It’s fun to watch rankings change every week, but they only tell us so much about the status of a team. Which teams are on the rise and which are barely hanging on? Which ones have a competitive ranking by the grace of their NQS drop scores and which will pose a real threat in postseason? I’ll dig into the real dynamics of NCAA gymnastics in this biweekly column that’s part power ranking, part high school yearbook awards—all serious analysis.
Just kidding, almost zero serious analysis.
So, last time I wrote one of these we were worrying about how the LIU team announcement took too long to come out and that the College Gymnastics fans are HERE! Facebook group was too messy. A lot has changed since March, but we still don’t know virtually anything about LIU and the Facebook group is still pretty freaking messy, so how different can things really be?
It’s hard to imagine a team more prepared for the bizarre 2021 season than Michigan. Despite a complete wobblefest of a beam rotation, the Wolverines enter the rankings this week just 0.013 behind defending champion Oklahoma. With massive difficulty and depth to spare, Michigan looks poised to fight with the top two teams all season.
On the Struggle Bus
This one isn’t a big secret. Oregon State had an absolute nightmare of a home opener, showing a total of zero postseason-relevant bar routines but also counting a fall on beam and struggling with floor landings. Some of these problems might work themselves out with time and a healthy bit of endurance work, but it’s hard to see others resolving in any way besides adding new routines to the lineups—and your guess is as good as mine regarding where those would come from.
Great Except for That One Event
Minnesota had a great opening meet, breaking 197.000 in the first weekend for only the third time in Big Ten history. That result included a really interesting turn on vault, in which Mya Hooten yeeted herself over the table and got a zero and then the Gophers inexplicably put up a Yurchenko layout in the six spot and were forced to count it. That won’t happen again? I think? I hope?
Why Is This Happening
The one year there’s no CyHawk meet scheduled, Iowa looks like a better team than Iowa State. The ONE year. If there are no CyHawk series points, what’s even the point???
(For what it’s worth, Iowa State also looks great. Maybe 2021 is just the year of state-of-Iowa supremacy.)
Do You Have a Seventh Routine
Got a couple questions about Oklahoma’s floor lineup, namely who is in it? And why? When you’re forced to dig uncomfortably deep into the backup options to replace literal beam specialist Carly Woodard… The vibes aren’t good, folks.
Next Week, I Swear
This is a silly category to use in the second week of the season (and I’ve skipped a couple other categories for this reason), but Maryland looked SO sharp in its season debut versus Penn State…with the exception of the two counted falls. Better luck next time? The Terps are an extraordinary team that just showed some nerves.
Won Twitter For The Week
I’ve been thinking about Clair Kaji being an emoji 24/7 since Iowa posted this GIF.
After a certain number of years of watching gymnastics, you don’t startle easily at bad landings or falls, but this one got me. I screamed at my TV a bit. Props to Belle Gottula’s legs and her preseason plyo work for surviving.
I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This, But…
JERQUAVIA HENDERSON GOT A TENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.
Fall of the Week
We had two really hilarious SEC beam falls in the first weekend, and I can’t decide which I should show you. So here’s both. Enjoy!
Article by Rebecca Scally
Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year!
Yes Yes and Yes. So on point.