A. Weekend schedule
|Friday, February 17
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT –  Nebraska, Brown, Seattle Pacific, Lindenwood (@ St. Charles, MO)||LINK||FLOG|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT – Yale, Springfield, Rhode Island @ Southern Connecticut||FREE|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Florida @  Arkansas||LINK||SEC|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – NC State @  Michigan||LINK||FREE|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Iowa, Maryland, William & Mary, Pitt @  George Washington||LINK||A10 $|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – New Hampshire @ North Carolina||LINK||ACC|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Eastern Michigan @ Northern Illinois||LINK||NIU $|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Hamline @ UW-Stout||LINK||FREE|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT –  Oklahoma,  LSU,  Georgia,  Missouri (@ St. Charles, MO)||LINK||FLOG|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Centenary @ SEMO||LINK||FREE|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Illinois State, Gustavus Adolphus @ Iowa State||LINK||ISU $|
|7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Eau Claire @ Winona State||FREE|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Michigan State @  Illinois||LINK||FREE|
|8:30 ET/5:30 PT –  Auburn @  Alabama||LINK||SEC|
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT –  Boise State @ Utah State||LINK||FLOG|
|9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU @  Southern Utah||LINK||FREE|
|10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Alaska @ UC Davis||LINK||FREE|
|Saturday, February 18
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – West Chester @ Cornell||Ivy $|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Stanford @ Arizona State||LINK||P12|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  West Virginia @  Ohio State||LINK||OSU $|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Ball State @ Bowling Green||LINK||FB|
|5:00 ET/2:00 PT – UW-Oshkosh @ UW-Whitewater||LINK||FREE|
|7:00 ET/4:00 PT –  Oregon State @  Cal||LINK||P12|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Minnesota @  Denver||LINK|
|8:00 ET/5:00 PT – San Jose State @ Air Force||FREE|
|10:00 ET/7:00 PT –  UCLA @  Utah||LINK||ESPNU|
|10:15 ET/7:15 PT – Winter Cup Finals||LINK||USAG|
|Sunday, February 19
|12:00 ET/9:00 PT – UW-La Crosse @ Illinois State|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Central Michigan @ Kent State||LINK||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Temple @ New Hampshire||ESPN3|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Cortland @ Brockport||FREE|
|1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Ithaca @ Springfield||FREE|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT –  Kentucky, William & Mary, Penn @ Maryland||BTN+|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Penn State, Western Michigan, Sacramento State @ TWU||LINK||FREE|
|2:00 ET/11:00 PT – Brown, Seattle Pacific @ Lindenwood||LINK||FREE|
|3:00 ET/12:00 PT – Rutgers @ Illinois-Chicago||LINK|
|3:30 ET/12:30 PT –  George Washington,  Iowa @  LSU||LINK||SEC+|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT –  Arizona @  Washington||P12|
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Alaska @ UC Davis||LINK||FREE|
|Monday, February 20
|4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Utah State, Bridgeport @  UCLA||LINK||P12|
|6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Towson @ Eastern Michigan||LINK||EMU $|
This Friday goes a little differently, with the usual packed SEC Network slate giving way to the Gym Quarters Invitational presented by “We’re totally the new Metroplex, you guys.” It features Oklahoma, LSU, Georgia and Missouri in the evening session, following a day session headlined by Nebraska. Coverage is behind the paywall at Aunt Flo, but don’t worry, I’ve got you with the live blog.
With that meet, Florida and Alabama holding up their usual end of the bargain in SEC Network action, and a rare Michigan appearance on a Friday, the day is just as packed with teams as we would want but without too, too many meets to try to follow at once. Saturday brings its own comfortably spread-out affair culminating in the big UCLA/Utah clash. Very charitably, LSU has a rare Sunday meet to give us a truly full weekend.
B. Meet Notes
- #1 and #2 (and #10 and #15) face off on podium at the Gym Quarters meet, the result of which may not have a ton of postseason implications at the very top because Oklahoma and LSU are both into smooth-sailing ranking territory and Oklahoma already has a lock on #1 at least for this week. Still, I’m quite eager to see how the same judging panel will evaluate both teams when forced to differentiate between the two. We hope. For instance, we’re going to see a lot of strong Yurchenko 1.5s in this meet (especially if it’s Hambrick’s on-week), so either the scoring is going to turn into a total 10-fest where everyone is a winner—ugh—or the judges will have to put on their somewhat-more-critical opera glasses in order to actually rank these vaults and provide a preview of the standard that will need to be used at nationals. I’m not exactly holding my breath, but that’s what I’m hoping for.
- While Georgia will have several more opportunities in the coming weeks, this road meet provides the first chance to get rid of that hideous 193 once and for all and sail up the rankings. Nebraska is in a similar position in the first session with a road 194 to get rid of.
- Saturday’s action is highlighted by Utah and UCLA‘s debut on the ESPN family of networks in a meet I’m quite excited to watch. Typically, when these two teams go at it in Utah, it’s early in the season and the projection is along the lines of “Well, UCLA has the talent to win, but Utah is at home and will be more consistent with the landings, farther along in training and endurance, and will probably take it,” but this year is a bit different. While the score UCLA received last weekend was completely silly, the performance was still noticeably better than Utah’s against Oregon State. UCLA has more potential high scores in those lineups, while Utah has had to turn to some backup-level routines. Things have been known to go crazy in this fixture, but the Bruins are the better side this year as long as floor doesn’t fall apart on them and they actually get through those routines. This is not a given. But still, expect some big numbers in this one. I wouldn’t be surprised at all by some “turnabout is fair play” judging.
- UCLA has a second meet on Monday at home against Bridgeport and Utah State. The Bruins can’t really afford to rest people in the first meet against Utah (both a pride thing and a chance for a massive away score), so I expect Monday’s lineups to be basically an R-team, maybe a Q-team. I can’t imagine it would be worth trying to push Kocian for a two-meet weekend since she’s already on a one-routine-per-geological-age training schedule. We’ll see what LSU decides to do with its second meet, but it looks like a prime Cannamela to me. Perhaps a look at some of those other Harrold/Kelley/Priessman routines as well.
C. Winter Cup
The men’s elite season gets underway today as…oh, everyone already fell. Oops. The finals of Winter Cup coincide with UCLA/Utah on Saturday, which is why they invented uploading individual routines to YouTube. But, the big boys’ qualification session is tonight (Thursday) at 6:30 PT, and hopefully it will get weird. It always does. I’m looking forward to see which of the not-quite-Olympic-team guys like Whittenburg, Kimble, Penev, etc show up with “something to prove” gymnastics versus who shows up with “it’s February and daddy tired” gymnastics. Unfortunately, we won’t get a glimpse of the State of the Orozco Address as he scratched the meet.
Up to three elite women will also compete at the WOGA Classic this Saturday evening. It’s sort of a sparse WOGA class these days without Kocian and Baumann doing elite, but the international crop of competitors does include Kovacs (HUN), Boczogo (HUN), Simakova (RUS), and Klimenko (RUS), while WOGA’s group is led by Alexeeva (Void Between the Universes) and Blakely (USA).
Kathie Klages quit the day after her suspension was announced in order to spend more time with her excuses, and Mike Rowe is now the interim head coach at Michigan State as the fallout from Larry Nassar continues. Begins?
The statement by the AD includes a reference to her “passionate defense of Dr. Nassar.” Oh. Oh good.
This week, we went deep into all the ridiculous scores in NCAA last weekend to decide which ones were real and which ones weren’t and rank them accordingly. We also discussed insane penguin-style vault mistakes, unbearable theme meets, the chalkography rules, and a bunch of news and notes primarily regarding Russian kidney stones.
F. Beam routine of the week
Today, we’re going to talk about a glistening water dancer named Tricia Woo. That height and extension through every skill. That leap amplitude. That Korbut. She even made the hip circle work and threw in enough variety with a one-armed back handspring and a gainer double full dismount to stand out compositionally. I love the part where it looks like she’s going to do a wolf turn and then is like, “No, I wouldn’t do that to you, I’m Tricia Woo.”