point. If you’re looking for free streaming options on Friday, your choice will be Maryland @ NC State.

Saturday is a big day right from the start. Oklahoma visits Arizona State and Nebraska visits Michigan, both at 4 E/1 P. I’ve already seen Oklahoma this season, so I’ll be live blogging the Nebraska/Michigan meet, but the Oklahoma meet will be streamed for free from the Pac-12 website. Later that evening, the piece de resistance is Utah @ UCLA, which will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network, and I will be live blogging that meet as well. It should be a grand old time. I give the slight edge to Utah right now because, even though both teams appear a little sparse, I have more confidence in Utah’s January preparation (and ability to have five vaulters). Unfortunately, for those who don’t receive the Pac-12 Network, I don’t believe you will have a way to watch that meet. 

Top 25 Schedule

Friday – 1/11/13
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Maryland @ [22] NC State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [24] West Virginia @ Pitt
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [1] Alabama @ [21] Missouri
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [3] Florida @ [8] LSU
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [11] Georgia @ [12] Arkansas
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [25] Kentucky @ [13] Auburn
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [14] Ohio State @ [9] Oregon State

Saturday – 1/12/13
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [4] Oklahoma @ Arizona State
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [7] Nebraska @ [10] Michigan
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [16] Penn State @ Illinois-Chicago
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [6] Stanford, [18] Illinois, San Jose State @ [19] Arizona
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [17] Washington @ [23] Minnesota
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Air Force @ [20] Denver
10:30 ET/7:30 PT – [5] Utah @ [2] UCLA

As for who takes the top score this weekend, there are many potential nominees. Michigan did well last weekend, but they will be at home where the big scores don’t fly. The big scores will fly at UCLA, but is either team ready to go that high? I’m not sold yet. I suppose I’m going to be boring at pick Florida because I see high 196s in them this week, but the dark horse for the top score will be Oklahoma. The team looks quite prepared, and I think they’ll improve from last week’s showing. Be sure to vote in the poll on the right.

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