The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Week 8 Rankings & NQS Update

Note: Oregon State and Arkansas do not currently have enough meets for an NQS, but I included them here in the spots where their current average would place them to get a sense of where they actually sit in the hierarchy.

Scores in BOLD can no longer be dropped.


1. Michigan

Road Score 1198.525
Road Score 2198.025
Road Score 3197.950
Home/Road Score 1197.950
Home/Road Score 2197.925
Home/Road Score 3197.750
Current NQS:197.920

Michigan’s “let’s pretend we never went to Nebraska” three-fall vault rotation rendered this week’s score unusable. Still, Michigan’s six NQS scores are already high enough that there’s not particular urgency on the remaining regular-season meets to deliver results. This does, however, mean that Oklahoma will have the opportunity to pass Michigan for #1 in the country depending on the result of their meet this Friday. Michigan is still in the driver’s seat with a peak NQS of 198.075 compared to Oklahoma’s 198.015, but it would take a score of 198.250 for Michigan to guarantee sole possession of #1 next week, which is…not exactly a given.


2. Oklahoma

Road Score 1198.175
Road Score 2197.900
Road Score 3197.750
Home/Road Score 1198.200
Home/Road Score 2198.050
Home/Road Score 3197.425
Current NQS:197.860

Oklahoma lost to Florida this weekend so won’t be putting up any banners about recent developments, but the team did achieve the main task of getting rid of a 196.6 away score and closing the gap with Michigan. When Oklahoma welcomes Michigan to town this weekend, Michigan controls its own #1-ranking destiny, but Oklahoma will be looking to score at the very least 197.725, which would be enough to provide an opportunity to catch Michigan should Michigan not record a counting score. Anything less than 197.725, and Oklahoma will definitely stay behind Michigan in the rankings.  


3. Florida

Road Score 1197.775
Road Score 2197.575
Road Score 3196.975
Home/Road Score 1198.250
Home/Road Score 2198.150
Home/Road Score 3198.100
Current NQS:197.715

Florida’s 198.100 in its home finale has given the Gators the best home scores of any team in the country. Now it’s time to go to work on those road numbers, which currently keep the team behind the top 2. It doesn’t necessarily have to stay that way. There’s an outside possibility that Florida could even get to #1 this week. But, Florida’s peak NQS after this week is 197.970, which is lower than the peak for Michigan or Oklahoma, so Michigan and Oklahoma’s results will dictate what happens in the top 3. Still, Florida can give itself at least a chance to pass Oklahoma with a 197.700 and a chance to pass Michigan with a 198.025 should either of them put up a clunker. And by clunker I mean a…gasp…mid-197.


4. Utah

Road Score 1197.950
Road Score 2197.750
Road Score 3197.275
Home/Road Score 1198.000
Home/Road Score 2197.775
Home/Road Score 3197.675
Current NQS: 197.685

Utah’s loss to Arizona on Friday wasn’t…ideal and left the team with a clear deficit to the top three. Competing at home this weekend and unable to drop that 197.275, Utah has maximum NQS of 197.750, which could pass Florida should Florida have a bad one, though the Gators won’t need to do all that much to ensure they stay in front. Since moving up this week would be tough and out of their hands, Utah will instead aim for a 197.925, which would guarantee a spot in the top four next week regardless of what LSU does. 


5. LSU

Road Score 1197.825
Road Score 2197.625
Road Score 3197.200
Home/Road Score 1198.050
Home/Road Score 2197.975
Home/Road Score 3196.950
Current NQS:197.515

A 197.625 road score allowed LSU to jump ahead of Auburn this week with the possibility of passing Utah this week now on the table if LSU can get rid of that 196.950. Because Utah still enjoys a fairly sizeable margin, that’s going to be in Utah’s hands, but scoring at least 197.800 on Friday would give LSU a shot. A strong score is also critical to fending off the challengers because Auburn and Alabama both compete twice, giving themselves double the opportunity that LSU has to improve NQS.


6. Auburn

Road Score 1197.750
Road Score 2197.250
Road Score 3197.175
Home/Road Score 1197.925
Home/Road Score 2197.575
Home/Road Score 3197.525
Current NQS:197.455

A program-record 197.925 over the weekend nonetheless saw Auburn lose ground in the rankings because that’s still lower than two of LSU’s home scores. Auburn competes twice this weekend, once at home and once away, so we won’t know exactly how high the team can go until after Friday’s home meet, though Sunday’s away meet serves as the more critical competition since those road 197.1s and 197.2s won’t challenge the top five this year and must go if Auburn is to move higher in the rankings.  


7. Alabama

Road Score 1197.600
Road Score 2197.125
Road Score 3196.925
Home/Road Score 1197.875
Home/Road Score 2197.575
Home/Road Score 3197.500
Current NQS: 197.360

Alabama’s 197.500 over the weekend did little to change the team’s NQS because that’s where we are right now. Exactly like Auburn, Alabama competes twice this weekend, at home on Friday and then away on Sunday, with the away meet being much more important for ranking purposes. Both teams may be faced with a lineup dilemma this weekend because they’ll have senior day on Friday and will want to go all “ahhh crazy scores, home finale, seniors, best lineup,” but getting a good score at Elevate the Stage on Sunday is crucial, so that one can’t then be a rest-our-people meet.


8. Cal

Road Score 1196.925
Road Score 2196.850
Road Score 3196.675
Home/Road Score 1197.575
Home/Road Score 2197.525
Home/Road Score 3197.350
Current NQS: 197.065

Cal’s score of 196.850 in losing to Arizona State was still enough to get into the top 8, though the team would have wanted a little bit more since the current state of these road scores is unlikely to be enough to get any higher than 8th. That’s especially true with Minnesota looming and enjoying a higher possible NQS than Cal does after this weekend’s meets. A busy end-of-season schedule still gives Cal three more road meets (including this weekend at UCLA), so none of those scores are bold yet. While Cal may fall behind Minnesota this week, the goal score will be 197.475, which would ensure fending off the likes of Kentucky, Missouri, and Oregon State, and also establish a road marker clearly higher than what those teams have done thus far.


9. Minnesota

Road Score 1197.125
Road Score 2196.500
Road Score 3196.225
Home/Road Score 1198.025
Home/Road Score 2197.650
Home/Road Score 3197.575
Current NQS: 197.015

The Minnesota roller coaster went back up this week with a program-first 198 to establish a very comfortable repertoire of home scores. The road scores are still keeping Minnesota well behind anyone in the top 7, but that 196.225 can be made to fly with a hit this weekend, and it would take a 197.400 to guarantee a spot ahead of Cal in next Monday’s rankings. Minnesota hasn’t yet managed that kind of score at a road meet, but it should be a very realistic aim for this team.


10. Kentucky

Road Score 1197.150
Road Score 2196.700
Road Score 3196.275
Home/Road Score 1197.450
Home/Road Score 2197.450
Home/Road Score 3197.350
Current NQS:196.985

Kentucky reached a road season-high of 197.150 this week, which will put the team in contention to rise as high as 8th depending on how the weekend plays out. But since Kentucky’s 197.220 peak NQS is lower than Minnesota’s and Cal’s, so it’s going to be about how those teams do. Kentucky will control its own top 10 fate this week since it will take just 196.800 to confirm that status, and at this point in the season the scoring expectation should be at least that, if not higher.


11. Missouri

Road Score 1196.875
Road Score 2196.850
Road Score 3196.775
Home/Road Score 1197.650
Home/Road Score 2197.350
Home/Road Score 3196.600
Current NQS:196.890

Missouri’s 196.775 last Friday was a fine-but-unexceptional score that served to maintain the team’s current place but doesn’t necessarily set Missouri up to move higher. A maximum NQS after this weekend of 197.100 will make it fairly challenging to catch anyone in the top 10 and does also put Missouri at risk of falling behind Oregon State once Oregon State has an NQS. A 197.075 this week would be a big help and would confirm a place in the top 12 (i.e. a top-3 seeding at regionals) for the week.


NR. Oregon State

Road Score 1197.150
Road Score 2196.575
Road Score 3
Home/Road Score 1197.375
Home/Road Score 2197.275
Home/Road Score 3197.225
Current NQS:N/A

Oregon State will finally have an NQS after this weekend’s meet in Arizona. With a maximum NQS of 197.120 after this next meet, Oregon State should like its chances to slot in ahead of Missouri when joining the rankings, though challenging Minnesota, Cal, and Kentucky will be hard. So the Beavs will expect to be in 11th with a hit meet, though 9th or 10th would be in the picture. 


12. Michigan State

Road Score 1196.975
Road Score 2196.850
Road Score 3196.775
Home/Road Score 1197.425
Home/Road Score 2196.875
Home/Road Score 3196.500
Current NQS:196.795

Michigan State recorded another solidly high 196 this week to keep comfortable pace in the tweens, though probably will fall out of the top 12 this week once Oregon State joins the rankings. The main goal for MSU will be to stay in the top 16 for seeding, which would be a huge deal. That position looks OK for now, but the likes of Arizona State, UCLA, and Arkansas may cause trouble in that regard in coming weeks. 


13. Denver

Road Score 1197.600
Road Score 2196.625
Road Score 3196.600
Home/Road Score 1197.000
Home/Road Score 2196.850
Home/Road Score 3196.475
Current NQS:196.710

14. BYU

Road Score 1196.575
Road Score 2196.575
Road Score 3196.450
Home/Road Score 1197.225
Home/Road Score 2196.775
Home/Road Score 3196.700
Current NQS:196.615

15. Arizona State

Road Score 1196.600
Road Score 2196.550
Road Score 3196.275
Home/Road Score 1197.800
Home/Road Score 2197.075
Home/Road Score 3196.100
Current NQS:196.520

Among the teams in this bubble zone competing for an all-important spot in the top 16 (seeded at regionals), Arizona State is in the best position. Coming off two consecutive 197s and with a couple low 196s to drop, expect this ranking to keep improving. A 197.125 this week would make sure ASU leapfrogs BYU regardless of what BYU scores, and Michigan State and Denver could also be realistic passes unless they’re able to get back to the 197s. 


16. Utah State

Road Score 1196.800
Road Score 2196.450
Road Score 3196.350
Home/Road Score 1196.725
Home/Road Score 2196.425
Home/Road Score 3196.225
Current NQS: 196.435

Utah State now has a comfortable slate of 196s and enjoys a coveted spot in the top 16 right now, but that will be exceptionally difficult to maintain with Oregon State and Arkansas still looking to enter the NQS rankings, and UCLA looming, and no clunker 195s left to get rid of.


17. UCLA

Road Score 1196.850
Road Score 2196.300
Road Score 3195.475
Home/Road Score 1197.650
Home/Road Score 2197.125
Home/Road Score 3196.400
Current NQS:196.430

UCLA helped itself out with a home 197 this weekend, though that’s helping itself out in terms of getting a seeded spot at regionals, not really in terms of a spot in the top 10 or top 8 since the those teams are counting better home scores than 197.1. It’s going to be a late thing for UCLA because that 195.475 can’t go away until the conference championships. That’s when the Bruins would have to make a big last-minute move into a less devastating portion of the rankings because if the season ended right now, UCLA would be an unseeded team heading to the Washington regional with Utah and LSU.


NR. Arkansas

Road Score 1196.800
Road Score 2196.475
Road Score 3
Home/Road Score 1197.200
Home/Road Score 2197.050
Home/Road Score 3196.100
Current NQS:N/A

The bars problems continue to haunt Arkansas with a 196.100 in the home finale not doing a whole lot of good. But, Arkansas’s only bold scores are in the 197s, which is still a very competitive setup if the ship can be righted immediately, exactly now, right this moment. This weekend’s double-Alabama meets will be decisive for whether Arkansas finishes the season just trying to scrape into the seeded spots or whether Arkansas can still position itself as a postseason threat. 


18. Ohio State

Road Score 1196.900
Road Score 2196.675
Road Score 3195.775
Home/Road Score 1197.075
Home/Road Score 2196.450
Home/Road Score 3196.025
Current NQS: 196.365

Ohio State is making a late push for a top-16 position with 196.9 and 197.0 over the last two meets, scores that are competitive for that plateau. With two meets this weekend, it will be possible to drop both the 195.7 and the 196.0, and if that happens, then we’ll know Ohio State is in the mix.


19. Iowa

Road Score 1196.475
Road Score 2196.425
Road Score 3196.375
Home/Road Score 1196.825
Home/Road Score 2196.225
Home/Road Score 3196.125
Current NQS:196.325

Right now I’d consider Iowa the last team that’s already safe for advancing to regionals with that NQS at 196.325, but another result in the 196.2-196.4 range saw Iowa drop from 13th to 19th this week and remain somewhat vulnerable to getting dumped into the play-in meets should the scores not return to the higher 196s.


20. Stanford

Road Score 1196.275
Road Score 2196.000
Road Score 3195.725
Home/Road Score 1196.900
Home/Road Score 2196.575
Home/Road Score 3196.250
Current NQS:196.165

21. Southern Utah

Road Score 1197.000
Road Score 2195.550
Road Score 3195.000
Home/Road Score 1196.975
Home/Road Score 2196.675
Home/Road Score 3196.550
Current NQS:196.150

This Saturday presents a critical opportunity to get rid of that 195.000 road score and move SUU into the group of teams that are all-but-mathematically safe for regionals.


22. Illinois

Road Score 1196.450
Road Score 2196.350
Road Score 3195.650
Home/Road Score 1196.650
Home/Road Score 2196.350
Home/Road Score 3195.725
Current NQS:196.110

23. Boise State

Road Score 1197.000
Road Score 2196.525
Road Score 3196.225
Home/Road Score 1196.950
Home/Road Score 2195.975
Home/Road Score 3194.850
Current NQS:196.105

Boise State continues to lurk, sitting very close to the teams ranked 20-22 and still with a 194 to remove. This week’s maximum NQS of 196.535 would be a completely safe score for regionals, and is ahead of Illinois and Stanford peak’s, about on par with Southern Utah and Utah State.


24. Towson

Road Score 1196.000
Road Score 2195.975
Road Score 3195.600
Home/Road Score 1196.700
Home/Road Score 2196.525
Home/Road Score 3196.225
Current NQS:196.065

25. San Jose State

Road Score 1196.550
Road Score 2196.025
Road Score 3195.950
Home/Road Score 1196.625
Home/Road Score 2195.975
Home/Road Score 3195.725
Current NQS:196.045

San Jose State got rid of its 192 and make the big move this week, starting to look like a very realistic regionals prospect with an NQS over 196 with three meets to go.


26. Iowa State

Road Score 1196.325
Road Score 2196.275
Road Score 3195.775
Home/Road Score 1196.875
Home/Road Score 2196.225
Home/Road Score 3195.575
Current NQS:196.035

27. West Virginia

Road Score 1196.575
Road Score 2196.250
Road Score 3195.925
Home/Road Score 1196.100
Home/Road Score 2195.900
Home/Road Score 3195.725
Current NQS:195.980

28. Georgia

Road Score 1196.975
Road Score 2196.800
Road Score 3196.125
Home/Road Score 1196.300
Home/Road Score 2196.100
Home/Road Score 3194.500
Current NQS: 195.965

Georgia got rid of one of its 194s last Friday, and any whiff of potentially getting relegated to the play-in meets should be gone after this weekend’s double-meet performance. At least, something would have to go very wrong for that 194 not to fly at this point in the year. Georgia is still, however, very much looking like an unseeded team at regionals. Which would be interesting.


29. NC State

Road Score 1196.725
Road Score 2196.025
Road Score 3195.125
Home/Road Score 1196.600
Home/Road Score 2196.350
Home/Road Score 3195.600
Current NQS:195.940

30. Nebraska

Road Score 1196.750
Road Score 2195.625
Road Screo 3195.525
Home/Road Score 1196.350
Home/Road Score 2196.225
Home/Road Score 3195.500
Current NQS:195.845

The scores have started to come for Nebraska, but only just in the nick of time. There’s no room remaining to count falls with three meets left and three scores that really need to go. Both Nebraska and Penn State (in 31st) are in position to be safe as long as they keep getting 196s, BUT they can’t let their guards down at all because there are a number of teams ranked below them that still have 194s to drop and will be making a push. These current NQSs of 195.845 and 195.840 shouldn’t make it to regionals this year, so they still need to get scores.


31. Penn State

Road Score 1196.425
Road Score 2196.125
Road Score 3195.875
Home/Road Score 1196.400
Home/Road Score 2195.475
Home/Road Score 3195.325
Current NQS:195.840

32. Arizona

Road Score 1196.050
Road Score 2196.025
Road Score 3195.500
Home/Road Score 1196.850
Home/Road Score 2196.400
Home/Road Score 3195.125
Current NQS:195.820

33. Maryland

Road Score 1195.950
Road Score 2195.725
Road Score 3195.425
Home/Road Score 1196.700
Home/Road Score 2196.125
Home/Road Score 3194.925
Current NQS:195.630

Maryland still has five whole meets left, so nothing is decided, but the current state of those road scores is not going to be safe.


34. Western Michigan

Road Score 1196.100
Road Score 2195.750
Road Score 3195.400
Home/Road Score 1196.225
Home/Road Score 2196.000
Home/Road Score 3194.875
Current NQS:195.625

Since Oregon State and Arkansas are currently unranked, 34th place should be treated as 36th place, the final spot to advance to regionals. With three weeks of meets remaining and the cutoff score already at 195.625, it still looks like it’s going to take an NQS over 196 to make regionals, so for a team like WMU, anything that isn’t a 196 has to go. 


35. Washington

Road Score 1196.825
Road Score 2195.100
Road Score 3194.450
Home/Road Score 1197.275
Home/Road Score 2196.250
Home/Road Score 3195.450
Current NQS:195.615

Washington went from being the talk of the town right back to danger after a bars collapse on Sunday saddled the team with a non-counter, a 195.100 road score that’s now in bold, and a ranking right in the danger zone. The outlook is still more positive for Washington than others because the ability to balance out that 195.1 with a 197 has already been proven and there are some obvious clunkers that can still be dropped. That should also worry the teams in the 30-34 zone since there’s someone with higher scoring potential and a higher peak NQS ranked below them.


36. Pittsburgh

Road Score 1196.450
Road Score 2195.600
Road Score 3195.575
Home/Road Score 1196.775
Home/Road Score 2195.800
Home/Road Score 3194.575
Current NQS:195.600

Pitt remains right in the mix with these bubble teams, playing a game of who can get rid of that 194 the best. There’s very little separating Maryland, WMU, Washington, Pitt, and North Carolina but probably not room for too many of them at regionals.


37. Rutgers

Road Score 1195.750
Road Score 2195.550
Road Score 3195.475
Home/Road Score 1195.950
Home/Road Score 2195.675
Home/Road Score 3195.475
Current NQS:195.585

Rutgers is staying in sight of the regionals spots for now, but there are no low 194s to drop here to help them climb the rankings, and a team without 196s is not making regionals this year.


38. North Carolina

Road Score 1196.625
Road Score 2195.325
Road Score 3194.225
Home/Road Score 1196.475
Home/Road Score 2196.000
Home/Road Score 3195.700
Current NQS:195.545

How does North Carolina always seems to find itself in the same bucket of syrup no matter how 196y they look? A non-counting score on Thursday compromised the ranking, but there’s still a bad road score to drop and nothing under 196 in bold, so North Carolina should remain optimistic about its chances. Though the leeway for missed meets has now been used up.


39. UC Davis

Road Score 1196.000
Road Score 2195.625
Road Score 3195.075
Home/Road Score 1196.325
Home/Road Score 2195.675
Home/Road Score 3194.700
Current NQS:195.415

40. Central Michigan

Road Score 1196.125
Road Score 2195.550
Road Score 3194.650
Home/Road Score 1196.650
Home/Road Score 2196.475
Home/Road Score 3193.950
Current NQS:195.350

Teams in this portion of the rankings are starting to find the door closing on them, except for Central Michigan, which still has a 193 and a mid-194 that can go. If they do, these 196s look very competitive.


41. Temple

Road Score 1196.675
Road Score 2195.825
Road Score 3195.800
Home/Road Score 1195.425
Home/Road Score 2194.875
Home/Road Score 3194.650
Current NQS:195.315

41. Kent State

Road Score 1196.200
Road Score 2195.600
Road Score 3195.075
Home/Road Score 1195.550
Home/Road Score 2195.300
Home/Road Score 3195.050
Current NQS:195.315

43. Ball State

Road Score 1195.675
Road Score 2195.100
Road Score 3195.025
Home/Road Score 1196.325
Home/Road Score 2195.850
Home/Road Score 3194.800
Current NQS:195.290

44. George Washington

Road Score 1196.375
Road Score 2194.925
Road Score 3194.825
Home/Road Score 1196.025
Home/Road Score 2195.850
Home/Road Score 3194.750
Current NQS:195.275

45. Illinois State

Road Score 1195.875
Road Score 2195.250
Road Score 3195.225
Home/Road Score 1195.175
Home/Road Score 2195.150
Home/Road Score 3194.900
Current NQS:195.140

46. New Hampshire

Road Score 1195.400
Road Score 2195.125
Road Score 3193.625
Home/Road Score 1196.450
Home/Road Score 2195.875
Home/Road Score 3195.400
Current NQS:195.085

47. Northern Illinois

Road Score 1195.075
Road Score 2194.550
Road Score 3194.225
Home/Road Score 1196.300
Home/Road Score 2195.950
Home/Road Score 3195.500
Current NQS:195.060

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