A. Weekend schedule
|Friday, February 3
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Kentucky @  Georgia||LINK||SEC|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Towson, William & Mary, UW-Whitewater @ North Carolina||LINK||ACC+|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Bowling Green @ Northern Illinois||LINK||NIU $|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Winona State, Gustavus Adolphus @ UW-Stout||LINK||FREE|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Centernary, SEMO @ Iowa State||LINK||ISU $|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Oshkosh @ UW-La Crosse||FREE|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Eau Claire @ Hamline|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Denver,  Nebraska, TWU @  Oklahoma||LINK||FSN|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT –  Arkansas @  Auburn||LINK||SEC+|
|8:30 ET/5:30 PT –  Florida @  Alabama||LINK||SEC|
|8:30 ET/5:30 PT –  Missouri @  LSU||LINK||SEC+|
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  Southern Utah @  Boise State||LINK||FREE|
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU @ Utah State||LINK||FREE|
|10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Alaska @ Sacramento State||LINK||FREE|
|10:00 ET/7:00 PT – UC Davis @ San Jose State||LINK||FREE|
|Saturday, February 4
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Pitt, West Chester, Ursinus @ Temple||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Brown @ Yale||Ivy $|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ithaca @ Brockport||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Bridgeport @ Southern Connecticut||FREE|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT –  West Virginia @ Kent State||LINK||FREE|
|3:30 ET/12:30 PT –  Cal @  Utah||P12|
|3:30 ET/12:30 PT –  UCLA @ Arizona State||LINK||P12|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Michigan State @ Penn State||LINK||FREE|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Rutgers @  Ohio State||LINK||OSU $|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT –  Minnesota @  Illinois||LINK||BTN+|
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  Oregon State @ Arizona||P12|
|10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Air Force @ Seattle Pacific||LINK||FREE|
|Sunday, February 5
|12:00 ET/9:00 PT –  Michigan @ Maryland||LINK||BTN+|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – New Hampshire, Ball State @  George Washington||LINK|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Illinois State @ Central Michigan||LINK||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – NC State, Bridgeport, Cornell @ Penn||LINK||Ivy $|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Springfield, Rhode Island @ Cortland||FREE|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT –  Iowa @  Nebraska||LINK||UN|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Western Michigan @ Bowling Green||LINK|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Lindenwood @ TWU||LINK||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Eastern Michigan @ Illinois-Chicago||LINK|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  Washington @ Stanford||LINK||P12|
|Monday, February 6
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  Denver @  Southern Utah||FLOG|
Friday begins coolly and calmly enough with Kentucky/Georgia, but an hour later we’re hit with a typhoon of 8 top-11 teams in simultaneous action. For live-blogging purposes, I’ll be focusing on the Oklahoma quad—because I know that’s the hardest for a lot of people to get—but not at the expense of Florida/Alabama, a jewel of the SEC schedule. A three-way tie for #11 this week also gives us an #11 v. #11 match-up between Boise State and Southern Utah, which is far too “we’re a tie!!!” for my taste and needs to be used to determine who is the true #11.
B. Meet notes
- For Kentucky, immediately proving last weekend’s 195s were the fluke and not the other way around is a critical task because even though there’s still plenty of season left, these next two meets—away Georgia, home Alabama—are prime opportunities for massive numbers. Georgia is gradually pulling itself together, but despite last week’s good score, the lack of Snead was aggressively apparent on each piece. Georgia isn’t going to reach a truly competitive level without her in the lineup.
- It’s a big weekend for Nebraska. The Huskers were poor against Michigan last week with five missed routines, and because of a smallish regular-season schedule (just 10 meets), this weekend’s two meets will bring Nebraska to the halfway point. Without a mid-196 or two this weekend, the RQS outlook starts verging on urgent. Watch the lineups. Peak Nebraska has AA from Lambert and three events from Williams and Breen. Without that, it’s hard to imagine the scoring potential getting too high.
- Ah, Florida/Alabama. Theoretically a very competitive meet with two teams that seemed quite even before the season began. Despite Alabama hosting, Florida enters with the edge largely because of vault. Florida has four huge-potential 10.0 starts and the likelihood of multiple 9.9s, and Alabama won’t match that (Brannan does appear to be nearing return, and none too soon). Florida will expect a first-half lead, the question is how big. Alabama will plan to use its beam rotation, which does look like an area of potential superiority over Florida, to provide a boost, but it’s certainly not a guarantee. Beam. On floor, Alabama is still in question-mark zone because we haven’t really seen the full lineup or ideal routine composition yet. The Tide will hope the preposterously scored floor rotation from the Elevate meet (9.975) sets a precedent for the rest of the season. B-team mix-and-match floor isn’t going to cut it against Florida, a team that currently ranks higher on every event, including floor.
- If you’re not too distracted by the SEC, Boise State bars versus Southern Utah power should be one of the most legitimately competitive showdowns of the weekend.
- Utah‘s current identity is in its injuries, but those injuries haven’t really caught up to the team in the scoring department yet. Is it just a matter of time, or can Utah actually withstand losing seven whole lineup routines?
- We’re being promised improvement on vault and floor from UCLA to go along with the excellent bars and beam last weekend, with Cipra edging closer to a return. It will be nice to see a lineup that’s not entirely based on distracting the judges through the deployment of Hallie Mossett’s choreography.
C. Skill and routine databases
In case you missed it earlier in the week, I added the Elite Skill Database and Elite Routine Database to the site, the skill database featuring individual bio pages for all the elements currently being performed in elite gymnastics, and the routine database featuring skill-by-skill breakdowns of the routines being performed by active elites.
This week is all Oklahoma all the time as Jessica and I had a chance to chat with Maggie Nichols and KJ Kindler about floor themes, various feelings about slither- and squatting-based choreography, how Brenna’s return to elite in 2015-2016 went down, Chayse Capps’ everything, Maggie’s fraught relationship with the Amanar, deeply complicated orphan storylines (yes), and more. It’s a fun one. Also, sometimes I forget that coaches read the things I say about their routines. Hi, coaches!
E. Being good at elite in February
Is rare. But a lot of people are trying and some of them might even succeed. Elite Canada is happening this weekend, and Brittany Rogers is there. The end. May all Shap-1/2 incidents be behind us. Winter Cup for the US men is also just a couple weeks away, and the start list has been released, as have the prayer beads and the “Winter Cup 2017: Don’t do anything stupid” t-shirts.
F. Beam routine of the week
This week’s beam routine belongs to dear Kate Richardson’s mount sequence and leap amplitude.