2017 Balance Beam Situation Preseason Rankings

We’re already here.

I know.

A month(ish) away from the start of our 2017 national nightmare. I mean dream. Beautiful dream. That means it’s time for my favorite part of the preseason, coming up with absolutely official, scientifically proven preseason rankings. Like all preseason rankings, mine are based on all the reality. Last season, I only went four-for-six (or as the kids call it, Mikulaking) on the eventual Super Six teams, so here’s hoping I can do even worse this year.

And to any and all coaches out there who haven’t yet turned in your coaches poll rankings and are feeling a little, “Ugh, I don’t know. I don’t want to” about the whole thing (and not setting a very good example of homework diligence…), you can just copy mine. They’re really, really good. You have my permission.

1. Oklahoma

Oklahoma will be better this year than last year. That’s just the way it is. Challenge extended, KJ. Last year, I underestimated the Sooners’ ability to fill those gaps on bars and beam by coming up with random and unforeseen 9.9s, but they did it because obviously and of course. This year, I don’t see those same gaps. A defending champion that should get even better? An easy pick for #1.

2. LSU

Likewise, LSU is getting better in 2017. A team that looks more than capable of filling 850 lineup openings that don’t even exist, the Tigers have the ability to separate from the rest of the title-contending pack and will enter the season as favorites to win that elusive SEC title, but can they out-improve Oklahoma?

3. Florida

Honestly, teams 3-5 have been placed more or less randomly and could have gone in any order. While writing this, I had each one in each of the different positions.

Anyway, given the class Florida has lost from 2016, it’s easy to go full raspberry on the Gators’ chances this season, but I’m not buying that, hence the #3 placement. The quality of the freshman class, improved depth of realistic (and non-9.7) backup options on the power events, and smorgasbord of 10.0 vaults should keep Florida right in the championship conversation. Continue reading 2017 Balance Beam Situation Preseason Rankings

Under the Lights: Suzanne Yoculan and Guests

Back in 2007, our beloved Suzanne Yoculan—or Suzie Yocks, as no one calls her but me—woke up one morning and said, “I can’t believe you think I like attention!” and invited cameras into the gym to profile her team’s preparation for the 2008 season in AFI’s #1 all-time best film ever, Under the Lights: Georgia Gymnastics. Directed by Suzanne’s hair, produced by Suzanne’s heels, it costars Suzanne Yoculan and Suzanne Yoculan.

Let’s begin.

The team opens proceedings by gathering around a giant G so that Katie Heenan can ominously threaten us that we’re about to go Under. The. Lights.

Is this like a waterboarding?

“Hey Katie, could you do another take, but this time make it 64% less Guantanamoy?”

Next, we meet Suzanne and some other nameless rabble who are here to tell us how awesome they are. They’re pretty awesome.

Suzanne’s like, “Pretty awesome???”

She gives us her best recruiting spiel about Georgia’s pedigree of champion awesomeness while surrounded by all her most comforting and supportive trophies, including what appears to be a glass foot because of the reasons.


For…Best Performance by Heels on a Competition Floor?

Meanwhile, Jay Clark goes, “We’re the best team, we’re always going to win the national championship, and I can’t imagine anything possibly changing that ever.” Me neither. Continue reading Under the Lights: Suzanne Yoculan and Guests

Things Are Happening – November 18, 2016

A. NCAA Training

FLOG has continued its whistle-stop tour of the American South with visits to Alabama and Georgia.

Sabrina Vega not only exists but now also has a floor routine. The choreography looks a little “we’re worried about your stamina” because it’s entirely on the floor, but she’s getting through it. She has real skills back.

Over Alabama way, Maddie Desch is showing routines. She’s now dismounting bars with a double front instead of that increasingly chucked tucked full she used in elite. I’m usually not in favor (though Alabama loves its double fronts), but in this case it’s probably the better choice given the road her previous dismount was going down. A road called Hitting The Bar And Landing On Your Face Avenue.

Shea Mahoney was in a boot earlier this fall, but she’s getting back to bars now.

“Sassy” for Aja Sims. “Spicy” for Nickie Guerrero. OK, FLOG. Also, Aja Sims’ floor music is sirens. Discuss. Continue reading Things Are Happening – November 18, 2016

And the Rest: 2017 Freshmen

“But when are you going to do William & Mary?!?!?!” asked no one.

Still, freshmen exist at other schools, and they may or may not be worth taking a look at—based on their gymnastics or the fact that I actually recognize their names (!)—as we head into the season. I’ll wrap up the freshman rundowns with this so that we can move on to full team expectations, preseason rankings, and lineup/scoring previews post-Thanksgiving. It’s getting real now.

Southern UtahAutumn Jorgensen and Madison McBride
SUU’s freshman class is a national record 868 people big, and the team you always forget is good has added a sack of new routines that should continue the process of breaking down that top-20 barricade. Also, they’re pretty much all from the same gym. Does Southern Utah’s recruiting process just consist of heading to All-American with a net? Got em! Done!

I believe Jorgensen was supposed to be a 2018er, but she popped up early and just happens to be a JO champion on beam.

Madison McBride, meanwhile, is a JO champion on bars.

McBride (and her sister Megan) will also bring usable vaults, with Madison having trained the 1.5. This is a real class of ninja Level 10s. Continue reading And the Rest: 2017 Freshmen