1. Oklahoma Sooners
Previous ranking: 1
Oklahoma was rolling through its home tri-meet until floor, where multiple awkward landings keep the final score in the mid-197s instea dof pushing toward 198. Three strong events, and the return of Maggie Nichols to the all-around giving the team five 10.0-start vaults, nonetheless allows Oklahoma to stay in first with a fairly comfortable margin over second place.
2. LSU Tigers
Previous ranking: 2
LSU’s scores have been improving steadily, picking up a couple tenths each week to remain in second place and hold off Utah. Very similarly to the Tigers’ first home meet, stuck landings on bars proved the savior of the total score this week, but weak vault landings, a mistake or two on beam and floor, and the absence of Edney in the all-around kept the total out of the super-high zone. We’ll see if things are a bit more consistent across all four events next weekend to take advantage of being at Metroplex, which has often proven a juicy opportunity for a loosely scored road meet and a big total. LSU recorded three 10s at Metroplex in three visits from 2014-2016.
3. Utah Utes
Previous ranking: 3
Utah also continued improving its totals with a season high 197.450 at home against Oregon State. It was the team’s best vault and floor performance so far this season, with more control on the landings overall, even including the hilarious Skinner middle-pass somehow-save. The bars and beam lineups seem more unsettled, with at least one spot definitely still TBD on beam and some of the bars landings uncharacteristically uncomfortable for a team that can usually rely on sticks.
4. UCLA Bruins
Previous ranking: 5
UCLA picks up a spot in the rankings with a second-consecutive 197 and another hit performance despite being without some first choice routines, which resulted in counting a few more meh scores than the Bruins would have preferred. This is UCLA’s first time recording two 197s in the first three meets since 2005, providing some factual credence to the idea that the team came in more prepared in 2018. Significantly, Kocian returned to the lineup on beam (with a fall), providing optimism that she can boost some of the lineups that actually need it (cough, the others, cough) in due course.
5. Florida Gators
Previous ranking: 6
Florida does move up a spot but won’t feel particularly pleased with this ranking or this average (pretty far back from the top 4 teams) coming off a weak road performance at Kentucky. The Gators counted a fall on beam and suffered from a tighter level of scoring than they typically enjoy, scoring that was not at all happy with some handstands and landings. It’s still too early to worry about RQS, but Florida has four road meets remaining and no usable road scores yet. Something to watch two weeks from now at Auburn.
6. Kentucky Wildcats
Previous ranking: 6
Kentucky lost to Florida in the clash of 6th-place teams with its lowest total of the season so far, meaning Kentucky falls one spot below the Gators. Kentucky did manage to outscore Florida on both beam and floor—as Mollie Korth went 39.500 in the all-around—but counting a fall on bars eliminated any hope for the upset and for recording a big total.
7. Alabama Crimson Tide
Previous ranking: 10
A hearty-enough 196.725 (the team’s best score of the young season), bumps Alabama up to a slightly more reasonable ranking, though the Tide is still left searching for its first 197 and still trying to eliminate some fairly weak routines on multiple events. The good news for Alabama is that these lineups will not have to be the final April lineups, but it’s going to be difficult to get big scores for as long as they’re still having to use some of these 9.7s.
8. Michigan Wolverines
Previous ranking: 4
It was all going so well. Michigan plummets from 4th to 8th after an entirely forgettable 194, featuring season-worst scores from most of the gymnasts on most of the events. along with a counting fall on floor. Typically, this would be a meet where you just wait until RQS allows it to be dropped and then all agree to pretend it never happened, but the Olivia Karas floor fall (and subsequent pulling from the beam lineup) is cause for worry.
9. Boise State Broncos
Previous ranking: 9
Boise State’s 195.850 was certainly not the score the team would have hoped for, but it was enough to defeat Denver and stay at #9 in the rankings, a performance buoyed by (what else?) bars but undermined into the 195s because of a spate of 9.7-itis and 48-itis on the other three events.
10. Arkansas Razorbacks
Previous ranking: 11
Another 196, this time on the road, bumps Arkansas up into the top 10 for the first time in almost two years. With the routines from Wellick, Shaffer, Laird, and Carter providing the backbone and depth that Arkansas lacked last season, the team is once again allowed to expect a 49 on every event every week.
11. Georgia Bulldogs
Previous ranking: 13
After a first-meet disaster, Georgia is managing to stay afloat. In fact, 196.725 ranked among the better scores of the weekend, a performance that critically featured six whole routines on vault and bars and no falls on any event. It’s a low bar to cross, but it’s a bar crossed. Now, to do it on the road…
12. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Previous ranking: 14
Nebraska jumps up several spots after a second-meet 196.300, a significant improvement over the first meet in that it did not involve counting any falls and included some much stronger floor scores. In fact, the only weak event was vault, the event that had looked so good in the opening meet. Oh, January…
13. Denver Pioneers
Previous ranking: 8
Denver took a significant hit in the rankings this week as all the potential questions seemed to catch up with the Pioneers at the exact same time for a 195.050 on the road at Boise State. Denver is still yet to hit bars this season (3 meets in a row with falls means we have to start worrying about it), and putting up five became a real problem this week with some uncharacteristic errors from Karr on vault and Addison on floor that had to count because there was no buffer.
14. Arizona State Sun Devils
Previous ranking: 12
Arizona State broke 196 for a second week running, and did improve its average, but still drops a couple places this week because some other previously under-ranked teams moved up closer to where we would expect them to be. Regardless of dropping two spots, ASU will gladly take pretty much everything that happened this weekend (except having to use a Yfull tucked on vault), particularly beating Stanford and scoring in the 49.3s on beam.
14. Washington Huskies
Previous ranking: 15
Washington breaks the 196 barrier for the first time this season after quite an even and respectable performance in defeating Cal. For a team that has some depth concerns and no contributing freshmen this year, this meet was important in showing where 6 very believable routines will come from on each event. In fact, the only weak performance occurred on beam, an event that is still expected to be Washington’s strongest once again this season. At least in time.
16. Auburn Tigers
Previous ranking: 18
The #16 ranking understates Auburn at this point because it includes that first-meet 193, a score Auburn will be fighting against until RQS season. Rather, two straight weeks of 196s reveal a side that is closer to being a top-10 team than a top-20 team.
17. Missouri Tigers
Previous ranking: 26
Missouri steps back up into the top 25 after a 196.325 victory against Arkansas that featured 49s on every meet. It’s much closer to the kind of result we expect from a Missouri team that was throwing out 196s all over the place last season and should be able to add to those lineups this season.
18. Oregon State Beavers
Previous ranking: 27
Like Missouri, Oregon State was able to recover from a weak score in its first meet with a 196 in its second, also breaking 49 on every apparatus en route to a 196.300. The upgrade to the Y1.5 for Dessaints, hit all-arounds from Gill and Singley, and mostly 9.800s from the supporting characters showed that the foundation for 196s does exist.
19. Central Michigan Chippewas
Previous ranking: 16
Central Michigan split the difference between its excellent first meet and weak second meet with a medium-level mid-195. Counting a fall on beam took away the chance for another 196, but the bigger worry will be the serious-looking injury to Macey Hilliker on her first pass on floor. She’s a crucial contributor on that event.
20. Kent State Golden Flashes
Previous ranking: 24
Kent State continues pushing pylons out of the way in its ascent up the rankings, using a near-196 to jump up four more places. Once again, it was Rachel Stypinski leading the way with two 9.9s on beam and floor, both in must-hit scenarios following falls, to keep KSU among the top 25 teams.
21. Arizona Wildcats
Previous ranking: 19
Arizona put up a season-high 195.750 in the loss to UCLA but nonetheless drops a couple more places in the rankings because it’s still a 195.750, which ultimately isn’t going to be a top-25 score when we get to the end of the season. The Wildcats were led by strong performances in the all-around from Cindric and Leydin to keep the quality moving upward but ended up losing the chance for a 196 because of mistakes on beam and the same old story, a lack of 9.8s on vault.
22. BYU Cougars
Previous ranking: 20
BYU also recorded 195.750 over the weekend to hang around in the top 25, but it will rank as a slightly less exciting result for the team coming on the heels of the 196 against Cal the previous week. The Cougars didn’t record any falls but did have to accept too many 9.7s to get into the 196s.
23. Stanford Cardinal
Previous ranking: 22
Elizabeth Price has been phenomenal so far this season, currently ranking as the #1 gymnast in the entire country, but the worries for Stanford remain. No team result can be built on one gymnast alone and no bars rotation can be built on only two competitive routines. There is optimism in Kyla Bryant, who will be amazing soon, and that beam routine from Navarro, but is it enough and will it be ready soon enough?
24. West Virginia Mountaineers
Previous ranking: 20
West Virginia will not be satisfied by a 195.400 and a home loss against George Washington, but no falls were counted, and in a meet without Muhammad competing on any events, things could have gone worse. So now about all these 9.6s on bars…
25. Iowa State
Previous ranking: 17
Iowa State lost to Oklahoma, no surprise or shame there, but a disaster on beam with two falls and a bunch of 9.6s (and ultimately a sub-195 team total) rendered this meet a missed opportunity to record a strong road score, deflating ISU’s ranking by 8 spots.