The first few weeks of NQS rankings are always chaotic since many teams’ are distorted by one low score that they haven’t had a chance to drop. It’s often a road score; Southern Utah’s season was so front-loaded with home meets that it doesn’t even have three road scores yet, and several others are in similar albeit less severe predicaments.
To give you a better understanding of the field and help you to understand some of the big shifts that could be coming, we’ve crunched some numbers (OK, a LOT of numbers) and found out the teams that are capable of making the biggest ranking leaps after this weekend’s action.
The “Potential Rankings” listed in this article are the highest placement a team is mathematically possible to achieve in the week nine rankings. They’re a best case scenario in which the team in question gets a season high at its meet or meets and none of the teams above it also improve.
No. 11 Minnesota
Potential Ranking: No. 8
At this point last year Minnesota was ranked No. 25, so the Gophers being ranked in the top fifteen is thrilling in and of itself. Even more excitingly, their drop score this week is a full point lower than any score they received in February—so a big RQS improvement from Minnesota is not just a possibility but likely.
No. 15 Oregon State
Potential Ranking: No. 9
Oregon State’s potential ranking is a little optimistic since its season high is much higher than most of its other scores (and was created under fairly serious crack conditions). That said, the Beavers reliably score well at home and still have one home beam meltdown to drop, so their outlook is good this weekend.
No. 19 BYU
Potential Ranking: No. 13
BYU has a classic twofold RQS liability: It’s generally scored generously at home, but it also usually does better gymnastics there as well. The Cougars only have one road score that measures up to their three great home marks so far, but they have a chance to change that and make a move this week at George Washington.
No. 39 Central Michigan
Potential Ranking: No. 31
CMU seemed unfazed by the recent suspension of its head coach last weekend, putting up a season high and one of the highest scores in the MAC this year. The Chippewas currently have four home scores in their top six, so this weekend’s chance to replace a low road score will be welcome.
No. 41 Kent State
Potential Ranking: No. 28
The Flashes are on a hot streak, registering their top three scores of 2019 in the past two weekends, and they also have the wiggle room afforded by only having two home meets in the books. This weekend’s home match-up could boost their RQS by around eight tenths.
No. 46 Rutgers
Potential Ranking: No. 38
Like Oregon State, Rutgers currently has one amazing home score that it can’t count. Its drop score this week is also almost three points lower than its season high, so anything approaching that incredible meet three weeks ago will be a big boost for the Scarlet Knights.
No. 58 Air Force
Potential Ranking: No. 48
Air Force has been carrying one absolutely trash road score from a tri meet against two DIII opponents. The 188.200 is three and a half points below its next lowest score, and it’ll be a huge relief for the Falcons to be able to drop it this week—not to mention a ranking boon that could catapult it up USAG national qualifying standings.
No. 60 Pennsylvania
Potential Ranking: No. 52
It took the Quakers a few weeks at the beginning of 2019 to settle in and convert an influx of young talent into consistent lineup routines. They’ve also been at home for four weeks in a row, so they’re still counting two low scores from early January. That changes this week. They have a double meet weekend lined up in the Midwest, and even average performances will be enough to make a big difference.
No. 82 Southern Utah
Potential Ranking: No. 22
We saved the most obvious for last: Southern Utah stacked all its home meets into the first half of the season, so it heads into March with a huge amount of ranking potential but only two road scores. (Luckily, they’re pretty good ones.) Clearly dropping the zero is a win in itself, but the Thunderbirds have a high profile opponent this weekend in Nebraska and have the potential for a great result.
I didn’t have space or time to break down every team capable of a big move this week. Here are the other teams capable of jumping five or more spots:
- +7: Bowling Green, Pittsburgh, Western Michigan
- +6: Utah State, Northern Illinois, Maryland
- +5: Brown, Penn State, Eastern Michigan, Arizona, UC Davis, Arizona State, Lindenwood, George Washington.
Is your team on the list? Let us know in the comments!
Article by Rebecca Scally
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