1. Oklahoma Sooners
Previous ranking: 1
Oklahoma regained the title of top score of the week—after Florida had won the previous two editions—managing 197.900 in a road victory at TWU. That score already gives Oklahoma a minimum NQS of 197.775 this season, which would have been enough to rank 4th at the end of last season. Maggie Nichols was limited to just bars this week, but Olivia Trautman made her season debut on vault.
2. Florida Gators
Previous ranking: 2
Florida came close to recording the top score in the country for a third-straight week, going 197.875 to Oklahoma’s 197.900 (but still gaining on Oklahoma in season average because Florida has done fewer meets and…you know, don’t worry about it). Trinity Thomas gets all the 10s now, but because I’m me, you know I only care about how she now has EIGHT 9.975s on floor in her career and no 10s, and what if it lasts forever?
3. Utah Utes
Previous ranking: 3
Utah took the next step this week with a 197.550, closer to the kind of top-team 197 the Utes had been waiting for these last couple weeks. It was clear from the start that success for Utah this season would be built on the new babies, so getting Paulson started on bars and Hoffman started on floor was a critical development.
4. UCLA Bruins
Previous ranking: 5
UCLA recovered this week for 197.675, worth a one-spot ranking gain and featuring a far-less-terrifying beam rotation. Almost not terrifying at all. Overall, this was still a medium performance—the landings weren’t all there, the lineups weren’t full, and Frazier didn’t even compete floor on Pride Day so why do we even do this?—but it restored the kind of trajectory for UCLA that we saw emerging in weeks 3 & 4.
5. Denver Pioneers
Previous ranking: 4
Denver recorded its third 197 of the year with a 197.250 against Florida, though in this rarefied ranking air, scoring in the lower 197s is enough to lose a spot. Not having Sundstrom available hurt some lineups—and the surprising bars miss from Karr in the first rotation kept Denver from what otherwise would have been a serious challenge against Florida—but vault provided a comeback in the end with a 9.975-10.000 punch from Brown and Karr to win that event. Denver won’t rue a road 197.250, but it’s not quite what the cool girls are doing.
6. Alabama Crimson Tide
Previous ranking: 7
Alabama moved up one spot this week after a season-high 197.550 in defeating Missouri. Lesson of the week: if you’re a team at home expecting to be ranked in the single digits, you need to be going mid-197s. Makarri Doggette made her season debut on vault with a Y1.5 (vault was always supposed to be her best college event), which will pump up the competitiveness of that lineup.
7. Michigan Wolverines
Previous ranking: 8
Michigan joined the club with its own season high over the weekend, a 197.350 in defeating Ohio State. It’s a good score, and we started to see the team reach its potential on vault in particular, though it wasn’t a performance free from mistakes. A shaky beam lineup kept the final score from being that same kind of Utah/Alabama 197.550, a total Michigan will expect itself to be able to record—and needs to record in order to keep up with its peers.
8. Minnesota Gophers
Previous ranking: 6
Following last week’s excellent 197.400, Minnesota was struck by how difficult it is to keep up this kind of ranking, scoring a perfectly acceptable 196.825 but falling two spots back to 8th. It wasn’t the best of times (I mean, Ramler fell on beam) but it was still a comfortable, non-worrying 9.850 of a performance that would suit Minnesota well going forward.
9. LSU Tigers
Previous ranking: 9
LSU did similarly to Minnesota, scoring a 196.800 this week, but given the expectations LSU will have for itself, that kind of fine-ish meet remains an unsatisfying result. Like last week, much of the issue resulted from not having Edwards or Edney on vault, but LSU won’t be too pleased by the level of the floor landings either—though will also know that in-conference, this same performance is going 197.400. It will be interesting to watch what LSU does in a two-meet weekend coming up given how conservative the team has to be with the injury status of a number of these gymnasts.
10. Cal Bears
Previous ranking: 12
Cal returned home and rebounded, at least score-wise, to snatch another home 197.325 in falling to Utah by a couple tenths, gaining back two ranking spots in the process. The win looked within Cal’s grasp for a while, so another loss will therefore be disappointing, but Cal has quietly put up some humongous scores this season including three 197s (and has a 194 to drop) and is poised to rank well once NQS kicks in.
11. Georgia Bulldogs
Previous ranking: 10
It was another mixed bag for Georgia. I came into the week talking about how Georgia needed to improve on its road scores, which it did with a 196.750. This was better, but it also came in a loss to Arkansas—not a team that Georgia should be losing to, even on the road, if it wants to be in the top half of the conference ahead of teams like Kentucky and…Arkansas. Soraya Hawthorne fell on a Yfull and Vega was absent on vault, which undermined what we would expect from that score.
12. Kentucky Wildcats
Previous ranking: 13
Kentucky will be licking its chops about the Georgia situation because we saw Kentucky go 197.275 over the weekend for a season high on the road at Auburn. There were some score caveats to note here (vault was truly out of control), but Kentucky has continued looking competitive, will compare itself quite favorably against Georgia, and will consider a spot in the top 4 of the SEC a very doable proposition.
13. Washington Huskies
Previous ranking: 11
Washington will compete later this evening in an effort to reverse the two-spot loss that came from not competing over the weekend.
14. Arkansas Razorbacks
Previous ranking: 15
Arkansas will be doing nothing but celebrating after scoring a season-high 196.950 in upsetting Georgia. It was a result mostly achieved by superiority on bars, though the return of Amanda Elswick on vault will prove the most encouraging aspect for Arkansas’s future competitiveness. Vault has been the soft spot so far, and she can up that score…basically .150 by herself. After that first week, it looked like this would be a slow-starting season for Arkansas, but now the Razorbacks are one road score away from already having a competitive final NQS.
15. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Previous ranking: 14
Nebraska suffered a bit of a lapse this week with a 196.175 in defeating Maryland, a meet in which Dujakovich was not available and a couple early low bars scores exposed how dependent that lineup is on a specific five. Houchin did get back on track on beam, and while 196.175 isn’t some horror of a score, it’s not really what a team like Nebraska wants to use. The Huskers have a slightly lighter schedule with just five meets left, meaning the margin for “we don’t want to use this score” is almost gone.
16. BYU Cougars
Previous ranking: 16
BYU went 196.625 in defeating Sac State, its first truly competitive home score of the season, which will help begin erasing those 195s from January. Evans made her season debut on bars for 9.925, and that’s the kind of score BYU needs to make sure future results aren’t as dependent on home-floor as this one was. Talent-wise, this team is quite even across the events and shouldn’t have to rely on one number.
17. Auburn Tigers
Previous ranking: 17
Sigh. Auburn will feel like its spinning its wheels and making no progress, recording a 196.250 in losing at home to Kentucky in a meet that should have provided a showcase score. There’s no actual reason Auburn shouldn’t be right up there ranked with Kentucky and Georgia, but another meet of “one fall in the lineup which means that other weird 9.725 has to count now” kept Auburn down.
18. Iowa State Cyclones
Previous ranking: 18
Though Iowa State did finish 3rd in the Florida tri-meet, the 196.800 score will be considered nothing but a victory, as ISU acquitted itself quite well and didn’t look out of its depth against two top-5 teams. Iowa State belongs. While that 196.800 didn’t produce a ranking change, it did get ISU much closer to catching Auburn than it is to falling behind Missouri below.
19. Missouri Tigers
Previous ranking: 21
It was touch-and-go there for a while (the bars fall in the very first routine did not seem to bode well), but Missouri escaped Alabama with its first no-counting-problems meet of the season, going 196.850 in a loss and outscoring Alabama on beam to account for a gain of two ranking spots.
20. Southern Utah Thunderbirds
Previous ranking: 23
Southern Utah popped off x1000 this weekend with the highest score in program history, a 197.225 recorded at home in defeating Central Michigan—a performance that featured two 9.950s and seven scores of 9.9+, which was enough for a ranking gain of three spots. Now let’s see what happens on the road, where SUU’s high so far is 195.400.
21. Oregon State Beavers
Previous ranking: 22
Oregon State will sort of rue the loss to LSU—falling by one tenth with a 196.700—since the opportunity for an upset was there, save for some critical anchor-position falls on vault and bars which could have been big scores. Still, three straight weeks of viable 196s has helped erase that very slow start to the season, even though there’s a bit more pressure on the Beavs’ remaining meets since they still need 3-4 strong scores.
22. Arizona Wildcats
Previous ranking: 20
Arizona dropped two spots this week after the visit to UCLA didn’t quite produce the beefy road score the team was looking for and a 9.7 parade kept the total down at 195.375. The road scores are lagging right now, which may hurt Arizona when we switch over to NQS, so this weekend’s upcoming visit to Washington is a critical opportunity.
23. Illinois Illini
Previous ranking: 25
Illinois regained two spots in the rankings this week after a season-high 195.725 earned a victory over Penn State—a significant result in starting to establish the ultimate conference hierarchy. Most significantly, Illinois was able to establish the edge on beam despite not even having Takekawa in that lineup.
24. Maryland Terrapins
Previous ranking: 19
It was a rough one for Maryland. A second-straight week without Audrey Barber caught up with the team as counting mistakes on both bars and beam led to an unusable 193.575 total that will need to be dropped come NQS season. We’re still looking for a repeat of those early-week 196s, which will be necessary if Maryland is to stay in the top 25 for much longer.
25. Stanford Cardinal
Previous ranking: 24
Stanford hosts Washington tonight in its quest for a second 196 of the season.