1. Florida Gators
By posting the top score of the season so far at 197.850, Florida expanded its lead to a beefy five tenths. Displacing Florida at this point wouldn’t be a small matter as the Gators already have the four strong scores required for NQS this season—Florida’s weakest score of the year, a 197.250, is the 7th-best score in the country—and at this point could basically just quarantine until SECs. Honestly, not a bad plan.
2. LSU Tigers
LSU did not compete in week 4 after the meet against Auburn was pushed back to next Friday.
3. Utah Utes
Utah rose one spot to #3 this week after a season-high 197.475 that nearly saw the team catch LSU for second place. Maile O’Keefe’s 10.000 on beam led the way as BB returned to its normal status as Utah’s best-scoring event despite a leadoff fall. Utah also set season-high marks on bars and floor scores in this one. Trending the right direction.
4. Arkansas Razorbacks
Though the victory over Georgia did not bring in Arkansas’s highest score of the season so far, it was the most important performance yet as Arkansas showed superiority on each event in a road setting, even on pieces that should be more of a struggle for this team, like vault. Actual control on floor tumbling is quickly becoming this team’s calling card.
5. Oklahoma Sooners
Ooooooh boy. OK. A beam implosion the likes of which we just aren’t used to seeing from Oklahoma saddled the team with its second consecutive low score and another drop in the rankings. In perspective, Oklahoma has 8500 meets left and you’d bet on the team figuring out beam shortly, dropping these low scores once NQS kicks in, and then we forget they ever happened by March. Still, this is two flat-out not good performances in a row, and Oklahoma has looked beatable this season. Which hasn’t been the case in a long time.
6. Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama has somewhat quietly hung around the top of the rankings by recording three high 196s, with only one clunker thrown in over the first four meets. In the absence of Lexi Graber on Friday, Alabama got critical beam and floor hits from Emily Gaskins to keep those lineups competitive and scoring around the same level they would have otherwise.
7. Michigan Wolverines
Michigan was idle in week 4 because of the COVID shutdown.
8. Denver Pioneers
Denver flinched in its third meet of the season, losing to Iowa State and dropping three spots in the rankings on account of a raft of 9.6s from people who have been getting 9.8s. That sunk vault, beam, and floor and saddled the team with a 195.850. Denver will enter Sunday’s meet against Oklahoma looking to wave a similar amnesia wand to make everyone forget about the last meet.
9. UCLA Bruins
A 196.750 in its second meet allowed UCLA to move back into its home in the top 10, while displaying decent scoring potential for a team with lowered expectations this season. Most of the lineups are still incomplete and peppered with nail-biting moments, however, so there will be a ceiling to how high this team can score in its current incarnation. But there remains enough star power on this squad to save the rotation scores.
10. Iowa Hawkeyes
Sunday’s 196.325 turned out to be Iowa’s lowest score of the young season so far, but that’s mostly a testament to how successful it has been. Adeline Kenlin got her first 9.9 of the season on beam, while Jerquavia Henderson added the all-around and hasn’t scored lower than 9.775 on any routine so far, both significant factors in Iowa’s rise this year.
11. Minnesota Gophers
Minnesota was looking for a turnaround this week, and if you just looked at the total score—a 196.675—you’d say it happened. A counting fall on bars, however, took away what was going to be an easy 197, so there’s still plenty of room to raise this average. Lexy Ramler’s 39.675 tied for the second-best all-around performance of her career.
12. BYU Cougars
A season-high 196.425 in defeating Utah State allowed BYU to stay put in 12th place. Achieving a season high was a particularly important accomplishment this week because bars—objectively the team’s most impressive event—did not deliver in the first rotation and it was left to the other events to pick up the slack. Which they did. The next challenge for BYU will be managing a 3-meets-in-8-days slog beginning Friday.
13. Georgia Bulldogs
Counting a fall on floor in the final rotation left Georgia with a season low of 195.950 in a loss to Arkansas. There were moments of fledgling optimism before that with Nguyen returning on bars and Magee and Oakley returning on beam for the best beam rotation of the season, but slapping together a full bars team continues to be a strain. Georgia is left expecting magical contributions from gymnasts who aren’t going to be able to deliver that.
14. Kentucky Wildcats
A 196.400 in losing a tight one to Alabama marked Kentucky’s best score of the young season. The team will expect to continue improving on this result as it was still streaked with 9.7s, but this was certainly the least terrifying beam rotation thus far. Pulling that event together was the primary goal heading into the meet, and it was accomplished.
15. Southern Utah Thunderbirds
Southern Utah’s victory over Boise State with its second consecutive 196 has the team up at 15th (with room to improve because there’s still a 194 weighing that average down). Southern Utah and BYU both recorded the exact same score this weekend, which poises beautifully their upcoming home-and-away series the next two weekends.
16. Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State currently enjoys 3rd-in-the-conference status following a victory over Oregon State and a second 196 of the season. Cairo Leonard-Baker returned to the vault and floor lineups, and her presence was felt immediately as her vault kept the team from having to count a 9.5 there. Freshmen Sarah Clark and Emily White continue to improve each time, excelling far beyond what seemed likely in their JO careers.
17. Michigan State Spartans
Delaying the start of the season is seeming like a really solid call for Michigan State. The team looked quite prepared in its first competition, going over 49 on three events, establishing a top-10 beam ranking, and defeating two conference rivals that are typically stronger in Nebraska and Ohio State. Keep an eye on this.
17. Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State will be pretty thrilled with how Sunday went. Addy De Jesus scored a 10.000 on vault—the team’s first 10 since March of 2004 and the 4th in its history—en route to upsetting Denver and recording the highest score of the weekend in the Big 12. So I’m saying it went well.
19. Cal Bears
Despite a lowish ranking, Cal won’t be too displeased with this start, all things considered. Compared to how the first meets went for Washington and Oregon State, this 24-for-24 performance was a looooot better and should prove a useful starting point. As things progress, getting more out of Li and Perea than we saw in the first meet (UB/BB from Li, exhibition BB from Perea) will be critical.
20. Illinois Illini
Illinois continues sitting around the mid-195 marker, which is not a disaster for this season, though the team will be somewhat miffed about having to count a fall on bars on Sunday. That took away what otherwise should have been a 196. We’re seeing enough 9.8s on this roster that Illinois will expect to start scoring like that for real, and soon.
21. Arizona Wildcats
A second-meet slump for the freshman bars workers led to a somewhat nightmarish rotation score and Arizona dropping off the pace it set last week—despite putting up a number of high-potential routines on beam and floor. Jessica Castles has now gone 9.900 and 9.875 in her two college beam routines.
22. Auburn Tigers
Auburn did not compete in week 4 after the one-week postponement of the meet against LSU.
23. Utah State Aggies
Utah State lost ground in its third meet, dropping back to the low 195s after having to count several low numbers against BYU. But the strength of last week’s 196—something that has been excessively hard to come by for most of USU’s peer teams this year—is keeping the team in the top 25.
24. North Carolina Tarheels
UNC’s week 4 meet against George Washington was postponed due to weather.
25. Boise State Broncos
Boise State is already rollercoastering, going from 194 in its first meet, to 196 in its second meet, and back to 194 for the third meet. Mimicking Oklahoma, it was a beam collapse for a 47 that undermined BSU’s score, which based on the other events was on track to be another 196.