The Weekend Agenda (February 17th-19th)

Both Arkansas and Alabama are coming off weak scores of 195.875 and 196.000, respectively, which saw them fall from the 3rd and 2nd spots to the 5th and 6th.  The loser of this dual meet may be on downward spiral watch.  The last time Alabama competed at home they put up an enormous score, and we can probably expect the same thing this week when away 9.775s become home 9.850s.  The vault judges at Alabama are 2/2 for giving out 10s, do I hear a third?  I’m betting on Gutierrez this week.

Arkansas struggled last week because Grable struggled.  That was a test of whether their depth could make up for a weak meet from one of the stars, and they didn’t really pass.  There are a lot of missed handstands and low landings in the early lineups, so keep an eye on how those routines are progressing. I finally got the chance to catch up and watch the Arkansas/Florida meet from forever ago, and I was not wholly impressed by Arkansas.  I need to see something more in the third and fourth positions.

I’ll also be following the scores for the UCLA @ Oregon State (with Cal) meet, watching specifically for Oregon State’s vault and floor scores because I still wonder about their amplitude and landing position  and for UCLA’s bar scores (and lineup decisions).  Also, it will be interesting to see how much Zamarripa does.  They’re praying that ankle issue is just a minor annoyance.

Georgia, Alabama, and Oregon State are the major teams competing at home, so they look the most likely candidates for the highest score of the week, especially with Utah visiting Michigan.  I’ll go with Alabama because I think they have the highest scoring potential of the three, but I don’t feel completely certain about that.

Top 25 Schedule:
Friday – 2/17/12
6:00 ET / 3:00 PT – [1] Utah @ [21] Michigan
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – New Hampshire @ [19] NC State
7:30 ET / 4:30 PT – [3] Oklahoma @ [16] Missouri
8:00 ET / 5:00 PT – [2] Florida @ [17] Auburn
8:00 ET / 5:00 PT – Michigan State @ [18] Illinois
8:00 ET / 5:00 PT – Iowa State @ [24] Iowa
8:30 ET / 5:30 PT – [5] Arkansas @ [6] Alabama
9:00 ET / 6:00 PT – San Jose State @ [14] Boise State
9:00 ET / 6:00 PT – BYU @ [15] Arizona
10:00 ET / 7:00 PT – [7] UCLA, Cal @ [8] Oregon State
10:00 ET / 7:00 PT – [13] LSU, Seattle Pacific @ [23] Washington

Saturday – 2/18/12
4:00 ET / 1:00 PT – Kentucky @ [4] Georgia
4:00 ET / 1:00 PT – [20] Denver @ [11] Ohio State
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – [9] Nebraska @ Minnesota
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – Brockport @ [10] Penn State
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – [23] West Virginia, Rutgers, William & Mary @ Maryland
7:30 ET / 4:30 PT – Metroplex Challenge ([12] Stanford, Brown, Bridgeport)

Sunday – 2/19/12
4:00 ET / 1:00 PT – [18] Illinois @ [25] Arizona State

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Press Conferences

Val has mentioned a few times lately that she will pull people from the lineup who don’t warm up well right before the competition.  I like this strategy for a deep team because it keeps everyone on their toes and ensures that the most likely hits get to compete (you’re not putting in a clunker just because she usually hits in practice), but it brings up an interesting coaching question.  In the past, Val has been very adamant that she won’t pull a gymnast from the beam lineup just because of a fall the week before because she doesn’t want the gymnast to think that the coaching staff has no confidence in her.  This new attitude seems like a clear departure from that philosophy.  How is a gymnast going to believe you have confidence in her if you’re yanking her right before the meet because you’re afraid she’ll fall?  

http://www.gatorvision.tv/mediaPortal/embed.swf

It’s important that Rhonda is resting some of her gymnasts this week.  That foresight will be important in keeping everyone healthy, and it goes hand in hand with the new strategy to peak later.  They can’t peak if they’re not intact.  We haven’t seen too much variation in lineups so far, so getting to see gymnasts like Wang come back into the lineup will help us see how much depth this team has and whether they really do have those reliable backups or whether there will be pressure to hold on to the six who are currently converting in competition.  A big road score will help them close the RQS gap with Oklahoma.

Monday Rankings

Rankings for February 13th
1. Utah – 196.855
2. Florida – 196.833
3. Oklahoma – 196.696
4. Georgia – 196.642
5. Arkansas – 196.554
6. Alabama – 196.540
7. UCLA – 196.504
8. Oregon State – 196.305
9. Nebraska – 196.200
10. Penn State – 195.988
11. Ohio State – 195.604
12. Stanford – 195.595
13. LSU – 195.429
14. Boise State – 195.175
15. Arizona – 195.130
16. Missouri – 195.017
17. Auburn – 194.979
18. Illinois – 194.860
19. NC State – 194.833
20. Denver – 194.725
21. Michigan – 194.670
22. West Virginia – 194.500
23. Washington – 194.425
24. Iowa – 194.383
25. Arizona State – 194.346

Troester

Have I underestimated Oregon State?  The team recorded a great score this weekend of 197.400, which certainly took me by surprise.  I tend to think of them as being the excellent Leslie Mak, a few routines from Makayla Stambaugh, and Olivia Vivian on bars.  To me, that’s not enough to sustain a top team.  But if they’re able to show more than that, we may have to expand our conversation to a nine-way race.  I haven’t seen a full meet from them this year, so I will likely check in on UCLA @ Oregon State this Friday.

More thoughts after the jump.

  • Arkansas and Alabama dropped significantly after poor performances.  They will be competing against each other this week, both needing a rebound, which Alabama is more likely to get at home.  At Georgia, Grable had an off meet and Pisani had a fall, which the team could not recover from.  As they go, so goes Arkansas.
  • LSU is starting to show more and more potential, scoring in the high 196s over the weekend.  Everyone will be hoping that this team finds its way into the top 12 before Regionals.  No one wants to see this LSU team as the #3 seed.  They would be a prime spoiler.  Imagine if Utah were to get Stanford and LSU in their Regional (as the rankings stand now).  That would be a fun day.
  • More teams are starting to have running RQS totals, which gives us a great glimpse of where teams stand and what they need.  Oklahoma is in the wonderful position of scoring so well on the road that they have an upper hand on the rest of the teams that are trying to scrape together three usable road scores.  This is why they have the upper hand on higher-ranked Florida.
  • UCLA should be pleased at how close they are to the teams above them, considering their running RQS includes a 194.600.  Even something like a 196.500 at Oregon State would put them right in middle of the lead pack.
  • Nebraska competed six all-arounders last weekend, which I suppose makes sense since they are probably the team’s best on each event, but I’m not comfortable with it.  Beam continues to be a nail-biter.

Top 25 Scores

Scores from the Top 25 teams for the weekend of February 10th-12th.

Week 6
1. Florida – 197.850
2. Oregon State – 197.400
3. Oklahoma – 197.200
4. UCLA – 196.850
5. NC State – 196.775
6. LSU – 196.750
7. Georgia – 196.725
8. Penn State – 196.650
9. Nebraska  – 196.550
10. Stanford – 196.175
11. Utah – 196.150
12. Ohio State (1) – 196.125
13. Boise State – 196.025
14. Alabama – 196.000
15. Arizona – 195.900
16. Arkansas – 195.875
17. Michigan – 195.825
18. Missouri – 195.525
19. Arizona State (1) – 195.500
20. Ohio State (2) – 195.450
21. West Virginia – 195.175
22. Illinois – 195.100
23. Iowa – 194.425
24. Washington – 194.150
25. Arizona State (2) – 194.000
26. Denver – 193.750
27. Auburn – 193.650

Utah @ Arizona State – Live Blog

Watch Live from 4:00 ET / 1:00 PT [NOTE CORRECT TIME – I had it wrong before]

Though Florida put up a tremendous score this week, it looks like all Utah has to do at this meet to retain the #1 ranking is score over 196.  That should be no problem for them, but that also should not be the concern for them.  With Pac-12s and Regionals both in Salt Lake City, this team will have few opportunities to become accustomed to competing on the road (and scoring on the road) before Nationals, so this meet takes on added importance both for eventual seeding and for road experience.  It will be important for Utah to get the freshmen Dabritz, Delaney, and Lopez in the lineup significantly over the next two weeks so they can be ready for a Nationals atmosphere.

The gymnast I’ll be paying the most attention to in this meet is Corrie Lothrop.  At least through the first month and a half of the season, she has made the successful transition out of the 9.825 territory with strong performances late in the beam and floor lineups.  She has been quite solid in landing her acro elements and appears to be performing with more confidence.  However, I do still have questions about her amplitude and landing positions.  Those questions were not shared by the judges at home, but how she scores on those events at an away meet will be very telling.

Commentary after the jump when the meet begins:

Is watching flames on a loop a form of hypnosis?

We got a little intro from our commentators for this meet, which was followed by the woman saying “I didn’t like that one.”  Love it.  I actually thought they were fine.  The male anchor seems more knowledgeable and engaged than they usually are.

Not a fan of these Arizona State leos with the ASU on the back.

First vaulter from ASU pikes slightly on her Yfull and lands to the side, and Lopez hits her DLO dismount for Utah on bars, but we didn’t see the rest of the routine.

Price for ASU sticks a nice Yfull. (9.850)

Hansen in for Utah on bars – a little close on jaeger and a leg separation on the pak.  Good tuck full dismount with a step – good to get her in the lineup, but I don’t see her staying there, though she has nice line. (9.750)

Sundby has good distance on her yfull but pikes down a bit with a step. (9.775)

Beers – she’s cleaned up this routine but a little leg sep and a late handstand on the low bar.  Just an inch backward on the DLO. (9.800)

Seaman – ASU – a little low on her YFull, but a pretty controlled landing.  It’s not national-class, but this is a solid vault rotation with nice difficulty. (9.775)

Jones – ASU has good power on her Yfull (9.875)

It looks like Dabritz is having trouble on her bar routine with her swing – couldn’t exactly see what it was, and then she had a broken handstand, but she hits her dismount well.  I hope she finds her consistency because she’s their best bar worker. (9.500)

Lothrop – hits both jaegers well and had nice position on her bail hs, step forward on the DLO.  I don’t think she hit a couple of her handstands quite vertically, but that was the biggest issue in the routine. (9.825)

ASU will send up only 5 vaulters, but they put up a very nice 49.000, led by Jones with a 9.875.

McAllister – long wait before this routine.  I don’t think there should be any problem with Lothrop’s start value – it seems very straightforward.  Here we go, a little close on the gienger, hits weiler and bail hs, good stick on the tuck full dismount. (9.875)

Damianova did an exhibition for Utah, and after one rotation we have a surprising tie score, each team at 49.000 on the first event.  Lofgren also exhibitioned on bars and showed off her nice line but had a few form breaks in her legs.

Rotation 2: Utah on vault, ASU on bars
Kahoku Palafox – quite possibly my favorite name in NCAA

Rew starts on bars for ASU and has a fall on her shaposh – she wasn’t really close to catching.

Good Yfull from McAllister – proper direction with a hop back.  Didn’t see Lothrop’s routine to start.

Strong stick on the YFull for Utah (they said it was Beers, but it wasn’t.  Tori Wilson, right?)

Jones hits a Shaposh but misses the handstand on the bail and has a big lunge forward on her DLO.  Looks like we missed Dabritz on vault for Utah.  Thanks.

Delaney – great height and distance on her Yfull – hop back.

Palafox dismounts with a DLO with a step forward – a bit of leg form several times throughout the routine.

A bit for leg form and a hop back on the latest Yfull from Utah. I believe it was an exhibition from Del Priore(?)

Good pak from Gades on bars, and stuck a cowboyed double front.  That’s their strongest routine so far.

Damianova exhibitions for Utah and sticks her Yfull very well.  This angle from behind is not the best for judging deductions.

Hangartner has a few issues on her bar routine, with a step forward on the double front.  Seaman catches her gienger extremely close and has to come off the bars – so ASU will be counting a fall and will drop way back after this rotation.  An injury appears to have happened there, but it was difficult to see.  Not sure what happened there, exactly.  Commentators say it may be a neck issue but that she is smiling.

On vault, Utah scores a 49.300, so they will be at 98.300 after 2, and it looks like ASU will be at 96.850.  If Utah wants to hit 197 this week, they will need to go 49.350 on each of the last two events.  197 is not completely necessary, and anything over 196.600 is a fine score for this meet, but 197 looks within reach.

Rotation 3: ASU on beam, Utah on floor
Jones – ASU – hits loso series right on the beam, solid punch front as well – hit start for ASU.

Tutka – Utah – tuck full mount, dance elements aren’t quite there but good body position on acro.  We can’t hear the floor music really at all – pet peeve alert! (9.800)

Robarts – Utah – good Dbl Arabian landing and high body position on the double pike.  This routine has notably improved since the beginning of the season. (9.850)

ASU is scoring well so far on beam – Gentile is next and hits her loso series and her double full dismount – this is a much stronger event for them than bars – much more confidence.

Delaney – Utah – a bit staggered on an otherwise strong tuck full, huge stumble on her second pass – a layout + layout full – they’ll hope to drop this score because that was several tenths right there, finishes with a double tuck with a slight slide to the side. (9.700)

Palafox – ASU – confident three series, weakness is the split positions and a stumble on a switch split – this will be their lowest so far.  Surprised she didn’t add in another leap after she broke her leap connection.

Dabritz – Utah – had no chance of controlling her pike full and fell back – very surprising mistakes from Utah here, so they will be counting Delaney’s score – a big stumble out of her 3/1 dismount as well.

Snowden – ASU – bend in the hips on her series, a slight wobble on choreo as well –

Lothrop – missed her first pass, solid on second pass – just a little stumble out of it and a bounce back on her double pike, should score well, but it’s not the 9.950 from last week. (9.900 – that’s still a little high for me, but precedent is a wonderful thing)

Steigerwalt – ASU – slight stumble back on ring jump – extremely low and off on her loso, no chance to save it, so they will be counting a 9.525 from Palafox, and another fall here, uh oh.

McAllister – She was completely off on her loso connection and had to put her hands down just at the end of the routine.  I never would have thought Utah would be counting a fall on floor, but they have to keep it together and show their usual consistency on beam now.

So Utah has their worst floor performance of the season to score a 48.550 on floor.  Now it’s about fighting to go positive on beam and get into the 196s.  They need to go 49.175 to break into the 196s for this meet, which should not be a problem for them if they hit to capability, but now it’s about mental recovery.

After three events, Utah 146.850, ASU 145.550


Rotation 4: Utah on beam, ASU on floor


Lopez – Utah – extremely tentative on her layout stepout series and comes off.  Utah did not count a fall on beam all of last season, they will be putting that to the test for the next five routines here.  Absolute must hits for them if they want to hold onto their position.  Hits a very nice double full dismount.

Seaman – ASU – she has returned from her injury on the bars, so that’s a great positive – can’t have been too serious.  Odd that the commentators were mentioning that she doesn’t watch her teammates routines – very un-NCAA.

McAllister – Utah – great on her three series, slight wobble on dance, hits double full dismount with a small slide back – very confident recovery.

Sundby – ASU – really fun mount – 2.5 + layout + shushunova, good height on her double back with a minor, minor slide of the front foot and a nice double pike to finish.

Lofgren – Utah – she is right on as well for this routine so far, no break in confidence so far after the Lopez fall,

Steigerwalt – ASU – a little low on double pike, same with the double tuck with a slide back as she came out of it – low again on dismount with slight stumble to the side.

Lothrop – Utah – small stumble on her aerial cartwheel but hits the loso series, sticks the double back dismount but still iwth a low chest.

Snowden – ASU – she has been showing a nice line on her events today – front double + front tuck – a little low on her second, they will need to work on these low landings to contend, we’ve seen a lot of them.  A little piked on her dismount, but a hit routine.

Beers – Utah – biggest deduction in this routine was a slide back on the gainer full – very solid on her acro – just a little sluggish in some of her movements for my taste – maybe a little deliberateness that comes across as tentativeness in some of these skills – she doesn’t attack the routine.

Jones – ASU – has an unfortunate fall on her double pike dismount – they can’t afford that from a gymnast of her calibre on floor.

Once again, Utah is able to avoid counting a fall on beam by putting up five strong routines that gave little away – only minor stumbles here and there – the scores should be strong and put Utah well over that 196 mark.  It will not be the score they hoped for, but a good recovery on the last event with a 49.300 to match their score on vault. (Good hit from Delaney in her beam exhibition as well.)

Odd from ASU on the last floor routine, they moved the sting mat out from under Gades and she had to put hands down in the middle of her choreography.

So that will do it here.  Utah will win the meet easily, but the score of 196.150 is much lower than what we expected and puts more pressure on their final two away meets.  They will have to count this 196.150 as one of their six scores for RQS.  The biggest issues in this meet for me were missed handstands and leg separations on bars and unexpected uncertainty on the floor tumbling, though McAllister’s fall did look to be a total fluke.  This will be a motivator for Utah on the road next week.  Dabritz is one of their top workers, and they cannot afford her to miss two of three routines – even when they are able to drop the score, it’s a potential 9.9 lost.

No competitive routines from Damianova today, but she did a few exhibitions and I expect to see her in a few lineups moving forward.

FINAL SCORE: Utah 196.150, ASU 194.000

The Friday Scores

Lots of important meets to follow tonight.  I’m giving the edge for highest score of the week to Florida right now, since they are rapidly improving and are at home against SEC opposition.  At this point, it’s almost like I’m rooting for crazy scores just so we can see how high they’ll go.  You know they’re hoping for 198. You might be too.

In addition to our usual meets, Oklahoma will be competing in the Perfect 10 Challenge (like the judges do every week this year) and UCLA will be taking on BSU, Missouri, and Illinois at IGI Chicago Style. Oklahoma will be providing live scores as usual for their meet, but we’ll probably have to follow Chicago Style via telegram or something.  “Dear Val – Stop.  Don’t stop!” Last year, gymnastike did a live broadcast of the NCAA meet at Chicago Style.  They’ve never tried again.

In the news, Brianna Brown of CGA has verballed to Georgia.  This is not a surprise given the discussion a while back about Jay getting himself on board the CGA train in a big old way.  Since Whitcomb, Jetter, and Williams were already spoken for, it was assumed he would be courting Brown and Hundley. Priessman is in a different boat since elite success in the next quad may alter her NCAA trajectory.

Follow after the break as we start with the Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas meets.

For Alabama, Lindsey Fowler is coming in for Lora Frost on floor, meaning that they are showing only two routines from freshmen (Kaitlyn Clark on VT and UB).  Priess will not be competing floor, and Sledge will be anchoring that rotation.

Sledge starts Alabama with 9.800 on bars – for me it’s the 2nd best routine in the rotation usually.

Alexin scores 9.775 – we’ll be looking for who can get those 9.85s leading into the fianl two routines.  They’ll need them eventually, but Clark goes 9.750 and Demeo follows with a fall – meaning Stack-Eaton and Priess will have pressure to go 9.9s to put up a solid rotation score.

Stack-Eaton goes 9.850 and Priess has a slight issue on her dismount – so this will not be a huge score.  Well, we won’t see another 197.7 this week from them – unless they go, what, 49.550 the rest of the way.  Who knows this year…

After rotation 1: Kentucky goes 48.775 to trail Alabama’s 49.000.

Over in Florida, Marissa King got a 9.725 on vault, so there’s no point to continue living.  Alaina Johnson goes 9.950, so they’ll manage to get along somehow…They end up dropping King’s score and counting a 9.800 from Spicer.  Everyone else is 9.875+ to give Florida 49.400 – putting them on pace for 197.600 if it continues, how pedestrian…LSU should be pleased by a 49.150 on bars – when they go positive on events other than vault, it’s a good day.

Kayla Williams actually came in on vault for Ashley Priess – she wasn’t on the original lineup because of a wrist injury.  Clark and Williams both start with 9.750s – you know when you’re away from home. Sledge and Gutierrez go closer to what we usually expect from them – 9.850 and 9.900 respectively.  If they want to go 197, they have to keep up those 9.9s for the final two.

(Okay, we have to talk about Ashanee Dickerson going into the 9.9s on bars for the second time in a row at home…)

Milliner doesn’t get the kind of score she got last week, so only Gutierrez goes into the 9.9s, and they total 49.100.  They’ll have the clear lead, but they will have to step up the performance on the last two to be nationally competitive this week or to have a hope of hanging onto #2.  Even away, 49.100 on their best event is not a great sign.  After 2: Alabama 98.100, Kentucky 97.525.


Florida gets four 9.900s to go 49.475 on bars (what, only?)  I might have been wrong, they’ll have to go around 49.550 to get to 198.  Still, 197.5+ should be very doable with hit routines.  LSU has a two event total of a very strong 98.450.

Over in Georgia, Sarah Persinger has a 9.850 on vault, which is the top score I can recall from her this year.  Grable has a lower 9.750 on bars for Arkansas – it’s their most difficult event to score well, so they’ll just hope to get some positive scores at the end of the lineup so they can move on to stronger pastures.

Georgia records a strong 49.275 on vault, led by Ding’s 9.900.  This is the pace they need to go over 197 this week (which should be the goal), but they will hope to go higher on bars, where they have a little more 9.9 potential.  Arkansas has no gymnasts go higher than 9.800 on bars, this is the chink in their armor – 48.900.

Alabama starts with a 9.600 from Fowler on floor followed by a slightly below-par routine from Jacob with a struggle on the dismount, so she scores 9.700. (They are showing a lot of depth – 11 competitors today so far).  Millner – 9.800, Gutierrez – 9.825.  Just the one 9.9 routine for them so far tonight, Gutierrez on vault.  REALLY important for them that Stack-Eaton has come back on floor.

Sledge gets the highest score for Alabama on floor with a 9.875, so they continue the trend and score 49.050 on floor.  They will need a strong beam rotation to break 196.500, which is the bare minimum they will need to keep pace.  With all the tightly packed teams, they could fall as low as probably 6th if they don’t record a good beam score.

Florida’s beam rotation is led by Kytra Hunter’s 9.925, so they maintain their significantly more astronomical pace, at 148.225.  That means they would need a 49.550 to tie their national-leading score, which probably won’t happen, but they will be in line for best score of the week.

Over in Oklahoma City, Sara Stone leads the Sooners to 49.275.

Ack – Shayla has another issue on bars for Georgia (it’s always something), meaning they will count Tanella’s 9.750 – opening the door for Arkansas who scored 49.300 on vault.  Kat Ding saves the day, so Georgia scores a respectable 49.175 and maintain the lead over Arkansas by .250.

Milliner hits solidly for 9.800, but Sledge has a wobble-factory routine for 9.650 — that’s exactly what we didn’t see from them last week, but Kim Jacob hits well for 9.850.  That should provide necessary momentum.  No wait, momentum halted (kind of) – Gutierrez has a big bend and scores 9.750, which will have to count.

Oklahoma scores 49.125 on bars, led by 9.850s from Olson and Ward.  They are at 98.400 after two rotations.

The 9.700 from Demeo will also have to count, so Priess has to go 9.750 to make sure the team hits 196.  She didn’t do it after an error on her full Korbut gave her 9.625.  Alabama’s final score is 195.900 to Kentucky’s 194.700.  A very disappointing road score for the Tide – they are yet to record a big one – and will likely see them fall in the rankings.

Insane score watch: Florida is already at 49.500 on floor with Hunter still to go.  They will score at least 197.725 this week, and they will break their own record if Hunter goes 9.925.

AH! Hunter goes 9.975 (and breaks 9.9 on all three of her events)- so Florida scores 49.625 on floor and ends with a new season record of 197.850.  We’re getting closer!  And Florida still has home meets against Georgia and Utah still to come, so expect the scores to get even louder. LSU also records an excellent 196.750, their season high by far.

Over at Chicago Style, Zamarripa will not be competing vault because of the hard surface at this kind of meet.  A prudent, if disappointing, decision.

Georgia effectively avoids counting a disaster from Davis on beam and gets Shayla to recover for a 9.900.  Their total is another 49.175.  They would need to be excellent on floor (not a given) to break 197.  Arkansas is not having their best meet after Grable had an uncharacteristic 9.400 on floor.  They will need to hit beam for 9.8s to stay above 196.

Without Zamarripa, UCLA goes just 49.275 on vault, which is quite low for them this year.  MDLT will be returning to the bars lineup this week, which is an important step as she should be one of their 6 best.  No Wong, and Whitcomb is still not coming into the lineup.  (Also, you’ll be shocked to know, no Frattone or Baer either.)

While the 49.275 is low for UCLA, I would put my goal for them this meet around 196.700+ (enough to be their highest road score), and they are certainly on pace for that.

Over at Georgia, Kat Ding came in for the AA tonight (yay!) and scored a 9.750 on floor, which is sort of a mixed feelings score.  It’s great that she came in (and scored 39.450 in the AA), but they need higher scores than that.  For Arkansas, their oddly off night continues when Pisani has a 9.350 on beam.  Florida will feel confident about moving up to #2.

Oklahoma avoids counting a fall on beam and scores an excellent 49.350 – Three event total is 147.750

Like Alabama, Arkansas has faltered on the road with a total of 195.875, going below 49 on three events.  For having what seemed the whole time like an off meet, Georgia scores a respectable 196.725 with consistent performances on each event.  (Kat Ding wins the All-Around with 39.450!)

Thankfully, we do have live scoring for Chicago Style.  We won’t need those carrier pigeons after all.  UCLA has another OK, but not so great rotation, scoring 49.175 on bars and falling back to the pack a little bit.  They have no business making this meet close.  Peszek has had two lower scores and probably won’t win the AA for the first time this season.

Oklahoma continues their extremely solid 9.875 of a meet, and they will definitely break 197.  With Ferguson’s 9.95 on floor, they will score 197.200.  So they are set for road scores (the only team in that position) and need to focus on a few more good home scores.

Still no Courtney on balance beam for UCLA, which is a shame since she was the only one hitting that well tonight.  Wong and Baer still in the lineup, no Zamarripa here either.

Final update: Similarly to Georgia, UCLA appears to have an average meet by their standards, but they score well, recording a 196.850, which is a very helpful road score for them and is progress toward removing that 194.600 from memory.

The Weekend Agenda (February 10th-12th)

On Friday, keep an eye on Florida and Georgia.  As the major home teams, they will be expected to lead the way with scoring this weekend.  This year, scoring under 197 at home is a loss for the top teams, which means that there is such pressure to keep pace, even when teams should be comfortable competing at home.  You can’t count a fall for 196.400 and expect to remain at the front of the conversation.

Alabama finally converted last week for a huge 197.725 to bring the team up to #2.  Much like we were saying with Florida last week, it is necessary to maintain the momentum this week on the road and not suffer a letdown.  Bars will be the rotation to watch because these gymnasts need to get out of the 9.825 funk.  (I’d also like to see a little more contribution from the freshmen.  Kayla Williams has been a non-factor so far.)

UCLA and Oklahoma are at USAG meets this Friday, so it may be difficult to get the kind of live scores we’re used to.  UCLA will be providing updates via twitter.  Not exactly ideal…..

On Sunday, Utah is visiting Arizona State.  I haven’t tried out the live streams for the Arizona State meets this year, but we’ll give it a whirl for a live blog for that meet to watch how Utah carries this momentum on the road.

Top 25 Schedule:
Friday – 2/10/12
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – [2] Alabama @ Kentucky
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – [14] LSU @ [4] Florida
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – [23] Iowa @ [11] Ohio State
7:30 ET / 4:30 PT – [3] Arkansas @ [6] Georgia
8:00 ET / 5:00 PT – Perfect 10 Challenge ([5] Oklahoma, Iowa State, SEMO)
8:30 ET / 5:30 PT – IGI Chicago Style ([7] UCLA, [15] Boise State, [18] Missouri, [19] Illinois)
9:00 ET / 6:00 PT – [17] Denver @ BYU
10:00 ET / 7:00 PT – [9] Oregon State, Sacramento State @ UC Davis
10:00 ET / 7:00 PT – [25] Arizona State @ [16] Arizona


Saturday – 2/11/12
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – [20] Washington, [22] Michigan, Southern Utah @ [8] Nebraska
7:00 ET / 4:00 PT – [10] Penn State, William & Mary, George Washington @[21] NC State


Sunday – 2/12/12
2:00 ET / 11:00 PT – [11] Ohio State, [13] Auburn, Ball State @ [24] West Virginia
4:00 ET / 1:00 PT – [1] Utah @ [25] Arizona State
5:00 ET / 2:00 PT – [12] Stanford @ California

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama