The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – January 5, 2017

A. Weekend schedule

Friday, January 6 Scores Watch
Live Blog
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [9] Georgia @ [2] LSU  LINK SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Kentucky @ Eastern Michigan  LINK ESPN3
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Illinois-Chicago @ Michigan State  LINK BTN+
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Arizona State @ Iowa State  LINK ISU TV
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [3] Alabama @ [1] Oklahoma  LINK FSN
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [13] Oregon State @ [8] Auburn  LINK SECN+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [24] Illinois, Ball State @ [19] Missouri  LINK SECN+
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Utah State, TWU @ [18] Arizona  LINK  P12
Saturday, January 7
Scores Watch
Live Blog
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – New Hampshire, Bridgeport, William & Mary @ Rutgers  LINK
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Southern Connecticut @ Towson  LINK FREE
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Gustavus Adolphus @ UW-Oshkosh
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Bowling Green, BYU, Temple @ [23] Penn State  LINK FREE
6:30 ET/3:30 PT – Ohio State @ Pitt  LINK ACCN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [7] Michigan @ [6] Utah  LINK  P12
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [17] Arkansas @ [4] UCLA  LINK  P12
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [25] George Washington v. Yale (@ Boston, MA)
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [14] Denver @ [16] Minnesota LINK BTN+
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Winona State @ Air Force  FREE
Sunday, January 8 Scores Watch
Live Blog
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – West Virginia @ Maryland  LINK BTN+
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – UW-Eau Claire, Hamline @ Central Michigan FREE
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [5] Florida @ NC State ESPN3
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [22] Iowa, Western Michigan, Lindenwood @ Northern Illinois  LINK NIU TV
Monday, January 9 Scores Watch
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [11] Stanford, San Jose State, UC Davis, Sacramento State @ [10] Cal  LINK

Here we are. Here we be. The NCAA season. I’m commandeering these Things Are Happening posts for the NCAA weekend schedules now because…that’s what’s happening. Note that, of the top 25 teams, Nebraska, Boise State, and Washington will not be competing the first weekend, and the Northern California five don’t go until Monday.

Also be aware that older schedules had the Auburn/Oregon State meet beginning at 7:00 ET/4:00 PT, but it is now scheduled for 8:00 ET/5:00 PT. I’m interested in this one, but because of the timing, it’s going to get third-most-important-meet-right-now treatment.

If the streaming link doesn’t say “FREE,” it requires a cable log-in or a specific stream subscription depending on the meet. The ESPN3 links require only an internet log-in, so those are your best bet without cable subscriptions. For the others, try borrowing a log-in from someone you know (if you know people, which you really shouldn’t), otherwise you have my permission to stream them “illegally.” Shhh. My permission means a whole lot. If you’re not in the US, illegal streams are basically your option (unless you want to pay for the Pac-12 international subscription), so please be comfortable with the level of your ad blocker. Or the level of your wanting to know about hot Asian singles.

The schedule will continue to be updated with the remaining links as they become available.

Season debuts are always exciting because we find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. That’s this, right? We find out who’s actually making lineups, who’s not secretly injured, and which freshmen might end up being good. It’s a hoot. Here are a few topics and questions I’ll be paying attention to at the major meets.

B. Oklahoma vs. Alabama

  • Where does Alabama beat Oklahoma?
    On paper, Oklahoma looks the somewhat better team on all four events. If Alabama is going to challenge this season, that means carving out a couple pieces where they’re able to outscore the Sooners. If nothing else, we need to see the fledgling shoots of that potential in this meet. All teams are hoping to see some weaknesses from Oklahoma, otherwise it could be a long season.
  • # of 10.0 vaults
    For both teams, the number of 10.0 starts on vault compared to the other top contenders will be revealing as to their ultimate prospects. Does Alabama have more than two at competition readiness?
  • The Nichols, but also the Desch
    We’re all eager to see whether Maggie Nichols is great or great in NCAA, but it has been a while since we’ve seen anything from Desch, whose elite-to-NCAA status is somewhat more mysterious. Where will she end up falling on the elite spectrum?

C. LSU vs. Georgia

  • Georgia’s OK though, right?
    The scores, routine progress, and lineup depth from Georgia’s (by all accounts strictly scored) preseason showcase threw up some red flags across the gymternet. It’s preseason and means less than nothing, but while Georgia is not the favorite to beat LSU, the Gymdogs do need to prove they have the basis for nationally competitive lineups, particularly on floor, that aren’t getting 9.7s and 9.6s.
  • Sabrina Vega
    Where are we on this?
  • Georgia’s beam reinvention
    Miracle, please. We’re going to need to see a lot of Snead, Schick, and Dickson turning into excellent beamers this season. It starts now.
  • Harrold, Macadaeg, Kelley
    Macadaeg was absent from LSU’s Gymnastics 101 with a stress fracture, while Harrold and Kelley were limited to one event each. How are they doing? It’s not an LSU meet on the SEC Network without Kathy going to pieces about Macadaeg’s beam.

D. Utah vs. Michigan

  • Uh, who’s going to win?
    I’m hoping for a close one. This is supposed to be the exciting meet of the weekend, though Oklahoma/Alabama should provide its own drama. When we saw both teams earlier in December, Utah looked clearly the stronger and deeper of the two, but it has been almost a month.
  • Balance beam situation: the fight for redemption
    The season begins with a face-off between two teams that both suffered terrible bites from the beam bug in the postseason last year. I’m in heaven. Utah is looking at reinventing beam with 3-4 new sets this season, while with Artz, Chiarelli, Brown, Shchennikova, Funk, Karas, Marinez, and Zaziski, Michigan has the makings of a special group. Who is more redeemed?

E. UCLA vs. Arkansas

  • Kyla and Kocian
    Don’t pretend like that’s not the whole reason you’re excited to watch this meet. We’ll get a lovely indication of how realistic UCLA’s title hopes are by finally seeing actual routines from Kyla and Kocian. To this point, it has been all potential and possibilities.

F. Norcal Quint

  • Remember that year when they still called this the NorCal Quad Meet but there were five teams? And we all went, “……………?” Never forget. No one calls it the Norcal Quint Meet but me.
  • Stanford’s lineups
    Stanford’s first meet of the season is always a treat because…who is on this team? Who is OK? Are there enough of them? I can’t wait.

G. G is for GymCastic

My exclusive, found-nowhere-else recap of the Mexican Open gala, complete with a series of love triangles, nautical references, and Yin Alvarez parodies, is currently available to GymCastic subscribers through iTunes or the other podcast things that aren’t iTunes. Or in the GymCastic box on this page.

H. For elite people

I have literally nothing for you this week. There’s nothing happening. Start watching NCAA.

I. Beam routine of the week

This week’s routine belongs to Grace Taylor. Her leg choreography after the layout just adopted you.


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