The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

2018 Preseason Coaches Poll

In their collective infinite wisdom (?), the NCAA coaches have again forced themselves to make a list and check it absolutely no more than once in order to deliver the preseason poll to us poor peasants.

Let’s dissect.

-Oklahoma received 33 first-place votes, Florida 10, and LSU 7. Sadly, there were no random first-place votes this year for Hamline or Winona State or a school that doesn’t even exist anymore, and I’m really disappointed. TRY BETTER.

-No surprise to see two-time defending champion Oklahoma get the first spot, though the coaches did invert LSU and Florida from last season’s finish. I made the same decision to promote Florida in my rankings based on the strength of Florida’s freshman class and returning routines, and I presume the coaches had the same reasoning. They’ve clearly forgiven Florida after dumping the Gators to 5th in last year’s preseason poll.

-The top six is pretty much the agreed-upon top six at this point. It’s minorly surprising to see UCLA’s position, not because of reality so much (I think anything from 4th-6th is a reasonable preseason projection for UCLA), but because of the overall point totals, which put the Bruins fairly far away from the other members of the top 5. Kind of weird?

1 Oklahoma (33) 1769
2 Florida (10) 1728
3 LSU (7) 1692
4 Alabama 1584
5 Utah 1544
6 UCLA 1477
7 Michigan 1443
8 Denver 1313
9 Nebraska 1214
10 Kentucky 1213
11 California 1201
12 Oregon State 1141
13 Boise State 1125
14 Auburn 1119
15 Washington 1114
16 Georgia 1011
17 Missouri 975
18 Stanford 903
19 Arkansas 872
20 Iowa 819
21 George Washington 701
22 Ohio State 690
23 Illinois 609
24 Southern Utah 605
25 Penn State 599

-The big sass-monster moment for the coaches was everyone getting together to go, “Courtney and Suzanne can’t sit with us on Mondays” and put Georgia all the way down in 16th. (I had Georgia at 13th and thought that was fairly sassy.)

Now, hopes aren’t super high for Georgia this season and (depending on the eventual status of Schild) missing nationals is a very real possibility. You can justify 16th, but it’s still somewhat surprising to me that the coaches did it for Georgia, a team that hasn’t finished lower than 13th since 1983, especially because of how much weight reputation carries in the coaches pool. It’s usually the whole deal, especially in power conferences where the coaches typically attempt to protect their own with their votes so that the conferences can say, “20 SEC teams ranked in top 10!!!!” or whatever.

Georgia going 16th means you can assume some coaches put Georgia even lower than that, which feels like a statement vote. I’m not super sure what the statement is.

Courtney doesn’t have any experience?
Grlglgrlrr…Suzanne feelings?
It will be hard to go on without Rachel Schick’s bars? (That’s def it)

-From the teams that made nationals last season, the coaches demoted Washington as well as Georgia. You can make a compelling argument that 2017 was a one-off for Washington, so that’s not a super insane choice. In their place, the coaches finally got on the Kentucky bandwagon and also really like Cal. I’m there for it.

-Otherwise, the poll seems pretty reasonable. You can argue a few teams by a couple spots here and there, but there’s nothing ridiculous. I see no “NEW COACH QUESTION MARK” demotions for Stanford, Ohio State, and Penn State. You could say that Stanford in 18th is a demotion based on the talent on the roster, but not based on last year’s finish. Basically, no one has any idea what to do with Stanford at this point, and we’ve all just given up until the season starts.

– Note: 50 coaches voted this year, compared to 72 who voted last year. Tsk tsk tsk. I’m not mad, just disappointed.

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