Week 8 Rankings + RQS Update

This was really another week for the 9.975 as those continued to sprout up all like weeds, but we did see a few full 10s thrown out as well, one for Lauren Beers for sticking her Y1.5, and another for Nina McGee for doing Nina McGee things on floor.

“Don’t lean, don’t lean, don’t lean, don’t lean.” She had to adjust that stick a little bit.

We’re also closing in on regionals, with most teams two meets and a conference championship away from finalizing RQS, so it’s worth looking at how the regional placements would pan out if the season ended today. And by worth it, I mean fun. For me.

Just to review, regional placements are made using a traditional No Damn Sense seeding process, whereby seeds 1/12/13 go together, as do 2/11/14, 3/10/15, 4/9/16, 5/8/17, and 6/7/18. The 19-36 teams are then placed into pots of 8 and allocated by region as much as possible (usually not very possible). With two teams advancing from each regional, that means the top seed receives the most difficult challenger (#13), and the 6th/7th seeds receive the easiest challenger (#18), often making #6 and #7 the ideal ranking places at which to finish the season. Why yes, that is stupid. Welcome. You’ll like it here.

The regional hosts this year are Georgia, Utah, Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa, which means if we placed teams in their normal seeding spots right now, we would have host conflicts with Alabama and Georgia ending up in the same one, and Michigan and Iowa ending up in the same one. When that happens, the placements are adjusted slightly, usually one spot, to avoid the conflict, so I’ve done that in the prospective placement below, flip-flopping Georgia with Boise State and Iowa with Stanford, which is the path of least resistance to get everything to work out. This will obviously change in the coming weeks, but it’s a sense of how things could look. There are some juicy matchup possibilities to get excited about.    

Regional 1: [1] Oklahoma, [12] Cal, [13] Denver, (Minnesota host)
Regional 2: [2] Florida, [10] Georgia (host), [14] Missouri
Regional 3: [3] Alabama (host), [11] Boise State, [15] Nebraska
Regional 4: [4] LSU, [9] Arkansas, [17] Iowa (host)
Regional 5: [5] Michigan (host), [8] Auburn, [16] Stanford
Regional 6: [6] Utah (host), [7] UCLA, [18] Arizona

Note that Oregon State currently sits at #20. Imagine if Utah, UCLA, Arizona, and Oregon State all got the same regional. Pac-12 bloodbath.

Week 8 rankings
1. Oklahoma – 197.705

Road Score 1: 197.925
Road Score 2: 197.675
Road Score 3: 197.550
Road/Home Score 1: 198.075
Road/Home Score 2: 197.900
Road/Home Score 3: 197.475

Oklahoma broke 198 and recorded another season high over the weekend on the quest to beat last season’s program-record 197.895 RQS. Still a few mid-197s to drop to make that happen. The Sooners did lose the #1 vault ranking to LSU this week, and while still great, that is an area where the landings will need to come into line as we get closer to things mattering. Even in this week’s 198, it was a hop-fest until Ali Jackson saved the earth with her stuck 1.5. We also saw a huge discrepancy in Oklahoma’s floor scores at home this week compared to away at Georgia last week. Now, the performance was also clearly better this week, but the postseason truth is going to be somewhere in between. It will be interesting to watch those floor scores @ UCLA in a couple weeks, because it’s an away meet but also one known for getting a little fancy with the floor scores. It still should let us know how much of a 9.9 fest that floor rotation could be in April.

2. Florida – 197.440

Road Score 1: 197.750
Road Score 2: 197.075
Road Score 3: 196.825
Road/Home Score 1: 198.175
Road/Home Score 2: 197.875
Road/Home Score 3: 197.675

Florida will view losing to LSU at home as distinctly not cool in spite of the glitter-factory of 9.9s, largely a function of Sloan having another bad meet with a fall on beam and an OOB on floor. She has been through patches like this in her NCAA career before, two seasons ago suffering a streak of beam misses in the postseason until she put up probably her best ever in Super Six. If Sloan hits 4-for-4 last Friday, Florida wins that meet and passes 198 in the process. The positive development was the introduction of McMurtry on floor, silly score notwithstanding. Floor had been the biggest question for the Gators, and if she’s able to go consistently when it matters, that lineup becomes much more competitive and much less at the mercy of the depth monster.

3. 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

197.550 is the highest score of the season so far for Alabama, in spite of the performance honestly being just OK. That’s an encouraging sign for the team’s ultimate scoring potential, though when we balance some heavy senior-night scoring like for Beers (particularly on floor) with a beam rotation far below the team’s capability, the score ends up being pretty representative of where Alabama is right now. There’s just one meet left before SECs, so we’re getting to now-or-never in terms of who’s actually in these lineups. How many events is Winston doing/able to do? She probably should be AAing. Alabama’s scores are very tightly bunched, so there’s no chance to pass Florida at the moment, but given the stupidity of the placement system, who even cares really?

Also note that Kiana Winston did two events and got 9.975 on both. Lauren Beers did two events and got 10.000 and 9.975.

4. LSU – 197.150

Road Score 1: 197.900
Road Score 2: 196.800
Road Score 3: 196.750
Road/Home Score 1: 197.825
Road/Home Score 2: 197.425
Road/Home Score 3: 196.950

LSU needed a big road score this week, and boy did that happen with a 197.900. Oh, going to Florida. The Tigers picked up two full points in RQS total (so 0.400 in RQS average), skyrocketing to a much more appropriate ranking for their quality. This team certainly should be breaking 197 every meet now, so we can expect a continued RQS ascent as these 196s are dropped. It will be tough for LSU to pass Alabama this week, but it is possible. Encouragingly, beam is starting to pull itself together and look how LSU beam is supposed to look in 2016, while in spite of scoring close to a season-high on bars, the lack of easy 9.9s there remains the primary sticking point.

5. Michigan – 197.065

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 3:196.950

Michigan drops a place this week but maintains relative pace after recording a crucial road high at Oklahoma. It was not an ideal performance, with Artz having a meh by her standards and beam looking tight, tight, tight following last week’s meltdown (but five hits are five hits). Michigan is still theoretically capable of passing LSU this coming weekend with a season high, but LSU’s bold scores are significantly higher than Michigan’s so finishing the regular season higher than 5th looks unlikely at this point. But at this point in the season, 197.275 for a 7/10 meet is where Michigan should be.

6. Utah – 197.020

Road Score 1: 197.150
Road Score 2: 197.075
Road Score 3: 197.025
Road/Home Score 1: 197.150
Road/Home Score 2: 197.125
Road/Home Score 3: 196.725

Five straight weeks scoring between 197.025 and 197.150. Consistency! Utah will be in the race to pass Michigan following this Friday’s meeting between the two teams, but because the Utes’ scores are also tightly bunched, it will be difficult to move higher before regionals unless the scores really start exploding immediately. Being relatively undermanned at Cal over the weekend, Utah will take that performance, but it was still a little too one-9.9-per-event to make the Utes look like a sure Super Six team. Utah needs a breakout score, and I think most of us are expecting that meet to be March 12th at home against Georgia.

7. UCLA – 196.825

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: 197.100
Road/Home Score 3: 196.625

UCLA has fallen into a 196.6 rut, scores that aren’t going to threaten anyone. Given the lineups this weekend, without the use of Francis, Peng, and Cipra, and with Ohashi on just one event, an average score had to be expected. It was like Depth Exploration Episode II and is therefore not a great indicator of where the team really is, though it did serve to illuminate that the vault lineup is Code Blue. It’s not like there were auto-9.9s resting this week who are going to bring the score up. We should still expect much better at next week’s tri-meet against Georgia and Stanford, though the Bruins will not be able to move up any higher in the rankings, now suddenly having to worry about Auburn as well.  

8. Auburn – 196.720

Road Score 1: 197.125
Road Score 2: 196.825
Road Score 3: 196.175
Road/Home Score 1: 197.275
Road/Home Score 2: 197.200
Road/Home Score 3: 196.275

The second Engler and Phillips got injured, Auburn turned good. Sorry, ladies. The team is still not reaching the level of last year’s squad, particularly with a beam rotation that’s devastatingly Walker-less and a vault rotation without depth or margin for error (Abby Milliet time?), but at this point the Tigers are once again setting themselves up as the most realistic spoiler choice if one of the big names has a meltdown. With a 196.175 road score still to get rid of, and heading to Georgia this Friday, Auburn can increase RQS pretty significantly and will be looking at UCLA like Sylvester at Tweety.

9. Arkansas – 196.460

Road Score 1: 196.700
Road Score 2: 196.150
Road Score 3: 196.150
Road/Home Score 1: 197.225
Road/Home Score 2: 196.700
Road/Home Score 3: 196.600

Arkansas broke the all-important 197 barrier at home over the weekend when Wellick finally started getting her 9.9s, as did everyone else. Suddenly. Look how that worked out. The Razorbacks head to Missouri this weekend, so there’s every reason to expect another big score given what we’ve seen so far this year. The margin between Arkansas and Auburn is too great to overcome in one week, but to have any chance, one of those 196.150s needs to be obliterated by a point. Auburn is starting to pull away in the race for the evening session at SECs, but it’s not quite over yet.

10. Georgia – 196.375

Road Score 1: 196.775
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 195.675
Road/Home Score 1: 197.525
Road/Home Score 2: 196.750
Road/Home Score 3: 196.400 

The worst part is that the Gymdogs counted falls on both bars and beam to score a 195.675 this weekend, and their RQS went up. Because that was still better than the score they were previously counting. I’m hoping we can ignore the bars issue as a one-off thing. Rogers does have a high-risk routine, so falls will happen occasionally, but Vaculik’s mistake was weird, and I wouldn’t expect it to be repeated. On beam, there’s nothing new to say. Falls, fall, falls. Falls that overshadow the fact that progress is being made, with Babalis and Rogers both showing their best beam routines of the season. But there’s no consistency in progress or performance, so do we expect Babalis and Rogers to continue on that path this next week? Not at all.

It’s a huge weekend for Georgia, home against Auburn on Friday and then away to UCLA on Sunday, because why are you doing that to yourselves? Extra meets give Georgia more chances to break the cycle, but if they can’t emerge from this weekend as the 197 team we saw that glimpse of once, will it ever happen?

11. Boise State – 196.330

Road Score 1: 196.425
Road Score 2: 196.425
Road Score 3: 196.400
Road/Home Score 1: 196.300
Road/Home Score 2: 196.275
Road/Home Score 3: 196.250

If you count a fall at regionals, Boise State will beat you.

12. Cal – 196.235

Road Score 1: 196.900
Road Score 2: 195.650
Road Score 3: 195.575
Road/Home Score 1: 196.825
Road/Home Score 2: 196.750
Road/Home Score 3: 196.375

These are some serious scores, and this is the most evenly competitive team Cal has ever put together. My biggest takeaway from the meet against Utah was the absence of any weak links. No one is filling out lineups with a 9.725 that everyone wants to drop. Cal’s postseason viability, however, will be determined by the final two meets before regionals, away at Sac State and then Pac-12 champs, both because of the need to drop those 195s to maintain this relative ranking position and because of the need to prove that these high 196s with 9.800-9.825 base scores aren’t just a home thing or a “compared to Arizona State” thing.

Do we know what’s going to happen with Toni-Ann and the test event if Cal actually makes nationals?

13. Denver – 196.210

Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 196.125
Road Score 3: 196.000
Road/Home Score 1: 197.525
Road/Home Score 2: 196.675

Road/Home Score 3: 195.900

197.525. Yeah. I know. And that wasn’t even senior night. Places your bets on how many 10s Nina McGee gets on Friday.

14. Missouri – 196.185

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: 195.800

15. Nebraska – 196.070

Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 196.150
Road Score 3: 195.350
Road/Home Score 1: 196.775
Road/Home Score 2: 196.400
Road/Home Score 3: 196.100

Lo, we arrive at the most interesting portion of the rankings right now. It’s always fun to watch how things play out at the top, but whether a team finishes #3 or #5 doesn’t really matter all the much. What matters the most when it comes to regionals is where the likes of Nebraska and Stanford finish and who gets stuck with them. It’s no longer a sure thing that they’ll move up, meaning we’re going to have a lot of nervous #2 teams as we get down to it. 

Nebraska went full Nebraska and had just seven gymnasts over the weekend, one again using just five on vault and floor. There are some big potential scores on this team from Blanske, Williams, Lambert when she’s healthy (never), and now Breen who has emerged as a vital AAer this season. Right now, the lack of depth of scores makes it hard to pick Nebraska to make regionals, but get Lambert back on vault and floor and get Laeng back from her elbow injury at just the right time, and this becomes a 197 team.

16. Stanford – 196.045

Road Score 1: 196.650
Road Score 2: 196.075
Road Score 3: 195.875
Road/Home Score 1: 196.675
Road/Home Score 2: 195.875
Road/Home Score 3: 195.750

Stanford dropped spots because this week’s meet is not until tonight, but unless tonight is a big score and ushers in a conversion to Postseason Stanford, two good teams are going to get stuck with Stanford at a regional.

17. Iowa – 195.980

Road Score 1: 196.275
Road Score 2: 196.275
Road Score 3: 196.075
Road/Home Score 1: 196.650
Road/Home Score 2: 196.375
Road/Home Score 3: 194.900

Iowa heads to Iowa State on Friday, and with a season high, would be able to drop that 194.900 like no one’s business to reach an RQS of 196.330. That’s where Boise State currently sits in 11th. This year’s mid-196 threats are many and frequent.

18. Arizona – 195.895

Road Score 1: 196.375
Road Score 2: 196.000
Road Score 3: 194.850
Road/Home Score 1: 196.475
Road/Home Score 2: 196.150

Road/Home Score 3: 196.100

The race for the evening session at Pac-12s is suddenly a thing, with Arizona finally dropping some nasty road scores and temporarily jumping ahead of Oregon State. Like Iowa, Arizona still has a nasty score to get rid of, so we could see another jump, perhaps even to challenge Stanford if things don’t go well tonight. Stanford/Oregon State tonight has serious Pac-12 Champs implications.

19. Minnesota – 195.850

Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 196.075
Road Score 3: 195.525
Road/Home Score 1: 196.200
Road/Home Score 2: 195.775
Road/Home Score 3: 195.675

20. Oregon State – 195.840

Road Score 1: 196.350
Road Score 2: 196.225
Road Score 3: 195.325
Road/Home Score 1: 196.850
Road/Home Score 2: 195.875
Road/Home Score 3: 195.425

With an extra meet left, tonight’s performance for Oregon State is not quite as urgent as it is for Stanford, but it’s about to be March, and those are still three 195s, and this ranking is still #20.

21. George Washington – 195.765

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: 195.425
Road/Home Score 3: 195.400

George Washington is coming off a two-meet weekend that went 1-for-2. Counting an 8.9 on bars took away the score on Friday, but then GWU came home on Sunday and learned what it feels like to experience the warm glowing glow of attention and mid-196s.

22. Illinois – 195.710

Road Score 1: 196.300
Road Score 2: 195.875
Road Score 3: 195.725
Road/Home Score 1: 196.525
Road/Home Score 2: 195.500
Road/Home Score 3: 195.150

It’s getting better. Three highest scores of the season in the last three meets, but it may be too late to save the ranking.

23. Kentucky – 195.670

Road Score 1: 196.700
Road Score 2: 195.800
Road Score 3: 195.800
Road/Home Score 1:196.050
Road/Home Score 2: 195.525
Road/Home Score 3: 195.175
24. Eastern Michigan – 195.635

Road Score 1: 196.600
Road Score 2: 195.975
Road Score 3: 195.800
Road/Home Score 1: 195.750
Road/Home Score 2: 195.600
Road/Home Score 3: 195.050

25. West Virginia – 195.540

Road Score 1: 196.225
Road Score 2: 195.250
Road Score 3: 195.250
Road/Home Score 1: 195.800
Road/Home Score 2: 195.800
Road/Home Score 3: 195.600

2 thoughts on “Week 8 Rankings + RQS Update”

  1. I just have to point out Oklahoma's floor scores. They were damn ridiculous. Everyone has been outraged by the home floor scores at every single meet in the SEC and PAC13 but every single OU floor score had the judges split. AJ got a 9.9 from one judge and a 10 from the other (huh?) and then Michigan on floor the judges are dead on together for every single girl. So please, someone, tell me how that happens? #homefloor happens at ALL SCHOOLS!

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