The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Qualifying Score Outlook

The week’s actual rankings can, as always, be found at RTN. But instead of doing a rankings post this week, I’m going to take a prospective look at where the teams currently stand according RQS/NQS (explained), which will take over starting next week.

This is where teams would be ranked, if qualifying scores were in place now. Bold scores must be retained as part of the six and can no longer be dropped.

I’ve also included my excel calculator here for those super nerds who want to play along at home:


1. Oklahoma Sooners

Qualifying score: 197.920
Official week 7 ranking: 1

Road 1198.250
Road 2197.900
Road 3197.675
Home/Road 1198.400
Home/Road 2198.175
Home/Road 3197.600
Qualifying Score197.920

Maximum after next meet: 198.080
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

Oklahoma is obviously already set in terms of qualifying score and is basically just aiming for its all-time record of 198.120 at this point. The lead of 0.370 over Florida translates into 1.850 in pure meet scores, the amount Florida would have to gain on Oklahoma in counting scores over the next five weeks in order to supplant the Sooners at #1.


2. Florida Gators

Qualifying score: 197.550
Official week 7 ranking: 2

Road 1197.875
Road 2197.800
Road 3196.850
Home/Road 1198.375
Home/Road 2197.875
Home/Road 3197.350
Qualifying Score197.550

Maximum after next meet: 197.755
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

Florida does have that road 196 still hanging around that it will expect to drop—though will not be able to do so this coming weekend, competing at home, which means Florida also won’t be able to catch OU. Dropping that road score should help close the gap with Oklahoma a little, but Florida won’t be sweating it because there’s such a comfortable lead over third place.


3. UCLA Bruins

Qualifying score: 197.115
Official week 7 ranking: 3

Road 1197.575
Road 2197.425
Road 3197.200
Home/Road 1197.675
Home/Road 2196.800
Home/Road 3196.575
Qualifying Score197.115

Maximum after next meet: 197.335
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 2

UCLA will feel OK about already being 3rd in the qualifying score race despite a number of eh performances in the 196s hanging around here that the team will expect to drop. The #3 ranking is, however, increasingly looking like the ceiling for UCLA because there’s already a road 197.5 that has to count, which is much lower than what Oklahoma and Florida are looking at counting. Florida’s probably not going to end up using anything lower than 197.8.


4. LSU Tigers

Qualifying score: 197.075
Official week 7 ranking: 6

Road 1197.875
Road 2197.775
Road 3196.800
Home/Road 1197.500
Home/Road 2196.725
Home/Road 3196.575
Qualifying Score197.050

Maximum after next meet: 197.335
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

This is where I would insert that GIF of the woman leaving the Big Brother house if it wouldn’t screw up the formatting of the whole thing. LSU 2020 is the kind of team the qualifying score system exists to serve—a team with a high potential peak that started slowly but can end up dropping all of those low scores because less than half the meets count. It took one weekend of good numbers to shoot LSU right to about where you would expect this team to be ranked.


4. Denver Pioneers

Qualifying score: 197.075
Official week 7 ranking: 5

Road 1197.250
Road 2197.250
Road 3196.700
Home/Road 1197.425
Home/Road 2197.425
Home/Road 3196.750
Qualifying Score197.075

Maximum after next meet: 197.210
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

Denver won’t be concerned about the scores here, having recorded enough low-mid 197s to be in solid shape to maintain this kind of ranking for the remainder of the season. Of actual concern will be the injury to Lynnzee Brown on floor to end the meet on Sunday, something Denver cannot afford.


6. Utah Utes

Qualifying score: 196.975
Official week 7 ranking: 3

Road 1197.550
Road 2197.300
Road 3197.000
Home/Road 1197.100
Home/Road 2197.050
Home/Road 3196.425
Qualifying Score196.975

Maximum after next meet: 197.200
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

While qualifying score is kind to a team like LSU 2020, it’s not that kind to a team like Utah 2020, which finds its ranking here lower than in the actual rankings, where Utah is currently tied for #3. While Utah has more 197 performances than UCLA, LSU, or Denver, the lack of huge numbers to lean on inhibits how high Utah can go right now.


7. Cal Bears

Qualifying score: 196.805
Official week 7 ranking: 10

Road 1197.125
Road 2197.075
Road 3196.250
Home/Road 1197.325
Home/Road 2197.325
Home/Road 3196.200
Qualifying Score196.795

Maximum after next meet: 197.020
Meets remaining: 6
Road meets remaining: 3

Qualifying score allows Cal to drop that floor-disaster 194.9 from the second weekend, which had been weighing down the team average. There are two more 196s that need to be dropped, but with six meets remaining, it’s very likely that Cal will have a full slate of 197s by the end. Keeping a top-8 ranking (#2 seed at regionals) will be very tough this year, but Cal is in the hunt and has already outperformed last season’s final qualifying score of 196.625.


8. Minnesota Gophers

Qualifying score: 196.775
Official week 7 ranking: 7

Road 1197.400
Road 2196.875
Road 3196.475
Home/Road 1197.400
Home/Road 2196.825
Home/Road 3196.300
Qualifying Score196.775

Maximum after next meet: 196.995
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 4

Minnesota gave itself a gift with another 197.400 on Sunday to help offset some of those lower 196s from January. Those 196s will have to go and be replaced by 197s because there are powerhouses ranked just behind that will make runs—particularly Michigan with its higher peak score after next week.


9. Michigan Wolverines

Qualifying score: 196.705
Official week 7 ranking: 9

Road 1197.075
Road 2196.800
Road 3196.700
Home/Road 1197.350
Home/Road 2197.300
Home/Road 3195.650
Qualifying Score196.705

Maximum after next meet: 197.045
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

Most significantly, Michigan still has a 195.6 to drop, which is why the team’s potential score after next week is higher than that of Cal or Minnesota. Once that 195 goes, the 196s that are still hanging around are a bit heartier. But as is becoming clear, you’re not going to be able to have any 196s at all and still stay in the top 8 by the end of things.


10. Alabama Crimson Tide

Qualifying score: 196.680
Official week 7 ranking: 8

Road 1196.775
Road 2196.575
Road 3196.025
Home/Road 1197.550
Home/Road 2197.400
Home/Road 3196.625
Qualifying Score196.680

Maximum after next meet: 196.985
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

Alabama’s qualifying score ranking is weaker than its ranking by average, to some extent because of that low 196 that’s still hanging around, but also because Alabama is a bit too reliant on exactly two good home scores to pump up its average. There’s nothing else to lean on at this point. Getting a mid 197 on Friday at Florida, then, is paramount. Otherwise Alabama is going to be stuck counting some road 196s which will make it tough to get to the top 8 and could provoke a repeat of last season.


11. Kentucky Wildcats

Qualifying score: 196.575
Official week 7 ranking: 12

Road 1197.275
Road 2196.750
Road 3196.625
Home/Road 1196.600
Home/Road 2196.525
Home/Road 3196.375
Qualifying Score196.575

Maximum after next meet: 196.755
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

Kentucky is in the somewhat odd (for most teams, not that odd for Kentucky) position of having much better road scores than home scores. If there’s a choice, that’s the position you want to be in because those lowest scores can be removed with any meet. Most of Kentucky’s lower scores here (those 196.5s and 196.6s) are quite competitive with these teams in the 7+ ranking zone, but Kentucky will have to get more 197s to have a chance to pass, starting immediately this weekend.


12. Georgia Bulldogs

Qualifying score: 196.510
Official week 7 ranking: 11

Road 1196.750
Road 2196.300
Road 3195.100
Home/Road 1197.425
Home/Road 2197.325
Home/Road 3197.075
Qualifying Score196.510

Maximum after next meet: 196.975
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

What we’ve got here is a classic case of the road-score blues. Of course, we can expect that 195.100 to be blown out of the water this weekend when Georgia goes to Kentucky (even if the injury situation remains as dire), which is why Georgia’s peak potential score after that meet is so much higher than Kentucky’s. But even though something like a mid-196 would help Georgia’s overall score, we’re into road-meet crunch time, where a 196.5 away is a one-way street to being ranked like…12th.


13. Arkansas Razorbacks

Qualifying score: 196.430
Official week 7 ranking: 14

Road 1196.550
Road 2196.100
Road 3196.025
Home/Road 1196.950
Home/Road 2196.825
Home/Road 3196.650
Qualifying Score196.430

Maximum after next meet: 196.490
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

The qualifying score is initially kind to Arkansas because it allows for dropping that first-week 194.400 that had been hurting the average. Though beyond that, it does reveal a similar problem to Georgia in that the road scores are lagging behind and counting a 196.0 or 196.1 would make Arkansas vulnerable to being dropped out of the top 16. Because Arkansas is home this weekend, the maximum score after the next meet is rather low, so we may see Arkansas drop a spot next Monday, even with a good result this weekend.


14. Washington Huskies

Qualifying score: 196.270
Official week 7 ranking: 13

Road 1196.700
Road 2196.425
Road 3195.350
Home/Road 1197.225
Home/Road 2196.600
Home/Road 3196.275
Qualifying Score196.270

Maximum after next meet: 196.645
Meets remaining: 6
Road meets remaining: 4

Washington will like its chances to move up a little bit this coming weekend with that 195.350 road score that can be removed, really the only major trouble spot Washington has left on the slate. Overall, Washington is producing scores not dissimilar from a team like Kentucky, but if Washington wants to challenge Cal in conference, it’s going to take immediate 197s.


15. Iowa State Cyclones

Qualifying score: 196.185
Official week 7 ranking: 17

Road 1196.800
Road 2196.625
Road 3196.625
Home/Road 1196.125
Home/Road 2195.800
Home/Road 3195.750
Qualifying Score196.185

Maximum after next meet: 196.395
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 2

The quiet assassin, Iowa State has built up a pretty impressive qualifying score so far based on a schedule of almost entirely road meets. What Iowa State will most appreciate is that this solid #15 ranking is built with a couple 195s that look very removable in the coming weeks. No red flags here, really. This is a good outlook.


16. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Qualifying score: 196.165
Official week 7 ranking: 16

Road 1197.100
Road 2196.375
Road 3195.700
Home/Road 1196.975
Home/Road 2196.175
Home/Road 3195.600
Qualifying Score196.165

Maximum after next meet: 196.465
Meets remaining: 4
Road meets remaining: 2

With the fewest meets remaining, Nebraska is hanging right on the edge. The two bold scores are perfectly strong for a team hoping to finish ranked in the top 16, but the other, non-bold scores probably won’t be high enough, which means every remaining meet needs to be hit, otherwise Nebraska will end up quite vulnerable.


17. BYU Cougars

Qualifying score: 196.110
Official week 7 ranking: 15

Road 1197.075
Road 2196.100
Road 3195.575
Home/Road 1196.625
Home/Road 2196.375
Home/Road 3195.875
Qualifying Score196.110

Maximum after next meet: 196.410
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 4

BYU’s qualifying score outlook is currently a little weaker than its ranking, with some troubling 195s that still need to be removed in order to hang around the teens. Going out of conference for road meets over the next two weekends will be the test, because if these next two scores go into the 196s, BYU will be increasingly difficult to shift out of this ranking tier by teams like Auburn, Missouri, and Oregon State that you’d normally expect to be here instead.


18. Auburn Tigers

Qualifying score: 195.975
Official week 7 ranking: 20

Road 1196.350
Road 2196.275
Road 3194.375
Home/Road 1196.700
Home/Road 2196.625
Home/Road 3196.250
Qualifying Score195.975

Maximum after next meet: 196.440
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 4

Things haven’t been going great for Auburn lately—with the home 194.750 in a loss to Florida the real cherry on top—but Auburn is also a prime candidate to be bailed out by the qualifying score system. The team’s ranking here is already better than it is by average, and that low 194 is going to be removed this weekend (right?…right?) to get Auburn to a more competitive position for the top 16. Expectations will have to be tempered—the idea that Auburn can challenge the 197y teams is floating away quickly—but a slate of hearty 196s is still doable.


19. Missouri Tigers

Qualifying score: 195.960
Official week 7 ranking: 18

Road 1196.850
Road 2196.650
Road 3196.450
Home/Road 1195.600
Home/Road 2195.600
Home/Road 3195.500
Qualifying Score195.960

Maximum after next meet: 196.230
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

Is Missouri’s home gym sideways? Missouri has come out the other side of a rough start to the season with recent road performances but is yet to get a good score at home and is going to find it very difficult to stay top 20 if these 195s stay around much longer.


20. Oregon State Beavers

Qualifying score: 195.915
Official week 7 ranking: 21

Road 1196.400
Road 2196.275
Road 3194.875
Home/Road 1196.825
Home/Road 2196.700
Home/Road 3195.325
Qualifying Score195.915

Maximum after next meet: 196.305
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 2

Other teams in the 16 zone will be wary of Oregon State because the team had such a slow start to the season and still has some very weak numbers hanging around the slate that can be dropped. The Beavs are poised to zoom up in the next couple weeks, but on the flip side, the lack of remaining road meets has Oregon State already guaranteed to count a 196.4, which is not ideal. OSU has one of its two remaining road meets this weekend at Cal, so a lot will be riding on a hit there.


21. Southern Utah Thunderbirds

Average: 195.795
Official week 7 ranking: 19

Road 1196.450
Road 2195.400
Road 3194.650
Home/Road 1197.225
Home/Road 2196.600
Home/Road 3195.875
Qualifying Score195.795

Maximum after next meet: 196.065
Meets remaining: 6
Road meets remaining: 3

Southern Utah may find itself dropping a bit in the rankings over the next couple weeks because the team’s next three meets are all at home, and while there’s a 195 home score still to get rid of, predominately it’s road scores that are keeping SUU from competing with the 196ies right now. March will tell us where Southern Utah can really end up.


22. Arizona Wildcats

Qualifying score: 195.685
Official week 7 ranking: 22

Road 1195.700
Road 2195.425
Road 3195.375
Home/Road 1196.150
Home/Road 2195.975
Home/Road 3195.950
Qualifying Score195.685

Maximum score after next meet: 195.725
Meets remaining: 6
Road meets remaining: 3

Arizona has very little room to grow this coming weekend at home because the home scores are all tightly packed already (and perfectly competitive for Arizona’s basic goal, which will be a top 28 ranking). The road scores got some boost with last weekend’s 195.700 but still aren’t quite safe enough.


23. Illinois Illini

Qualifying score: 195.645
Official week 7 ranking: 23

Road 1195.850
Road 2195.775
Road 3195.225
Home/Road 1195.900
Home/Road 2195.725
Home/Road 3195.650
Qualifying Score195.645

Maximum after next meet: 195.780
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 4

It’s not uncommon in this portion of the rankings to have a bunch of scores hanging around the 195s, but significantly, Illinois hasn’t yet reached 196 and therefore doesn’t have a bigger score to lean on to make up for, say, some lower road numbers. This weekend, Illinois will need not just to get rid of that 195.225 but to get its first 196.


24. Stanford Cardinal

Qualifying score: 195.340
Official week 7 ranking: 25

Road 1195.550
Road 2195.475
Road 3194.700
Home/Road 1196.250
Home/Road 2196.175
Home/Road 3194.800
Qualifying Score195.340

Maximum after next meet: 195.650
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 4

Certainly, Stanford has a lot of room to grow left, with two 194s still hanging around and more 196s than Illinois or Arizona have. Stanford is in position to make a late push for a solid ranking. But, you know, you’ve still actually got to get rid of those 194s. Stanford has five meets left and four vulnerable scores that need to be removed to feel truly safe about avoiding the play-in meets.


25. Penn State Nittany Lions

Qualifying score: 195.320
Official week 7 ranking: 29

Road 1195.425
Road 2195.150
Road 3194.000
Home/Road 1196.325
Home/Road 2196.275
Home/Road 3195.750
Qualifying Score195.320

Maximum after next meet: 195.785
Meets remaining: 5
Road meets remaining: 3

Qualifying score is much kinder to Penn State than season average, lifting the team into the top 25—partially because Ohio State doesn’t have enough road meets yet, but also because of Penn State’s very competitive home scores that are much stronger than other teams in this tier. It’s the road scores that are causing an issue, but PSU has to like its chances of moving up this weekend by dropping that 194.0.


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