February 8, 2016

Week 5 Rankings + Notes

Oklahoma takes over the #1 ranking this week. That seemed unlikely heading in, but the Sooners managed to pour some 197.9 all over the NCAA as Chayse Capps suddenly became the most important all-arounder in your life, while Florida had a late-meet nasty and lost to Georgia. Georgia. With Georgia beam.

Our regal 10.000 of the week comes courtesy of Capps, because of course it does. Finally. You can see the video of her beam 10 on Aunt Flo, but it's behind the iron subscription curtain. So otherwise, just imagine every other beam routine you've seen Chayse Capps do, and it's that. Just a 10 this time. And with a walkover to scale.

In other big routine news, NastiaFan101 posted Sophina the diva's floor routine and got it trending all over faceplace and the information superhighway. Hero's work. It's almost like social media is a tool that can be used to attract attention to the sport, or something. Teams should definitely continue not taking advantage of that at all and waiting for fans to do the work for them.

Love. Exciting. Beautiful. Fun and crowd-pleasing without being a joke. Though it will be interesting to see what it scores away from home given factors like whatever is happening after that switch ring. Or, knowing UCLA and the health situation and the Sophina being in the floor lineup situation, we'll never see this routine ever again. RIP, Hallie Mossett's feet.

This is why it has been frustrating to spend three seasons watching Sophina actively not making the floor lineup. Because she's capable of this. Her performance elevates the lineup, and when we have DeJesus and Mossett going at the same time (ever?), it will start to feel like a classic, thrilling UCLA floor rotation of years ago. Even Cipra, whose routine is not my taste, moves quite well and performs with style. It's encouraging to see that this year for a team that, especially in the couple seasons post-McCullough and EHH, had to keep the best dancers out of the lineup in favor of tumblers who could get the scores but didn't really want to have to dance about it, when it was all Pritchett and Courtney and Zam. (Stop freaking out, I love the Zam, but she never really looked thrilled at the idea of doing these routines.)

Week 5 rankings
1. Oklahoma –197.393
Week 5 A: 197.925
Week 5 A leaders: AA - Capps 39.775; VT - Scaman 9.925; UB - Capps, Kmieciak 9.900; BB - Capps 10.000; FX - Capps 9.975

Week 5 B: 197.900
Week 5 B leaders: AA - Capps 39.625; VT - Jackson 9.950; UB - Wofford 9.950; BB - Capps 9.950; FX - Scaman 9.950

2. Florida – 197.220
Week 5: 196.350
Week 5 leaders: AA - Sloan 39.150; VT - McMurtry 9.900; UB - McMurtry 9.925; BB - Sloan 9.875; FX - Baker 9.925

3. Michigan – 196.860
Week 5: Monday meet

4. Alabama – 196.842
Week 5: 196.775
Week 5 leaders: AA - Bailey 39.450; VT - Beers 9.950; UB - Brannan 9.925; BB - Bailey, McNeer 9.875; FX - Bailey, Sims, Valentin 9.850

5. LSU – 196.705
Week 5: 197.425
Week 5 leaders: AA - Hambrick 39.625; VT - Everyone 9.875; UB - Hambrick 9.925; BB - Hambrick, Finnegan 9.925; FX - Gnat, Hambrick, Wyrick 9.900

6. Utah – 196.650
Week 5: 197.075
Week 5 leaders: AA - Partyka 39.450; VT - Partyka 9.875; UB - Lopez 9.925; BB - Stover 9.900; FX - Schwab 9.950

7. UCLA – 196.510
Week 5: 197.100
Week 5 leaders: AA - None; VT - Bynum, Preston 9.850; UB - Mossett 9.900; BB - Lee 9.925; FX - Cipra 9.975

8. Auburn – 196.204
Week 5: 196.825
Week 5 leaders: AA - Atkinson 39.575; VT - Atkinson 9.900; UB - Atkinson, Krippner 9.875; BB - Atkinson 9.875; Atkinson, Kluz, Rott 9.925

9. Arkansas – 196.200
Week 5: 196.150
Week 5 leaders: AA - Wellick 39.350; VT - Wellick 9.850; UB - Zaziski, Freier 9.875; BB - Wellick 9.850; FX - Wellick 9.825

10. Boise State – 196.194
Week 5: 196.250
Week 5 leaders: AA - Remme 39.325; VT - Bennion, Bir 9.825; UB - Jacobsen 9.875; BB - Remme 9.875; FX - Krentz 9.925

February 6, 2016

Saturday Live Blog – Utah @ UCLA

Pac-12 Net
4:00 ET/1:00 PT

Ah, Utah and UCLA. One of my favorites. The unfortunate aspect of this rivalry over the last three seasons has been the road team throwing up an utter catastrophe on bars in the first rotation, deciding the meet and dulling any kind of competitive excitement after about three minutes of gymnastics before anyone has time to get interested. This is supposed be a close, back-and-forth affair (it's Utah and UCLA), but we haven't had that for a while, so...here's hoping. No one is allowed to have a catastrophe until at least beam.

Today's pre-meet discussion topic is Angi Cipra's floor routine, which now that we've seen it four or five times, is taking on a new identity where the theme is the continued emotional bullying of Angi Cipra. Why do people keep hanging up on her so much? Prank calls are just mean, you guys. Does she have no friends? Do we have a clique problem at this school? She keeps being like, "Who's calling me?????" and every time the whole team is like, "I don't know..." Dicks. Don't worry, Angi. It gets better.

February 5, 2016

Friday Live Blog – The Cult of SEC Scoring

Friday, February 5
6:30 ET/3:30 PT – Central Michigan @ Eastern Michigan - SCORES - ESPN3
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Florida @ Georgia - SCORES - SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Winona State @ UW-La Crosse - Stream
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – West Virginia @ Iowa State - SCORES
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Stout @ Hamline
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Oklahoma, Auburn, Illinois State @ Texas Woman’s - SCORES - FLOG
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO, Lindenwood @ Missouri - SCORES - SECN
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Kentucky @ Alabama - SCORES - SECN
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Arkansas @ LSU - SCORES - SECN
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Boise State @ Southern Utah - SCORES - Stream
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – San Jose State @ UC Davis - SCORES
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Seattle Pacific @ Sacramento State - SCORES - Stream

Another Friday, another batch of exciting SEC meets. The real question is, now that the 10s have started flying again, who's getting the first 10 of the Florida/Georgia meet: Brandie Jay on vault or Bridget Sloan on bars? Or will Sloan beat the odds and get a pre-meet 10 for just being so great.

February 4, 2016

The Weekend Plans – February 5-8

After this weekend, a number of teams will be halfway done with their regular-season schedules. Why yes, we did just start this two seconds ago. 

Top 25 schedule
Friday, February 5
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – [1] Florida @ [11] Georgia
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – [23] West Virginia @ Iowa State
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – [2] Oklahoma, [10] Auburn, Illinois State @ Texas Woman’s
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – SEMO, Lindenwood @ [16] Missouri
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [25] Kentucky @ [4] Alabama
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – [8] Arkansas @ [6] LSU
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – [9] Boise State @ [24] Southern Utah

Saturday, February 6
4:00 ET/1:00 PT – [7] Utah @ [5] UCLA
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [19] Illinois @ [18] Minnesota
5:00 ET/2:00 PT – [14] Nebraska @ Iowa
8:00 ET/5:00 PT – Utah State @ [13] Denver

Sunday, February 7
1:00 ET/10:00 PT – Towson, Bridgeport, Brown @ [22] New Hampshire
2:00 ET/11:00 PT – [17] George Washington, Northern Illinois @ Kent State
3:00 ET/12:00 PT – [23] West Virginia @ [2] Oklahoma

Monday, February 8
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Maryland, Eastern Michigan @ [3] Michigan
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Arizona State @ [12] Stanford
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [15] Oregon State @ Washington
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – [20] Arizona @ [21] Cal

Live blogging
Friday and Saturday. On Friday, my focus will be Florida/Georgia, the TWU meet featuring Oklahoma and Auburn, and Arkansas/LSU, with perhaps brief check-ins with Kentucky/Arkansas. Saturday is all about the Utah/UCLA rivalry. Also on Sunday, check your cable options if that's your kind of thing because Oklahoma's second meet of the weekend will once again be broadcast on some really random networks. Otherwise, just spend the day making fun of handegg like a normal.

-Coming off the pile of gold doubloons falling from the ceiling that was Florida's meet last Friday, it's hard to envision any kind of drop in quality coming into the Georgia meet. The Gators will be major favorites against the have-we-stopped-reeling-yet Gymdogs. As the road team, however, Florida may be hit with a reality stick this time around as to what scores they're really earning for hit routines. Because Georgia has never exhibited crazy scoring. Never ever. I don't know what you're talking about. 

If Georgia is to pull off the upset, it will probably take Florida counting a mistake, but it will also take winning vault. That's the one event where Georgia may find an opening. While Florida displayed much-improved landings over the weekend, and Georgia the opposite, Georgia has a touch superior difficulty and the real capability to stick for 49.5s, especially at home, which not that many teams have. If Florida's vault landings return to mid-January level, Georgia could gain some very valuable early tenths.

Of course, we can't go much further without talking about Georgia's beam. It's the all-important factor that will decide whether this meet is even in the vicinity of close. Last weekend, The Gymdogs graduated to just one fall, which was a laudable achievement, but they must take the next step and actually hit six whole routines this time. That's the short-term goal, but one that's immediately necessary with a tough opponent like Florida. The long-term goal, which could be decisive when evaluating postseason aspirations, is not just getting six hit routines but getting them from the six highest-potential scorers. Keep watching the lineup members and order. If Georgia is forced to compromise too much scoring potential in order to get a hit rotation, by removing pretties or moving top workers to early spots (my most loathed of strategies), that's almost as bad as having a fall. 

As for the other events, Georgia has impressed so far on bars and floor. This was the least terrifying January floor performance of the Durante era, and bars looks much stronger than I thought it would based on preseason showings, with a particular gold star to Gracie Cherrey for cleaning up her DLO so dramatically in a short period of time. The question going forward for Georgia on bars will be Brandie Jay's dismount. She's capable of a big score on bars but doesn't have the most pristine form or handstands in the world. Couple that with a DLO 1/1, difficult to stick and maintain body shape, and she's always on the verge of getting dropped down to 9.800, a score that looks comparatively harsh against the rabble of much less inspiring 9.800s that we see all over the place. The team needs a 9.900 from Jay pretty much every time, so when will be the time to introduce a more cynical, simpler dismount so that she can join the ranks of stuck dismounts on this team? The Gators have more of those likely 9.9s, even for Piked Giant McGee, which will give them the bars edge.

On floor, I still think Florida is suffering from a case of the half-a-lineups, in spite of the score last weekend, but the big routines from Baker and friends will likely overshadow what Georgia has to offer. That's why vault is so important for the GymDawwwwwwwwwgs. I added extra w's because I can't take it seriously. 

February 1, 2016

Week 4 Rankings + Notes

That Florida gymnastics isn't marketing a shirt that says, "On Fridays, we get 10s" is ludicrous. Verging on lyyyyyudicrous. Florida's meet was the closest to a postseason-level performance we've seen so far this year (closest, but not there by any means), and now the Gators lead the rankings by a big, heaping margin this week with that 687.900 (because of Florida at home), highlighted by a "yeah, I'm down with that" 10.000 for Bridget Sloan on beam, a "squint...but also that Dos Santos" 10.000 for Kennedy Baker on floor, and a "Bahahahaha" 10.000 for Alex McMurtry on bars. At least she has a same-bar release this year.

Kathy is not OK with these piked giants. The judges are. The interesting thing is that McMurtry gets a heaping load of side-eye for this bars routine every time because she gets such high scores, but if she were going, say, 2nd or 3rd in the lineup and getting a 9.850 for this routine, we would be standing up and applauding for how much she has improved on bars from her Level 10 career, when she was getting 8s for hit routines. Compare her 10.000 to this routine from the Nastia in 2013, which scored 8.925, uninspiring even by JO scoring standards. Improvements, clearly.

But let's be honest, the biggest difference between 2013 and 2016 is going 6th in a Florida lineup. Many of the factors that got her an 8.925 remain, hence the saltiness about this 10.

And now Baker and Sloan.

Kennedy Baker is like, "This is the seventh-best floor routine I've done at Florida, and this is the 10?"

To the rankings!

Week 4 rankings

1. Florida – 197.438
Week 4: 198.175
Week 4 leaders: AA - Sloan 39.775; VT - Boren, Baker 9.950; UB - McMurtry 10.000; BB - Sloan 10.000; FX - Baker 10.000

2. Oklahoma – 197.185
Week 4: 197.550
Week 4 leaders: AA - Capps 39.575; VT - Jones 9.900; UB - Wofford 9.950; BB - Capps 9.900; FX - Jones 9.950

3. Michigan – 196.860
Week 4: 196.550
Week 4 leaders: AA - Karas 39.525; VT - Karas, Chriarelli, Sheppard 9.850; UB - Brown 9.875; BB - Brown, Karas 9.875; FX - Artz 9.975

4. Alabama – 196.855
Week 4: 197.525
Week 4 leaders: AA - Beers 39.650; VT - Beers 9.900; UB - Beers 9.925; BB - Sims 9.975; FX - Winston 9.925

5. UCLA – 196.758
Week 4: Monday meet

6. LSU – 196.525
Week 4: 196.750
Week 4 leaders: AA - Gnat 39.500; VT - Gnat 10.000; UB - Finnegan, Zamardi 9.900; BB - Gnat 9.925; FX - Gnat, Finnegan 9.900

7. Utah – 196.342 
Week 4: Monday meet

8. Arkansas – 196.210
Week 4: 196.600
Week 4 leaders: AA - Wellick 39.500; VT - Wellick 9.900; UB - Wellick, Speed 9.850; BB - Wellick, Nelson 9.850; FX - Nelson 9.925

9. Boise State – 196.175
Week 4: 196.400
Week 4 leaders: AA - Collantes 39.475; VT - Stockwell 9.850; UB - Jacobsen 9.950; BB - Everyone 9.825; FX - Collantes, Krentz 9.950

10. Auburn – 196.080
Week 4: 195.975
Week 4 leaders: AA - Atkinson 39.400; VT - Rott 9.900; UB - Milliet, Engler 9.875; BB - Demers 9.850; FX - Atkinson 9.900

January 30, 2016

Metroplex Live Blog

It's Metroplex! 8:00 ET/5:00 PT, streamed on Aunt Flogymnastics for those who have signed up for the arm-and-a-leg subscription. For those who haven't, let me be your guide. There are no windows and no doors.

Five teams compete tonight (Oklahoma, LSU, Stanford, Missouri, Washington) because nothing says compelling entertainment like a bye. If there's one thing sports fans love, it's when their favorite team just leaves for a while. They go crazy for it.

Obviously, the judges will have viewed the excessively baroque scoring from the Florida meet last night as a challenge. Do I hear four 10s per team? Everyone is a perfect star! Who wants a juice box and a hug?

January 29, 2016

Friday Live Blog – [5] Alabama @ [1] Florida; Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia's Crazy Beam

Friday, January 29
6:00 ET/3:00 PT – Temple, Ursinus, Centenary @ West Chester
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Alabama @ Florida - SCORES - SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Michigan @ Nebraska - SCORES - BTN2Go($)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Georgia @ Kentucky - SCORES - SECN
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Illinois @ Penn State - SCORES - Stream(free)
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Hamline @ UW-Eau Claire
7:00 ET/4:00 PT – Gustavus Adolphus @ UW-Stout - SCORES - Stream
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – NC State, Lindenwood @ Iowa State - SCORES
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – UW-Whitewater @ SEMO - SCORES
7:30 ET/4:30 PT – Winona State @ UW-La Crosse
8:30 ET/5:30 PT – Auburn @ Arkansas- SCORES - SECN
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – BYU @ Boise State
9:00 ET/6:00 PT – Southern Utah @ Utah State - SCORES - Stream
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – Texas Woman’s, William & Mary, Seattle Pacific @ San Jose State - SCORES
10:00 ET/7:00 PT – UC Davis @ Sacramento State

Alabama and Florida. We're not goin' for no city championships.