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 RQS 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.
Rankings switched to NQS this week, albeit with a modified score calculation procedure for the pandemic, and with that change came (for me, at least) a sudden realization that we’re about to see SO many program record NQS announcements. It’s almost too easy when you get to count your high score. Are you looking forward to that? I’m not!
I have to be fully honest here: I did not anticipate Arizona State being good this year, and my skepticism on that front will go down as one of my coldest takes of all time because Arizona State is so good. Can’t win ‘em all, unless apparently you’re Arizona State in 2021.
On the Struggle Bus
BTN+ streams have always been the absolute freaking worst. They were actually higher quality when they were hosted by Flo. They often don’t start until 10 or more minutes into the scheduled meet time, they regularly miss routines even in dual meets and the quality of commentary is some of the worst in the country. But NCAA gymnastics’ most cursed streaming platform outdid itself this week when it ended a stream too early and failed to show the final, decisive routine of a very close and tense Big Five meet. You can’t just DO that.
Great Except for That One Event
It feels disingenuous to mention Michigan’s high-profile bomb on floor last week that was very likely a fluke and also entirely inconsequential for a team that already has two great home scores for NQS. But… that was a major and very high-profile miss, and most pertinently to this particular category, a disappointing one on a day where the other three events were pretty much 198 pace.
Why Is This Happening
How does Michigan State have THIS much COVID? Surely everyone who could be exposed by a teammate has been exposed by a teammate…right?
I realize that there are non-gymnastics reasons for the way the discourse is panning out here, but we definitely haven’t come to terms yet with just how excellent Alabama is this year. I could very, very easily see the Tide making the final four in 2021.
Next Week, I Swear
Southern Utah can play with the big boys in the rankings with one more good (read: high 196) road score. Last week was a frustrating missed opportunity exacerbated by the mystery absence of Hannah Nipp, which I’ll be seething about for the foreseeable future.
Won Twitter For The Week
I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This, But…
If you’re not proud of your team’s readiness for its meet this year, you cannot just pretend the meet is not happening. It will only make us more obsessed with tracking down details, I swear. We’ll be refreshing your schedule hourly for a scoresheet. Plus, not having even a live score in the year of our Lord* 2021 is incredibly embarrassing. Even more embarrassing than getting a 133 (which shouldn’t even be embarrassing; you’re competing during a pandemic, we get it).
*Meaning Aliya, of course.
Fall(ish) of the Week
I’ve posted this once before, but it’s audible screaming material, and you deserve to audibly scream too.
Article by Rebecca Scally
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