NCAA Week 3 Preview

Full schedule and links

Marquee Meet

[4] Minnesota @
[3] Michigan

Friday, January 22 – 5:30pm ET – ESPNU

Michigan and Minnesota recorded two of the most successful debuts of the season last week and will now have to pit that success against one another to claim the grand title of……I mean nothing it’s gymnastics but it should still be a good one. Our first clash of 197 teams so far this season.

Michigan will enter as the favorite, largely thanks to the extra difficulty on vault and floor. Michigan’s vault squad boasts five Y1.5s to Minnesota’s three, so Minnesota will be hoping to see a little hoppiness on the landings from Michigan to mitigate that power advantage. Michigan also enters ranked better than Minnesota on bars after last week’s display of postseason-level landing control and will hope to keep that going for another week to develop a bars edge as well.

To try to snatch the upset, Minnesota will rely on the human weapons that are Lexy Ramler and national AA leader Ona Loper, who went 9.925+ on five of their eight routines last weekend. Minnesota doesn’t have the same depth as Michigan and will find some lower scores early in its lineups, so the ability of Ramler to go, “Oops I got a 10 while you were getting 9.850s, isn’t that cute for you” at the end of the beam rotation is the single best asset Minnesota has in attempting to outscore Michigan.

Schedule Highlights

Pac-12 Debuts

Arizona @ Utah – Saturday, 1:00pm MT – Pac-12 Network
Arizona State @ UCLA – Saturday, 2:00pm PT – Pac-12 Network
Washington @ Oregon State – Saturday, 2:00pm PT – Live stream

Three more Pac-12 teams—UCLA, Washington, and Arizona—will get their seasons started this weekend, and after what happened to Oregon State in its debut last Friday, a wide latitude of expectations should be prepared for how these debuts will go.

Preparation for teams in the west coast states has been rockier than for many other teams around the country (note that Stanford is not able to start its season until mid-February now—at best—and has had multiple gymnasts opt out of the season), so this will be a test of just how much training time these teams have enjoyed and what actual expectations should be for competitiveness this season.

UCLA’s debut would be cause for fascinated wariness even under the best of circumstances because so many excellent routines from last season are gone. These lineups and their quality were always going to be a bit of a whodunit, and the Devil Season has only heightened the mystery. Similarly, Washington lost a major senior class as well as a head coach since last we saw this team compete, so they’ll head to the meet at Oregon State with both teams eager to say, “It’s gonna be OK you guys I promise!”

What Else?

[13] Ohio State @ [9] Iowa – Two teams with very encouraging debuts last week will be eager to show that those 196s were not one-off performances.

[11] Georgia @ [5] LSU – Georgia’s opening low 196s aren’t bad scores, but they’re not going to hold up for a team hoping to be in the top half of the conference, so Georgia will be looking for a clear improvement to that on Friday. LSU recorded last week’s top score, besting Florida and Oklahoma. Is that a thing that’s going to keep happening?

[1] Florida @ [8] Arkansas – Arkansas’s 196.625 with a counting fall turned heads last weekend. Is it for real? A home meet against the #1 team could provide another opportunity for scores to fly. Florida will view this as a chance to best that first-meet 197.500 to set a new top score in the country.

[18] Auburn @ [10] Alabama – A slow start for Auburn and a counting beam fall for Alabama last weekend have both teams looking for a statement score this week in the intra-state clash. Auburn in particular will need to improve or risk being punted well down the rankings as a bunch more teams debut in the rankings next Monday.

Nebraska @ Penn State – On the topic of things teams want to pretend never happened, both Nebraska and Penn State will be unsatisfied with their opening 193s from last weekend. The question is, were those just slow starts because of the everything? Or a harbinger of how things are going to be this season? Meet 2 should provide some insight.

11 thoughts on “NCAA Week 3 Preview”

      1. Yeah, I was surprised not to see Remlinger in any lineups last week. Even if she was just doing a full, I would have thought she would have been a good addition on vault, and I was also expecting her on floor.

      1. Minnesota‘s vault lineup choice was just odd overall last week. They had several good fulls at their intrasquad the week before so I’m not sure why they needed to put a layout in the lineup. I guess we will see shortly if things are any different this week.

  1. Did anyone else get confused at first thinking “Devil Season” referred to Arizona State since they’re facing UCLA, or is that just me, the resident ASU stan?

  2. >Michigan and Minnesota …against one another to claim the grand title of…

    The first and oldest collegiate rivalry trophy has been happening since 1892 between U of Michigan and U of Minnesota. It’s called the Little Brown Jug–an earthenware jug that serves as a trophy awarded to the winning team.

    The Michigan and Minnesota gymnastics teams will do anything to win that Little Brown Jug trophy for their school on Friday.

    Here’s a link to a photo of the jug hanging from the ceiling of the U of Minnesota Athletic Director’s office in the early 1900s. On the wall, you can see part of a large banner about an upcoming “GYMNASTIC MEET”. (Yes, U of Chicago was part of the Big Ten conference back then.)

    p.s. OK, the trophy is for their football games, but maybe it could be for gymnastics too!

  3. Everything on the inter webs seems to indicate Elise Ray is still at Washington so how did they lose a head coach?

  4. Arkansas will be on fire, they will be at home and they scored over 196.6 WITH A FALL, so this time it will be 197+. They are gonna be a huge threat to the SEC top 4 mark my words

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