Let’s get right to it, shall we? This weekend is all about the clash between Oklahoma and Florida. It’s always exciting when the top two teams in the country go head to head, but especially coming off the events of last weekend, this meet is all the juicier. We’re going to see a remarkable back-and-forth of gymnastics.
This meet is an exceptionally important one for Oklahoma because “upsetting” Florida is an attainable goal. I put upset in quotes because Oklahoma is technically the higher ranked team so it wouldn’t be an upset, but given everything about Florida (being at home, defending champs, coming off a 198), the Gators are certainly the favorites in this meet. At the same time, there’s so little between these teams overall. Oklahoma has been stronger on vault so far, Florida stronger on floor, and bars and beam have been very even. Last weekend, we saw Georgia keep pace with Florida until the final rotation, and Oklahoma is quite capable of doing the same thing or better, but then nailing beam at the end.
The scoring will also be quite interesting to watch, so we’ll need to keep all eyes on it. Even that eye in the back of your head. You’ll need to turn around so it can get a load of the scoring page as well. How will the judges approach this meet compared to last week? Will we see lower scores for higher quality routines this time? Will the ceiling keep getting higher? For those who can’t watch, I’ll be live blogging the hell out of it.
Unfairly, Alabama and LSU are competing against each other at basically the same time (along with another interesting showdown: Auburn and Arkansas), which would be the feature meet on another week but is going to be overshadowed. It’s a big opportunity for LSU to notch a major win, but Alabama is Alabama. UCLA also visits Cal that night in a bid to right that 195 from last week by beaming beam a little beamier this time. Utah and Georgia are both in action early Saturday in meets they should win comfortably, but progress is the key: Georgia to erase beam from last week and get back into the 197s and Utah to finally have a meet without counting a fall. Stanford and Oregon State are also competing on Monday. Monday?
In the rankings race, the #1 spot will be determined by the Florida/Oklahoma clash, with Florida needing a victory by two tenths to jump ahead. LSU would need to outscore Florida by over half a point this week to move up, so they’re probably more about holding on against the onslaught from Michigan, Utah, Georgia, and Alabama, who could end up in any order but have a chance to put a little distance between themselves and Nebraska and UCLA.
Top 25 Schedule
Friday – 1/31/14
7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Oklahoma @  Florida
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Michigan State @  Michigan
8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Alabama @  LSU
8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Auburn @  Arkansas
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Iowa @  Illinois
9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  UCLA @  Cal
9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  Boise State @ Southern Utah
9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  Denver @ BYU
Saturday – 2/1/14
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Eastern Michigan, Illinois-Chicago @  Central Michigan
3:00 ET/12:00 PT –  Utah @  Arizona State
4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  Kentucky @  Georgia
4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  Penn State @  Ohio State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Minnesota @  Nebraska
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Washington @  Arizona
8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Rutgers @ Texas Woman’s
Monday – 2/3/14
10:00 ET/7:00 PT –  Stanford @  Oregon State