1. Oklahoma Sooners
Previous ranking: 1
Oklahoma recorded a nothing-to-sneeze-at 197.600 on Friday in cruising to victory against Iowa State and retaining the #1 ranking. The initial 198 pace established by stellar vault and floor scores was, however, undermined somewhat by beam and floor rotations that reflected the fatigue of OU’s whirlwind 6-meet January—a tour of meets that has already delivered a usable top-seed NQS. Basically, Oklahoma could just stop now, is what I’m saying.
2. Florida Gators
Previous ranking: 2
Florida’s 197.800 in defeating Kentucky marks the second straight week in which Florida has recorded the higher score than Oklahoma, narrowing the gap between the two even further while extending the margin between OU/Florida and the rest of the country. It’s too early to declare a two-team race, but they’re currently well above the level of the others.
3. Utah Utes
Previous ranking: 4
Utah achieving a season-high score of 197.300 on the road at Arizona—coupled with UCLA doing…not that—allowed the team to jump another spot in the rankings and sit at #3, also making Utah just the third team to have recorded three scores in the 197s this season. It’s a level of consistency that will put less pressure on the late-season meets to be hits.
4. Denver Pioneers
Previous ranking: 5
Denver also jumped a spot in the rankings this week after its own season-high, a 197.425 at home. Of course the usual suspects delivered and Karr went 9.975 on bars, but the difference in this meet was the elevation of supporting scores from the likes of Sundstrom and Subject to beef up the early-middle of the lineups and not just the ends.
5. UCLA Bruins
Previous ranking: 3
UCLA dropped two places this week, the result of an utter beamtastrophe that saw the Bruins put up three 9.100s and lose to Washington. This was going to be a big-crazy-high 197 with a normal beam score, and you’d expect the beam dynamic to change when Sakti is back and Kocian is able to go, but this still makes three meets out of five where UCLA has missed beam.
6. Minnesota Gophers
Previous ranking: 8
It was a party-week for Minnesota, recording a 197.400 team score (which ranks as the 4th-best in team history) and leapfrogging storied teams like LSU, Alabama, and Michigan in the rankings in the process. Perhaps most disturbing to other teams will be that Minnesota hasn’t really figured out floor yet.
7. Alabama Crimson Tide
Previous ranking: 7
It’s a week where the result was more significant than the score for Alabama, as the team went on the road and upset a depleted LSU side to usurp the #2 spot in the conference—a position that looks completely earned at this point. A team like Alabama, however, will still feel that much needs improving since 196.775 at a loosely scored meet isn’t going to cut it soon. (But Alabama also has just 3 road meets left, and this is a “you can live with it” score.)
8. Michigan Wolverines
Previous ranking: 8
Michigan held its ground in the rankings for week 5 following a narrow, but useful, road victory over Nebraska for 197.075. It’s not the highest number, with a few late-lineup misses that stunted Michigan’s chances of truly stratospheric individual rotation scores, but it keeps Michigan in the hunt.
9. LSU Tigers
Previous ranking: 6
It’s fair to chalk up much of LSU’s disappointing 196.425 loss to Alabama to injuries and depletion—a vault rotation without Edwards and Edney is never going to get the score you want and won’t be the lineup in postseason—but still, a number of athletes who are supposed to deliver big numbers also struggled or meh-ed in a competition where it seemed Kiya Johnson was the only one who showed up. LSU will be thanking its packed 13-meet schedule this year for the chance to drop these January meets.
10. Georgia Bulldogs
Previous ranking: 13
Georgia snatched a season-high 197.425 in defeating Auburn at home on Sunday, a fanciful, Alice in Wonderful score-scape I can barely even talk about so I’m just going to think about how much I enjoy Mikayla Magee’s beam. So far this year, Georgia’s road high is 196.300 and home low is 197.325, so watch for what happens on Friday in Arkansas. Georgia needs road scores to have a chance to maintain a spot in the top 10.
11. Washington Huskies
Previous ranking: 11
As was the case with Alabama, the result is the bigger deal than the score because Washington beat UCLA—at UCLA. But for Washington, the 196.700 score is also a solid keeper. That’s the kind of number that will preserve Washington’s ranking for several weeks to come as the team aims to position itself as the surprise of the season.
12. Cal Bears
Previous ranking: 10
Cal dropped two spots in the rankings this week after the team was let down by its greatest asset, a bars rotation that counted a 9.400 to drop the team total to 196.250 in a loss to Arizona State. Cal’s had just one home meet so far (a huge 197.325 victory over Stanford), so hosting Utah next Saturday will be a meet to watch.
13. Kentucky Wildcats
Previous ranking: 12
Kentucky recorded its 4th-consecutive score in the solid part of the 196s, which even though it’s not doing anything to get Kentucky closer to the top 10 (all teams ranked above UK have scored 197 at least once so far), is still a respectable result for a team that looked for all the world like it would regress this season.
14. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Previous ranking: 17
After a…not-atypical slow start to the season, Nebraska has delivered two consecutive scores hovering around the 197 mark, and while losing to Michigan so narrowly will sting, the fact that it was even that close is a victory. Bars and beam got by in this meet for scores over 49, but it’s still going to be a project to try to strengthen those lineups to meet late-season needs over the coming weeks.
15. Arkansas Razorbacks
Previous ranking: 14
Arkansas will view the low 196 achieved against Missouri as a medium step backward from the heartier 196s of the previous weeks (you have to expect that a vault lineup of Yfull-with-bounce-backs is going to get stuck in the 48.7s and 48.8s), but floor did go quite well to save the meet total, aided by the revelation that is Bailey Lovett’s presence in 2020.
16. BYU Cougars
Previous ranking: 15
BYU had a “wait, why don’t we get to compete at Southern Utah every week?” moment as an acceptable hit saw the team score about a point lower than last week and settle in the low 196s. It’s a reasonable performance but one with a few more counting 9.6s and 9.7s on bars and beam than desired for a team that has the talent to get out of those zones on both events.
17. Auburn Tigers
Previous ranking: 18
Auburn somehow managed to gain a spot in the rankings this week despite a less-than-intended 196.350 in losing to Georgia. The meet started successfully enough (the vault performance was particularly impressive), but an odd botched pass from Sheppard and Gobourne’s OOBs on floor undermined Auburn’s total, even if it was never going to reach what Georgia-home-floor ultimately did.
18. Iowa State Cyclones
Previous ranking: 16
Iowa State experienced the traditional highs and lows of a two-meet weekend, living through a beamtrastophe against Oklahoma on Friday for an unusable 195.000, but rebounding into the 196s on Sunday with a solid away performance against TWU. Though that initial 195.000 did account for ISU dropping two ranking spots.
19. Maryland Terrapins
Previous ranking: 19
Maryland’s 195.475 isn’t the score the team would have been looking for following those early-week 196s, finding a very tentative beam rotation, a couple of landing problems on floor, and the absence of Audrey Barber too much to overcome on Sunday. Still, it was enough to stay at #19 since most of the teams in this portion of the rankings have even larger iffy moments on their records thus far.
20. Arizona Wildcats
Previous ranking: 21
Arizona keeps on trucking, recording its third score hovering around the 196 mark in its first five meets—all of which are scores that will be usably safe come NQS season. Those are the kind of results that will keep Arizona in the top 28 and out of the play-ins this time, the round that ended Arizona’s run last season.
21. Missouri Tigers
Previous ranking: 20
Missouri will honestly just be happy to retain a spot in the top 25 this week given how the season has started. The team is still left searching for a hit meet, and this week did nothing to help the quest since counting falls on both bars and beam left Missouri with an unusable 195.075. Missouri has just one good score so far and 7 meets remaining, so we’re not yet into must-hit land, but soon…
22. Oregon State Beavers
Previous ranking: 25
Oregon State is starting to pick it up and made a leap of three ranking spots this week thanks to a season-high 196.825, marked by 9.975s from Lacy Dagen on beam and Isis Lowery on floor. That was more than enough to defeat Stanford and record the team’s first “we would actually be OK counting this” score of the season.
23. Southern Utah Thunderbirds
Previous ranking: 23
Some counting semi-misses on both bars and floor left Southern Utah with a 195.875 in what will feel like a missed opportunity for a 196. The result was, however, still good enough to hang onto a spot in the top 25 because SUU buckled down to avoid the meet turning into a counting-fall disaster in that last rotation. Other teams were not so fortunate.
24. Stanford Cardinal
Previous ranking: 26
It tells you all you need to know about how things went for teams in this ranking stratum that Stanford was able to survive the meet against Oregon State and stay in the top 25. The absence of Chloe Widner left Stanford with just 5 athletes on vault and floor, and when one of those 5 floor scores was an 8.425…well, that’s how you get to 194.575.
25. Illinois Illini
Previous ranking: 22
It seemed like having to live through a 6.525 on bars and a Ponor-Test-Event moment on vault would be the worst part of the storm for Illinois to endure on Sunday, but then the three-fall beam rotation (if UCLA jumped of a cliff, would you do it too…?) brought Illinois down into the 193s for a fully let’s-pretend-it-never-happened meet that also dropped the team three spots in the rankings.