The Weekend Ahead — January 18-21

Our #1 team, UCLA, has a bye this weekend, so the #1 ranking will be up for grabs for any top team that feels like 197ing. Now that the barrier for 197s has been broken for the season, I expect those scores to begin flowing. I would not be surprised to see three or four this weekend. To take the #1 ranking (or at least pass UCLA), Michigan would need another 196.900, Alabama would need 197.150, Oklahoma and Florida would need 197.225, Nebraska would need 197.300, and LSU would need 197.425.

We have a wonderful Friday hodgepodge featuring six of the top ten teams. I’ll be around and blogging for the majority of the earlier meets. There are so many options (including multiple streams) that I probably won’t stay on one meet for too long, but we’ll all bop around and help each other keep apprised of the goings on.

Michigan has another Saturday afternoon meet, and Utah host Oregon State among others that evening. Even though it’s early in the season, Oregon State already seems in urgent need of a 196. It wouldn’t hurt the Utes to show they can hit bars either.

Monday is a holiday, and what better way to spend it than with gymnastics? I will hopefully be live blogging that Stanford/Georgia meet as well. We’ll see.

I picked Florida for the highest score last weekend and totally missed, which means the Gators will definitely record the highest score this week, but I’m not picking them on principle. I think we’re going to see a performance from Alabama similar to what we saw from UCLA last Saturday, so I’m going with the Tide.  

Top 25 Schedule

Friday – 1/18/13
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Missouri @ [3] Florida
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [9] Arkansas @ [14] Kentucky
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [16] Central Michigan @ Ball State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [19] NC State @ New Hampshire
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [24] Auburn @ [8] Georgia
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [11] Denver @ [3] Oklahoma
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [5] LSU @ [6] Alabama
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [17] California, UIC, UC Davis @ Washington

Saturday – 1/19/13
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Illinois @ [2] Michigan
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – Iowa @ [21] Ohio State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Michigan State @ [7] Nebraska
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [12] Minnesota, Kent State, Towson @ Penn State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [17] Maryland, Temple, Cornell @ Pittsburgh
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [13] Arizona, [25] BYU, UW-Whitewater @ Texas Women’s
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [20] Southern Utah, [22] West Virginia, [23] Oregon State @ [15] Utah

Monday – 1/21/13
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [10] Stanford @ [8] Georgia

Note: The Georgia/Stanford meet on Monday will not technically count as part of this weekend so will not be included in the next edition of the rankings.


Routines under/over 9.800

As teams move into February and March, the discussion will turn to finding 9.9s and how to turn 9.8s into 9.9s. The conventional wisdom is that it takes around twelve 9.9s (three per event) to have a strong shot to win a championship. At this point in the season, that is an unrealistic expectation. The expectation right now is that the top teams will begin to eliminate those scores under 9.800, the ones that have no place in a March or April lineup and that are unlikely to ever become those reliable postseason scores. 

Looking at the proportion of scores that top teams are recording under 9.800 gives a good sense right now of how much work needs to be done in terms of both eliminating falls and finding the competitors with the highest scoring potential. Whether it’s a 9.775 or a 9.300, that score cannot be accepted later in the season by the best teams. 

Because there is so much inconsistency in the first few weeks of a season, teams recording 9.750 after 9.750 can be ranked fairly well, but that team is unlikely to feature in the postseason and that will be reflected in these percentages as opposed to teams who counted disasters but are soon to improve.

% of routines scored under 9.800 for top 25 teams
1. UCLA [1] – 25.00%
2. Michigan [2] – 27.08%
2. LSU [5] – 27.08%
2. Florida [3] – 27.08%
5. Oklahoma [3] – 31.25%
6. Alabama [6] – 37.50%
6. Georgia [8]  – 37.50%
6. Utah [15] – 37.50%
9. Auburn [24] – 52.08%
10. Nebraska [7] – 54.16%
10. Arkansas [9] – 54.16%
10. Arizona [13] – 54.16%
13. Stanford [10] – 57.45%
14. Denver [11] – 58.33%
14. Minnesota [12] – 58.33%
16. California [17] – 60.42%
17. Maryland [17] – 62.50%
18. Kentucky [14] – 66.66%
18. Central Michigan [16] – 66.67%
18. Ohio State [21] – 66.67%
18. Oregon State [23] – 66.67%
22. NC State [19] – 70.83%
23. West Virginia [22] – 79.17%
24. BYU [25] – 81.25%
25. Southern Utah [20] – 83.33%

Utah and Auburn (in particular) are strong examples of teams that outperformed their rankings and are likely to move up soon based on the proportion of 9.800+ routines.  

Monday Rankings and Notes

With a fine Saturday night showing, UCLA emerges from the weekend with the highest score by a wide margin. Congratulations in particular to the people who voted for UCLA in the poll after all the meets had already finished. Well done, you. That’s some awesome prognosticating.

Rankings for January 14th, 2013 (Full rankings)

1. UCLA – 196.788
Zamarripa (AA) and Courtney (VT, FX) are currently performing in mid- to late-season form. Combined, these two have been worth about .500 over replacement level (i.e., 9.800, 196.000) per meet. Courtney appears to be emerging as the reliable #2 that Peszek would have been and that Larson should have been. The 197.425, while impressive for week 2, masks some deficiencies, such as the sixth routine on UB, BB, and FX (Francis, Courtney, and Bynum respectively are not yet the solutions). VT still exposes a big gap between the best and the rest, and the 9.875s from McDonald and Baer cannot be expected every week.

2. Michigan – 196.738
A phenomenal start to the season has been earned through stellar work on multiple events, but bars is clearly the farthest along and deserves the top national mark of 49.350. The single biggest difference between Michigan and Nebraska last weekend was the proficiency in bars dismounts, which alone accounted for a significant chunk of the margin of victory. Though the Wolverines are currently ranked #3 on beam, they do not have a sure-hit lineup. I’d like to see some experimentation if the depth allows. In both meets so far, vault was the tightest-scored event, but the potential does graduall need to stop being potential over the next two to three weeks.

3. Oklahoma – 196.575
The Sooners have been strong through both meets but have suffered weaker moments in each one that have kept the scores in the range of perfectly acceptable. Importantly, the problem areas have not been repeats, so they will likely smooth themselves out through continued training and competition. Erica Brewer’s return is a major boost, but the vault rotation still needs to be resolved (translation: Brie Olson needs to be in and hitting). As usual, this is not a team of stars, and Oklahoma’s best route to 197s in the early part of the season will require Spears, Scaman, Brewer, Olson, Mooring, and Kmieciak each earning consistent 9.875s.

3. Florida – 196.575
The surprise loss at LSU is not cause for alarm. The score would have been well into the 197s if not for the two falls on beam, a normal flaw for January. I’m sure Sloan will get 9.9s on beam this season, but do I wonder about her ability to be a Sturdy Susan every week. Balancing scoring potential with consistency will be a theme this year. I’m pleased that Rhonda is going to be more experimental this year with her beam lineup. They’ll be hitting soon. By February, Sloan will need to come in on floor, and the bars stars will need to start being just that.

5. LSU – 196.475
It has been a humongous start for a team with high hopes. No one is surprised that the power events are a major strength, and the Tigers are competitive with anyone in the country on those two pieces. I’m interested to see how true that statement remains during a road meet. The consistency is a concern (three falls in the last meet even though all were dropped), as is the national competitiveness of the bars rotation and the ability for anyone in the beam rotation to post 9.9s. Right now, this is a high 196s team that still has to prove its 197 ability.

6. Alabama – 196.450
This workmanlike start for the Tide was expected. The 196.450 is child’s play for this team’s talent, but they are not at full lineup strength and have clear work to do on handstands and landings. Crucially, the highlights of the first meet were Demeo, Jacob, and Milliner. It will be vital that they combine to pick up the scoring lost from GSE as well as emerge as scoring leaders to guard against the senior exodus after this season. Lauren Beers didn’t have a strong debut, but frankly the routines she showed will not be needed very much since the team is so deep on vault and floor. The seniors didn’t show all their events and started a bit 9.825 in this meet, and Kayla Williams was disappointingly non-factorish. Watch that as we go on.  

7. Nebraska – 196.300
While Nebraska needed a high-scoring final beam rotation to reach this level, that in and of itself is news. Five solid, well-executed beam routines in a row and a whopping eight gymnasts competing (up from six) are encouraging signs of things to come. On most events, the landings still look to be in the fetal stages. Wong and DeZiel are already on another level compared to the rest of the team, and the two should fight it out for Big 10 AA champ again this year.  

8. Georgia – 195.813
The second meet for the Gymdogs was an encouraging improvement from the first, but this team is on a slower trajectory than many of its peers (or should-be peers). Outside of vault, which has been excellent and can become more excellent to the tune of 49.450, half of the routines in the Arkansas meet scored under 9.800. The floor rotation is still underdeveloped (Tanella had the highest score last time), and most of these events could seriously use the 9.850s from Noel Couch when she returns.

9. Arkansas – 195.775
Even though this start is not nearly as strong as last year’s (and unfortunately “not nearly as strong as last year” may be the theme of the season), I see no reason for particular discouragement about this first result. There were a few breaks, almost all from freshmen, but the team pulled out solid scores in spite of them. Bars will be a stressful rotation without Pisani and Howdeshell, so watch if anyone is ever able to get a 9.800. Grable will have to be the sun and stars, and she began already with three scores of 9.875+ 

10. Stanford – 195.725
Compared to last season, this start is positively euphoric for Stanford. Having Ivana Hong in on multiple events from the beginning of the season makes all the difference, and she’s already 9.875-9.900ing all over the place. There are some sturdy routines from the freshmen but no obvious 9.9s, which means it will not be enough to rely on them. Shapiro will have to be more than a single-eventer. There won’t be room for a lack of contribution from any of the stars.

11. Denver – 195.650
12. Minnesota – 195.550
13. Arizona – 195.338
14. Kentucky – 195.325
15. Utah – 195.300
16. Central Michigan – 195.013
17. Maryland – 195.000
17. California – 195.000
19. NC State – 194.988
20. Southern Utah – 194.875
21. Ohio State – 194.800
22. West Virginia – 194.675
23. Oregon State – 194.488
24. Auburn – 194.438
25. BYU – 194.275

Utah @ UCLA Live Blog

Wait, college gymnastics live on television? What is this glamorous life I’m leading? Am I a movie star?

More please

I don’t know what to expect from this meet, which is the usual narrative for UCLA but slightly new territory for Utah. The Utes, especially without Delaney and Allex for the time being, are unusually patchy in some of these lineups. At the same time, they are still able to show more than six competition-ready routines on each event, so they are still ahead of UCLA, who put out six routines on each piece last week but really had five floor routines and 2.75 vaults. Fortunately, good, responsible Utah always gives us the lineups in advance.

UCLA lineups: (Note: UCLA lineups always change after warmups)
Vault: McDonald, Sawa, Pritchett, Courtney, Baer, Zamarripa
Bars: Francis, Courtney, De Jesus, Larson, Wong, Zamarripa
Beam: Baer, Larson, Courtney, De Jesus, Zamarripa, Francis
Floor: McDonald, Bynum, De Jesus, Pritchett, Zamarripa, Courtney

Is Bynum really any more ready to compete floor than she was last week? I’m not going to be happy with that floor lineup until Larson and Francis are in (so, never). Pritchett looked months away from being competition-ready on vault in exhibition last week, but then again so did Wong in her actual competition routine. Courtney is in on beam. Hitting is a victory. I’m disappointed to see wonderful Lichelle Wong on only one event, but she didn’t exactly earn her other spots last week.

Utah lineups:
Vault: Lofgren, Damianova, Del Priore, Dabritz, Lothrop, Wilson
Bars: Lofgren, Hughes, Damianova, Hansen, Lothrop, Dabritz
Beam: Wilson, Tutka, Hughes, Dabritz, Lothrop, Lofgren
Floor: Lofgren, Damianova, Wilson, Tutka, Lothrop, Dabritz

Red alert: that beam lineup. I’ll need to be proven wrong. It’s nice to see Hughes in on two events, though. Are we dealing with an injury for Lopez? I would have expected her on multiple events, otherwise. The first couple vaulters will have trouble scoring well, but they can certainly hit. That’s about the bars lineup I would expect except for Lopez being out. I’m pleased to see Dabritz in the AA. She needs to be there every meet and needs to be outscoring Lothrop on two to three events.

The meet begins promptly at 7:30 PT (10:30 ET), and is available on the Pac-12 network.

Notes here when the competition begins or just before. What does everyone expect from this meet?

Catching up on the end of Ohio State/Oregon State, which is on before the meet begins. This isn’t in HD, though. What is this, the 50s? Oregon State at least managed to avoid another disaster in this meet. When everyone’s really relieved about a 195.375 . . . Amanda Borden is pretending we don’t know the result until the final score.

Earlier in this meet Amanda Borden called a Yurchenko layout 1/2 a Yurchenko Arabian. Is that proper terminology? Doesn’t it need to have a half turn before a front salto to be an Arabian?

Soon to start now for UCLA and Utah. The routines will start only shortly after the coverage begins.

Introducing Peng at the beginning only makes us miss her more. Live college gymnastics in HD. Pac-12 Network, you’re my hero. Dozens of people are waiting for the meet to start. Amanda Borden’s preview amounted to “This is a gymnastics meet.”

Rotation 1: UCLA on vault, Utah on bars 
Val is looking stern and ready for TV. Good job, lady. Everyone’s all dressed up looking dapper in their suits.

McDonald – UCLA – VT – Yfull, good stick, unexpectedly strong, a little bent knees and not a ton of amplitude, but much better than last week. (9.875) It’s going to be a big scoring meet.

Lofgren – Utah – UB -I’d like a little more flight on the tkatchev, completely goes over on handstand on the low bar and has to come off. Flung DLO dismount with crazy EHH legs. Poor start.

Sawa – UCLA – VT – Let’s hope for better than last week – Better landing, hop back, not as strong as McDonald, but more flight than last week. (9.800)

Hughes – Utah – UB – good positions, line, and toe point. Hits bail hs well, they need her on this event like no one’s business, sticks tuck full dismount. That should go high-ish. I’d like more counter rotation on the tkatchev, ideally. (9.850)

MDLT – UCLA – VT – In for Pritchett, good. A little shuffle on the landing, but her usual 9.800-9.850 vault. Nice to see her in the lineup today. (9.825)

Damianova – Utah – UB – totally botches a kip cast handstand and came off. What happened there? She was going for a toe-on shaposh and missed her toe. Did she really need to come off? Maybe. Finishes up well but just a double back dismount. (9.225)

Courtney – UCLA – VT – Yes you did! Great amplitude and a stick. Should easily go 9.9. (9.900)

Hansen – Utah – UB – lover he toe point and stalder. Completely misses her jaeger. This is such an unexpected start for Utah. They don’t do this. Crazy legs in a cast up, Good tuck full. This looks like nerves more than lack of preparation.

Baer – UCLA – VT – Landing is good. Her block still has crazy legs and misses a little amplitude, but it should be a 9.825 or something. (9.875 – a touch high)

Lothrop – Utah – UB – piked jaeger, hit, a couple early short handstands, but this is the best orutine they’ve had, stuck DLO. They needed that. That’s what she brings to this team. (9.850)

Zam – UCLA – VT – 1/2 layout 1/2, pikes again and bounces out of it like crazy. Honestly should be the lowest score of the rotation, but who knows if it will happen. Variety is great, but they’re giving a lot away. (9.825)

Dabritz – Utah – UB – slightly past on the first ahndstand but fine, good jaeger, everything else is excellent, minor step on tuck full. Lothrop and Dabritz saved this. (9.875)

After 1 event:  UCLA 49.300 Utah 48.075

This is a different UCLA team in terms of landings than last week. They still aren’t there with the amplitude and distance, and they need to take a look at that Zamarripa situation, but they came to stick today, and that can make all the difference. Utah has to count two falls, and some of those mistakes were so uncharacteristic like Damianova just sort of flopping off after a missed foot. Dabritz, Lothrop, and Hughes will be the class of the lineup and showed it. They are missing Lopez’s 9.800.

Rotation 2: UCLA on bars, Utah on vault
Utah needs a recovery. The Lofgren and Damianova vaults will be crucial and need to be 9.800 to keep things in shape for the top women. UCLA needs to stay on course. I’m interested to see how De Jesus scores this week after last week’s creative scoring choice of 9.900.

Oh brother. Don’t ask basketball coaches to do commercials. That’s like rule #1.

Lofgren – Utah – VT – Yfull, short, low landing and lacks a little amplitude and distance. Not a huge vault. (9.700)

Francis – UCLA – UB – same problem as Damianova but didn’t come off, which also should have happened to Damianova. Big bounce forward after double pike dismount. Not a good routine, lots of breaks. Shame. (9.675)

Damianova – Utah – VT – Yfull, very nice, very little movement on landing. She pikes and flexes feet on this vault, but better than I’ve seen from her sometimes. (9.825)

Courtney – UCLA – UB – good shaposh, clean bail hs, step back on tuck full but she usually sticks. Would have been great other than that. Still Strong. (9.850)

Del Priore – Utah – VT -Good height, a little low but very minorly, hop back. Some bent knees in the air, should score similarly to Damianova. (9.850)

De Jesus – UCLA – UB – better first hs, crazy legs on her Gienger again and comes off. Francis will have to count. They started so well. Hits bail hs, had a lot of height on the tuck full but took a major step back. (9.300)

Amanda is pretending that UCLA is known for its level of consistency.

Dabritz – Utah – VT – beautiful Yfull, just a minor step back when saluting. Good direction, good toes, good amplitude. Well done.  (9.875)

Larson – UCLA – UB – It’s a must hit situation for Larson, which is a scary sentence. missed hs slightly on bail hs, tkatchev needs more amplitude as always, hop forward on DLO. Fine but not amazing. The handstands have improved. (9.875 – highish)

Lothrop – Utah – VT – Omelianchik, just slightly under but saves it with just a step back. She can do this vault better than that this year. That looked closer to last year. (9.800)

Wong – UCLA – UB -misses first hs, good jaeger, very precise bail hs, a little short on DLO and hop forward. Not nearly as strong as last week. This is a much more nervy rotation than it was last week. (9.900 – way high)

Wilson – Utah – VT – Great amplitude and a stuck landing, a bit better distance than last year, just minorly low in the chest when she lands. (9.900)

Zamarripa – UCLA – UB – handstands like Zam, lovely stalder that I live for, nothing wrong with this so far, stuck DLO. I’d take .05 for the leg break on the bail hs, but this will be in the 9.9s. Should be an 11 if Wong was a 9.9. (9.975) Career high-tying routine.

After 2: UCLA 98.575, Utah 97.325

Well, so much better from Utah on vault. There’s some improvement there from last year and aslo some room for improvement still from some. The landings were nice for a first meet. UCLA got some charity on that bars rotation because it was noticeably worse than last week. Still a 49.275 is strong. Zamarripa was lovely as always, but not quite 10 lovely. It will be all about beam for UCLA. They’re on pace for a 197 right now, but still . . . beam.

Peszek hopping around on that boot pretending to do warmups. That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.

This could be Utah’s strongest event, and beam is beam, so I expect some tightening of the margin, which is 1.250 right now and would need a counting fall to change entirely.

Baer – UCLA – BB – good switch side, hits side somi, popa is slightly under the full turn but no problem there and no wobble, just the dismount left, minor hop on the loso+full. Good hit to start. (9.775)

Lofgren – Utah – FX – double pike is strong to start, dance elements just a little under 180, bigger bounce outof the whip double full, rudi + loso with some sloppy legs and not a ton of power on that punch into the loso. (9.800)

Larson – UCLA – BB -lovely split position in mount, no wobbles on dance combo this week, hits aerial + bhs a little slow in the connection but should get credit, methodical but composed, gainer back pike dismount (which I don’t love) but executed well. (9.850)

Damianova – Utah – FX – good tight double tuck, back 1/5 + layout is strong, not much to deduct so far, she remembers to smile for a second, a little low in the double pike but fine. Strong. (9.850)

Courtney – UCLA – BB – huge wobble on her loso and grabs the beam, followed by wobbles. She didn’t need that major break because she looked right on line with the beam in the air. More wobbles on the punch front. This is the same as her first routine last season so far, extremely tentative. Double back is fine with a step forward. (9.525)

Wilson – Utah – FX – DLO is high but she bounces back and goes OOB (questionable but the flag went up, Tom isn’t happy and I think he has a point, she looked just in to me), minor stumble on the front full landing, another bounce out of the high double tuck. Not her best on those landings.(9.725)

De Jesus – UCLA – BB – major wobble on front aerial but hangs on, strong moving past that, she has refocused on the performance after the mistake, which will make her a Val favorite. Front hs + tuck 1.5 is not my favorite dismount (don’t really love the fhs), minor step. Overall a hit. Val is expressing exactly what I thought she would. (9.825)

Tutka – Utah – FX – good precise tuck full to start, she has put the most energy and confidence into the tumbling of the Utah gymnasts we’ve seen so far, needs to work on her horizontal leg on that wolf jump, sticks double tuck dismount. (9.850)

Zamarripa – UCLA – BB – going 5th to protect Francis in the last spot, her full turn is like water, minor wobble on onodi, again on the walkover, loso series is great. Val is right, she does give herself too much time to make mistakes. Sticks double full. I see high 9.8s in her future for that routine. (9.925 – slightly high for a routine with 2 clear, if minor, wobbles)

Lothrop – Utah – FX – a little low in her tuck full and a hop to the side, otherwise it’s a strong routine that should continue this 9.850 trend that Utah has gotten into on floor. They’ve fixed things after bars. (9.825)

Francis – UCLA – BB – needs to help drop that 9.525 and redeem after a wonky bars routine. Val is doing some talking and Danusia looks pertrified. Lovely dance elements with hit split positions, slow in the aerial bhs connection but will get credit, floppy leg in L turn but no wobble, dismount left, stick or near stick on the loso full dismount. Good hit overall. No low scores counting. (9.925)

Dabritz – Utah – FX – I could have done with her changing this music this year, very low landing on the pike full with the chest down. She’ll get there but that skill clearly needs a bit more time, nearly there on the 3/1 but had to readjust her feet after being slightly underrotated, which made it look worse. (9.775)

All of a sudden, UCLA gets a 49.300 on beam after those final two 9.925s. They need just a 49.125 to get the first 197 of the season. Still some questions in that floor lineup, though.

After 3 Rotations: UCLA 147.875, Utah 146.425

I don’t see any problems for Utah on floor. They need a little bit more time on some of those passes, but I expect this to be a 49.300 before long. It was 49.100 today. Tutka looked the most confident and farthest along. I love that Francis hit well for UCLA, but I don’t see Courtney staying in that lineup if Wong gets herself together.

Rotation 4: UCLA on floor, Utah on beam

Wilson – Utah – BB – two loso series, hits well, straddle 3/4 is on, she was doing well until the back pike and then came off on it. Amanda is disappointed that she came off on such an easy skill. Rough fall in the first routine. She was being a solid Jennifer Lauer before that. (9.275)

McDonald – UCLA – FX – music started before she was ready, Val stops the routine, a little low on double pike but good landing, I love that she has emerged as a competition performer on two events, some twisted legs on the second pass, dismounts with a strong rudi. Deductions on each pass but they were minor. Good hit to lead off.  (9.850)

Tutka – Utah – BB – hits loso series right on, minorly tentative on her side aerial but hits it with no wobble, was that supposed to be a gainer dismount or did she miss a foot? Funny angle on that one. Good landing, though. Important hit. (9.750)

Bynum – UCLA – FX – bounce out of double pike but she doesn’t go OOB. I don’t see this being in the lineup all season, and she needs to work a little bit more on her facial commitment, but she’s hitting so far, tuck double back is short but she stayed upright this week so it’s an improvement. They’ll probably still want to drop it. (9.800)

Hughes – Utah – BB – wobbles on loso series but saves it well, something flies off her hair mid-routine, good switch split + side aerial, a little rushed in some dance elements and not quite hitting the positions, but that’s the only problem. Minor hop on double full. This is very lineup. Great debut meet for her.  (9.800)

De Jesus – UCLA – FX – minorly short on double pike, I’m liking this choreography more each time, very short on the double tuck landing. That was always my worry, that the tumbling wouldn’t live up to the dance. No fall, though. Fine on the 1.5+layout with a minor stumble. Another hit, which is what they needed, but not great. If Bynum was 9.800, this should be the same. (9.875 – some UCLA scoring there)

 Dabritz – Utah – BB – perfect loso, same with side aerial, Amanda really likes her facial expression, leg form in the double full but stuck. We were unsure about her status as a beamer, but she has erased that uncertainty. Good routine that should be clearly the best score. (9.875)

Pritchett – UCLA – FX – the chest position on landing is getting better on that tuck full, or maybe I’m just getting nicer. I hope it’s the former because otherwise what kind of world is this? Just the dismount left, pretty strong double pike. This is still the kind of proficient but not awesome or memorable routine I would give a 9.850-9.875 because she hit it very well this time, but judging by the trend it will be way higher. (9.925)

Lothrop – Utah – BB – she is very consistent on beam, but I’d just like to see a little more amplitude in all skills, which would bring her into the 9.9s. Otherwise, she’s a solid 9.850. No wobbles so far. Small hop on the 1.5 dismount, great height on that one and I thought she would stick. (9.825)

Zam – UCLA – FX – She got a 9.975 last week, so let’s see. Better double pike, no problems there. Love this smile from her and love how much UCLA is reacting to the moment and embracing this meet atmosphere. This is the most comfortable I have seen Zam as a performer. Sticks rudi dismount. Confirms the 197, but lets do something about that vault. In no way should vault be Zam’s worst-scoring event of a meet. (9.950) Another 39.675 in the AA. Doesn’t she always do that?

Lofgren – Utah – BB – good side somi, very off on the loso series from the beginning but saves it with a major break in the hips, more wobbles, not Utah’s day but not a completely dire meet for the first time out. (9.600)

Courtney – UCLA – FX – She was brilliant last week, let’s see if she can match it. Perfect double Arabian again. It has improved since last season. No deductions through the first two passes. Not a huge fan of this choreography but whatever. A little low chest on the double tuck but no problem on the landing. We can talk about UCLA scoring certainly, but this was a thoroughly delightful performance through four events regardless of the score. This team will be exciting to watch all year. (9.950)

So, UCLA goes 49.550 on floor. I thought the treatment of De Jesus and Bynum was a bit soft, but this was an excellent rotation. Zamarripa is performing the best gymnastics of her career on three events.

Final Score: UCLA 197.425, Utah 195.300   

I’m not worried about Utah. This was a poor performance by their standards, but after bars it was perfectly acceptable for a first meet. I was surprised that the veterans were the ones who looked the most tentative on bars. UCLA was worlds better than they were last week, and we certainly saw that in the score. They have clearly been working those landings and will be the #1 team in the rankings next week, which I would not have picked after watching last week. It’s hard to say what this score would have been outside of UCLA, but it still would have been quite high, at least in the upper realms of 196. Some UCLA (obvious) freshmen are being utter freshmen in front of the camera. Please stop.

It’s still so surprising to me how nervous Vanessa gets when she’s on camera. It’s like she’s a different person.

Fun meet overall. I loved the live TV coverage and look forward to more of it. The much higher production quality than we get on the live streams gives a better sense of atmosphere for those who aren’t in attendance.  

Live Blog – Nebraska @ Michigan

The Michigan Wolverines come into their home opener on the heels of their highest score since April 15th, 2011. Part of the impressiveness of that performance was that Michigan succeeded in spite of a less than strong score on its purported best event, vault. The teams that competed in Cancun felt that the vault scoring was inaccurate. Traditionally, Michigan has the most realistic scoring in the nation, so this meet should be more telling. Usually the rule of thumb at Michigan is to add a tenth to the team score on each event to see what the score would have been at some more charitable locales that shall remain nameless.  

Also watch for the Wolverines on beam. At Cancun, they received competent performances from some who struggled last year on that apparatus. This week should give us more information as to whether this is a trend of improvement or a one off.

For Nebraska, I think we know what to expect from DeZiel, Wong, Giblin, and Schleppenbach as the season progresses (even if they are not up to form yet), so the fifth and sixth workers on each event will be crucial. Is there at least 9.800 potential there, or is there going to be a lot of withstanding early low scores this season. The Huskers should have more depth this year; let’s see if they show it today.

The meet begins at 4:00 ET/1:00 PT. Enjoy.

Video (for a price . . .)

Keep at least half an eye turned on Oklahoma/ASU as well. Video, Scores

Introductions now. Wow, it’s like Michigan actually has a full team or something.

Rotation 1: Michigan on vault and Nebraska on bars
Nearly ready to begin.

Colbert – Mich – VT – Good yfull, near stick, a little direction (9.800)

Blanske – Neb – UB – good bail hs, struggles a bit and has to take an extra circle, a little piked in a stuck DLO. A bit of a struggle in debut. (9.700)

Casanova – Mich – VT – she gets good air on her Yfull but a large bounce back (9.725)

Nathe – Neb – UB – good tkatchev, precise hs, big cowboy on her double front with a large bounce back. (9.750)

Zurales – Mich – VT – good distance on yfull, a little piking and a hop to the side. (9.800)

 J Lauer – Neb – UB – good tkatchev from her as well, a little rushed, flung out DLO with little amplitude and a lunge forward. They are losing probably .150 on these dismounts. (9.825)

Zakharia – Mich – VT – hs front pike half with a little hop in place. It’s difficult to land that vault with good chest position, so she may get docked for that, but it’s a good score. (9.775)

Wong – Neb – UB – lovely first hs, gienger to bail, goes a bit over on a hs but saves it, a little low on the tuck full with a hop. Started wonderfully but . .  (9.800)

Sampson – Mich – VT – lovely yfull with a hop back, best combination of direction and distance so far. (9.800) We can see the Michigan scoring a bit here. I would have gone 9.850.

DeZiel – Neb – UB – good piked jaeger, hitting hs, best tuck full so far. That can go 9.9s (9.875)

Sugiyama – Mich VT – a little bent legs on the 1.5 and a hop forward. (9.825)

Giblin – Neb – UB – lovely gienger with huge height, oooh misses a hand on transition but good fix, hits her tuck full quite well, but this will be getting those 9.9+s soon enough. (9.475) I assume this is the only time she’ll be dropped this year.

Austin Sheppard bails out of her vault on exhibition. Not sure what happened there.
After 1: Michigan 49.000, Nebraska 48.950

Michigan vaulted proficiently. The landings and landing positions aren’t there yet, so that’s keeping the scores down, but this rotation will be scoring higher quite soon. I don’t expect a couple of those early Nebraska bar routines to remain in the lineup, but DeZiel, Wong, and Giblin will be great soon enough. The dismounts aren’t there yet for those first few workers. The positive for Nebraska is that this year they actually have enough routines to play around with those lineups.

Rotation 2: Michigan on bars, Nebraska on vault

Stephens – Neb – VT – yfull, comes in a little low with a step forward. (9.775)

Zurales – Mich – UB – love a deltchev, hits bail hs well, hitting all these hs, a little crunched in her DLO landing with a step back. Very good start. (9.900)

J Lauer – Neb – VT – hilarious run face, very short on landing with a big step forward, one of the weaker we’ve seen so far. (9.675)

Williams – Mich – UB – jaeger with a little lack of amplitude, not as clean as Zurales, not nearly, fine form on DLO with a step back. (9.725)

Giblin – NEb – VT – minor step on her Yfull, a little piked in the air but overall good form and landing, best so far.

Gies – M – UB – great line, misses on hs after the tkatchev, a little late on her full before the double tuck, but cleanly done. (9.875)

Wong – N – VT – comes in low as well on her yfull with a hop forward. No one’s getting enough height yet. (9.750)

Sugiyama – M – UB -a little close on her gienger, solid pak, some of the hs are a little rushed, and sticks a very nice tuck full. (9.900)

Shcleppenbach – N – VT – by far the best one, amplitude distance and landing were excellent, stuck. (9.875)

Martinez – M – UB -miss her first hs, good bail hs, wonderful high tkatchev, stuck a beautiful DLO. Michigan is on. (9.850)

DeZiel – N – VT – very good height, not quite the distance as Schleppenbach, but just a minor step. (9.775)

Sampson – M – UB – great tkatchev, way over on her hs on bail hs but saves it, love the DLO full idea, but steps back and almost didn’t hold onto it. (9.825)

Miele is doing exhibition, a leg separation on her bail hs, great DLO dismount.

After 2: Michigan 98.350, Nebraska 97.900

No real problems for either team in this rotation. Aside from the final two, Nebraska didn’t have the amplitude on their vaults and so came in low on those landings and had to step forward on each. Schleppenbach looked very good and while DeZiel’s vault was probably .100 worse (so, consistency), I think 9.775 is a little harsh for that.

Michigan had some of the best bar routines I’ve seen so far this season. Zurales, Martinez, and Gies were my preferred routines, but we can clearly see how much farther along Michigan is on those dismounts. They weren’t giving away the .150 that a lot of the Nebraska gymnasts were. That’s to be expected with Nebraska being in the first meet of the season and Michigan being in the second.

Rotation 3: Michigan on beam, Nebraska on floor

Miele – M – BB – significant wobble after walkover, minor stumble on the popa, another wobble on the side aerial, hits her connection, front 1.5 dismount with good step. Nervy routine but fine start. (9.725, which Sarah Curtis tells us is a very good score)

J lauer – N – FX -good position on the double pike mount, 1.5 + layout, very low double back landing with a major step. Endurance may be an issue in this rotation. (9.750)

Sugiayma – M – BB – great amplitude on her loso, very low on her punch front and can’t stay on the beam, and she started so well. Nearly misses her double full dismount with a major step to the side. Needs to be dropped. (9.050)

Stephens – N – FX – strong double pike similar to Lauer to begin, but finishes with a better double back. I’m impressed by her today, after we saw nothing from her last year. (9.775)

Gies – M – BB – hits loso cleanly, strong aerial, little complexity in this routine but hit perfectly well. (9.825)

Giblin – N – FX – very low crunched landing on her double pike mount, nearly goes out on her double tuck but hits this one well, switch ring is not happening for me, improves on the tumbling as the routine goes, but her score won’t recover from the first pass. (9.725)

Martinez – M – BB – hits loso series, pretty significant wobble on her side aerial, minor stumble on the gainer full, otherwise strong. (9.875)

Schleppenbach – N – FX – nice height on her double pike but goes out, finishes with a minorly underrotated rudi, but this should be the highest score (at least before the OOB) (9.750)

Sampson – M – BB – a couple wobbles at the beginning, including on the sheep jump, side aerial is strong but the split after it is not hit, sticks a nice high double full dismount.  (9.850)

Deziel – N – FX – she is clearly farther along on all these events than a few of her teammates, rudi dismount is strong as well. The first one with no problems and should easily go into the 9.8s. (9.875)

Zurales – M – BB – best split positions on the team, very nice series, a minor check after the sheep jump, great height on the double full with a small hop in place. She is the class of the team on this event by far. (9.900)

Wong – N – FX – lovely triple full with a little lack of control to the side on landing but nothing real, great line as always, lots of rudi dismounts. You could criticize this rotation right now for a little lack of difficulty (nothing more than a double pike, lots of rudi dismounts), but the last two were very pleasant. (9.925)

Zakharia comes off of the beam early in exhibition

After 3: Michigan 147.525, Nebraska 146.975

Michigan did well to avoid hacing to count that Sugiyama score. Miele was very tentative and there are some split positions here and there that I’m not happy with, but otherwise it was a strong group. DeZiel and Wong saved Nebraska on floor with great scores for their best rotation yet. It’s difficult to tell which team will be better eventually (and beam will of course be crucial for Nebraska as always), but Michigan is clearly farther along in the preparation.

Checking in with Oklahoma, they had to use Sorensen on vault but were able to drop the score and put up a very nice 49.250 led by the 9.900 from Mooring. Good to see Erica Brewer back in the lineup there. Bars appears to have been a bit more of a struggle, nothing more than 9.825. After two events, Oklahoma is on pace for another mid-196 score with 98.200.The improvement on vault should be extremely encouraging.

In the fourth rotation, a good floor score should see Michigan easily eclipse the number from last week, and Nebraska is looking on pace for something like a 196. They need some new freshman beamers, though, so this event will be interesting to watch for them. My hit confidence is not sky high.

Rotation 4: Michigan on floor, Nebraska on beam

Blanske – N – BB – She’s one of these necessary freshmen I was mentioning. Huge wobble on series, but well done to her for not coming off. A little low on her punch front, minor wobble on some choreography, low double full with a major hop forward. Not a great routine at all but there’s potential. (9.525)

Beilstein – M – FX -2.5 looks better than it did at the preview,  I’m so glad she’s back, but it’s strange to see her leading off. She can go later, for sure, front double full dismount. Very nice in the tumbling overall. I was concerned about her doing so much  twisting but she has cleaned it up. (9.900)

Nathe – N – BB – huge wobble on the punch front mount, and another wobble on her bhs layout to two feet, good split positions here, I can see why they need her back. Definite deductions but few of them are built-in. Stuck 1.5. This will score well eventually. (9.800)

Colbert – M – FX – good punch to double back and steps out of it a little, stays in bounds, just layouts for the second pass, which I always think is too simple for this level, fine double pike dismount with a low chest. Won’t score as high as Beilstein did at all. (9.850)

DeZiel – N – BB – a little wobble on her walkover, I’d like to see more amplitude on her loso and some of these leaps, but it’s because I expect more from her than some others. She can do better than this, but very few definite errors and a strong 2.5 dismount. (9.850)

Gies – M – FX – big steps out of a double pike, I always like her floor work but she often hasn’t made the lineup, let’s see how she handles this dismount which was a problem at the preview, good 1.5 + layout. Nice hit. (9.800)

Giblin – N – BB – Yes, commentators, yes you did mis-identify this Nebraska gymnast as Jennifer Lauer. Strong side somi even though it pains me to say that about a side somi, hop out of 1.5 dismount. I’m encouraged overall by this Nebraska beam work.  (9.825)

Zakharia – M – FX – Barely gets that double front around but stays on her feet, won’t score that well because ot it, a little bit low on the double pike and a bounce out. Not quite there yet on the tumbling. (9.825)

J. Lauer – N – BB – hits a sheep jump, solid on her loso. If she continues to be this solid, she should continue her reliability from last year. Nothing majorly impressive as everything is sort of low to the beam, but she hits so solidly. (9.950 – she really did have few deductions at all in that routine, but I wasn’t blown away by anything and didn’t expect a 9.950 to come at all)

Sugiyama – M – FX -lovely high, contained double back, but just a double back to mount with. Low double pike to finish with a hop forward. Giving a little bit of the lead back on these routines. (9.875)

Wong – N – BB – great loso series, a little bit tentative in her leaps but good positions, big wobble on her switch side, had to swim a little to stay on, bounce back out of her double full. Lovely work. (9.900)

Sampson – M – FX – double full + loso mount, good height and I always love an loso combo, but it is strange to see just a double full on a mount, good high double pike with a major bounce back because of overrotation. Fine routine overall. (9.925)

Amanda Lauer does exhibition on beam and has the similar solid work to her sister, hop forward on the 1.5 dismount.

Final Score: Michigan 196.900, Nebraska 196.300

Scores went big in that final rotation, something I’m not used to seeing at Michigan. Really only a couple of vaults had the aura of traditional Michigan scoring, and the rest of the scoring went higher than I expected. Michigan defeats the current leaders LSU for the highest score of the weekend so far. Sampson just edges DeZiel and Wong by .025 to win the AA. Nebraska had four very solid routines at the end of that beam lineup, and that event looks healthier at least so far than it has in a few years.

Michigan should be thrilled by this result. There’s still an opportunity for some new people or some improvement on beam, and I don’t know that floor will always score that well, but this team should continue to be ranked in a high position all year. Nebraska starts with a great meet overall, considering the perfectly respectable score and the lack of landing readiness that we saw on vault and bars. They can be much better than this. 

Over in the state of Arizona, Oklahoma was able to drop a floor fall from Kmieciak and score another 49.225, to stay on pace. With the strength of beam still to come, this could go into the higher 196s.

Friday Scoring Blog – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Arkansas

Alabama v. Missouri at 7:30 ET
Florida v. LSU and Georgia v. Arkansas at 8:00 ET.

I’ve missed the beginning of the meet, so I don’t have the chance to set the stage or have thoughts about what I expect. Whatever. Alabama and Missouri are already underway.

Kim Jacob on bars for Alabama. Not quite there on any of her handstands yet, but otherwise this is a strong routine with a single step on the DLO dismount. It should be worth 9.850s before too long.

Clark is a little past on her first handstand and, like Jacob is missing her handstands mostly. This is normal for the first meet of the year. Good DLO to finish, I liked the flight.

The scoring has updated, Alabama begins with a 9.825 from Sledge (I thought she was supposed to be going later this year?) and a 9.750 from Alexin.

The quality of this stream is not my absolute best friend as there are a lot of audio and buffering problems, but I’ll give updates as I can. Low scores from Clark and Jacob, in the 9.7s. They are missing all of their handstands, so it’s difficult to score very high. I missed Demeo, but she gets a 9.900, so well done.

Priess is on a different level to the rest of the team on bars. Hits all handstands but one. I liked to see a bit tighter legs on the pak, and she took a sizable step on the DLO, so it won’t be a higher score than Demeo, but it will be. The score from Demeo is encouraging because this team needs three bars workers. Priess is one and Sledge can be another, but Demeo needs to fill that third spot.

Alabama goes 49.050 in the first rotation, leading Missouri by .425.

We have the lineups for Florida and LSU. Hunter, Johnson, and King are coming in for the AA for Florida as expected. Sloan is still not competing on floor. Ashanee is off beam, which is interesting but not entirely unexpected. I’d probably keep her over Stageberg, but I don’t think they’re sacrificing much if anything.

Alabama is getting ready on vault with Jacob. I’m interested to see how many of those potential Y1.5s we see. Jacob has a little bit of leg form and a large step back. Just sort of fine. Many form breaks on bars for Missouri from Ostad, so I don’t expect a counting score (at least ideally).

Clark does her Yfull well with a hop. From the angle, it looked like she might be missing amplitude, but I don’t think she was. It certainly didn’t show in the landing. Should score much better than Jacob’s 9.800 if that’s our starting standard. The second Missouri bars worker goes over on a handstand and comes off. Clark gets a 9.825, but her vault was more than .025 better than Jacob’s. Same problem again for Missouri and she just salutes. Rough days.

Beers goes for Alabama and unexpectedly does a Yurchenko back tuck. So this is the world. 9.425. Acting like they planned that? Conkle is much better from Missouri on bars. Sufficiently clean. Sledge vaults, great amplitude as always, a very little but low and some leg form and a step, but that makes it seem worse than it was. Good first meet vault. The judges are being sufficiently critical.

Over at LSU, Florida on a good track on bars led by another 9.900 from Hunter, matching her success from last week. Savona and Mathis have vaulted 9.850s, but LSU is already a touch behind.

Gutierrez does her Yfull. A bit more piked than it usually is with a sizable step back. Otherwise, it was her normal excellent vault.This will be a very low bars score for Missouri, but I can see the potential 9.8s later in the lineup.

Milliner is our only Y1.5 of the day (not surprising) and it looked bufferingly excellent. A stick with the usual knee bend. It would be a 9.950 at home, so let’s see what it is here. 9.925. Fair.

Once again, Florida had a big start on bars but didn’t capitalize. An unexpected fall from Caquatto is dropped (is this the first time she’s fallen on bars? I can’t remember another one). 9.9s from Morrison and Courville give LSU a .050 lead after the first rotation. Expect some big scores here all night long.

Low scores from Hires and Cheek on bars for Georgia. Lineups overall are very reminiscent of the first meet, except no Worley on beam according to these scores. Why, exactly?

Alabama looking on pace for an expected mid-196s for the meet, 98.225 after two rotations. Missouri will not be able to overcome that bars disaster. 

Arkansas has to bury Erin Freier at the end of vault (she probably shouldn’t be vaulting), but they drop the score and score 49.100, led by the 9.875 from Grable. They should be pleased with that start. Christa Tanella tied for the highest bars score for Georgia, which should tell us everything and more. 49.025.

Lauren Beers is debuting on floor for Alabama. This is one of her better events. A bit bouncy out of the first two landings, the switch ring is a real problem, and a lower double pike. Not a great routine but nothing to worry about.

Some wobbles everywhere from Missouri in the first few beam routines, but it’s much more proficient work than on bars from the first couple. You can at least see these routines scoring not terribly at some point. Clark goes on floor for Alabama and has similarly bouncy landings but a bit stronger routine than from Beers.

Florida takes a .150 lead over LSU after vaults of 9.900 from Dickerson and 9.950 from Hunter. Sounds about right. LSU avoids having to count a fall on bars this week (just the one from Wyrick), so victory! Both teams still around 197 pace after two events.

Brooke Parker has improved on floor. Good for her. That should be the highest score yet. Missouri looks to have about three to four competition-ready routines on each event right now, which is not enough even to get 195s. Jacob is moving up in the Alabama floor lineup, but that may be a result of several top workers not yet being ready. Good routine from her. I believe she is going to upgrade that mount at some point this season, at least allegedly.

Missouri just had a bhs loso series that wasn’t close. Second fall. We’re looking at a potential 192 here.

Georgia is going well on vault with a 9.900 from Cheek and a 9.875 from Rogers. Arkansas is struggling a little on bars, which we always knew would be a problem without Howdeshell and Pisani.

Demeo hits floor well and Missouri’s beam is like a Saw movie. Tough to start this way, especially with a lot to prove as a new SEC team. Milliner anchors floor (no Sledge, Gutierrez, or Priess because no seniors allowed), and she hits to confirm that Alabama will go easily over 49. That mid 196 pace looks solid as long as they hit beam. Is this Sims doing an exhibition? Nowhere close on the double pike, but they are grooming her to be lineup, that’s for sure.

Georgia hits another big vault score with 49.325. They have at least four who can go 9.9, so I expect this to be a trend all season. This is the best event for both Rogers and Jay (or should be). Arkansas can’t get above a 9.775 on bars and now has a deficit of over half a point.

Florida has started poorly on floor with a  9.675 and 9.700, all but giving the lead back in just a routine or two.

Okay all, have fun watching the rest of the scores or the torrent of buffering issuing from Missouri. I’ll probably update at the end of the night, and I’ll be back tomorrow at 4 ET/1 PT for Nebraska @ Michigan.

Big news of the day is that Florida has to count a fall on floor and loses to LSU. Florida would have broken 197 without the fall, but in the end its LSU 196.875, Florida 196.575. I’m interested to see how LSU fares on the road now after two strong home results.

Georgia finishes with a 196.200, which is an improvement with no counting of falls. Still too many low scores counting. Arkansas scores 195.775, which is not bad at all, but bars will be a problem all year I expect.

The Weekend Ahead — January 11th–14th

After the sparse, gradual introduction to the season last week, you should be ready for a packed weekend of meets, and that’s exactly what we have.

The first stop will be the 2013 introduction of the defending champions, Alabama at 7:30 E/4:30 P. It’s difficult to say what we’ll see from the debuting teams like Alabama, but it will be interesting to compare the opening meets from Alabama and Florida to see which team is starting quicker.

Not long after Alabama begins, there will be important scores to follow from Florida/LSU and Georgia/Arkansas. I’ll be popping in and out to follow each of these three SEC meets throughout the evening. Georgia and Arkansas will be particularly interesting because I think the Gymdogs will be the better team this year and should win, but some of those rotations last week didn’t fill me with the kind of enthusiasm I would need to feel confident about their victory. Arkansas started well last season, but do we feel a repeat? Later that evening, Ohio State visits Oregon State, which will be on the Pac-12 Network on tape delay, and I may try to catch up on that at some point. If you’re looking for free streaming options on Friday, your choice will be Maryland @ NC State.

Saturday is a big day right from the start. Oklahoma visits Arizona State and Nebraska visits Michigan, both at 4 E/1 P. I’ve already seen Oklahoma this season, so I’ll be live blogging the Nebraska/Michigan meet, but the Oklahoma meet will be streamed for free from the Pac-12 website. Later that evening, the piece de resistance is Utah @ UCLA, which will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network, and I will be live blogging that meet as well. It should be a grand old time. I give the slight edge to Utah right now because, even though both teams appear a little sparse, I have more confidence in Utah’s January preparation (and ability to have five vaulters). Unfortunately, for those who don’t receive the Pac-12 Network, I don’t believe you will have a way to watch that meet. 

Top 25 Schedule

Friday – 1/11/13
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Maryland @ [22] NC State
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [24] West Virginia @ Pitt
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [1] Alabama @ [21] Missouri
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [3] Florida @ [8] LSU
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [11] Georgia @ [12] Arkansas
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [25] Kentucky @ [13] Auburn
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [14] Ohio State @ [9] Oregon State

Saturday – 1/12/13
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [4] Oklahoma @ Arizona State
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [7] Nebraska @ [10] Michigan
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [16] Penn State @ Illinois-Chicago
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – [6] Stanford, [18] Illinois, San Jose State @ [19] Arizona
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [17] Washington @ [23] Minnesota
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Air Force @ [20] Denver
10:30 ET/7:30 PT – [5] Utah @ [2] UCLA

As for who takes the top score this weekend, there are many potential nominees. Michigan did well last weekend, but they will be at home where the big scores don’t fly. The big scores will fly at UCLA, but is either team ready to go that high? I’m not sold yet. I suppose I’m going to be boring at pick Florida because I see high 196s in them this week, but the dark horse for the top score will be Oklahoma. The team looks quite prepared, and I think they’ll improve from last week’s showing. Be sure to vote in the poll on the right.