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.
I’ve gotta admit—and I’m sure some of you will agree with me—that I can’t actually be bothered to get excited for the regionals draw most years. We can project almost everything interesting from the final rankings after conference championships, right? It’s so classically 2021 that this is the year that the draw is actually surprising, and we don’t even get to be happy about the intrigue.
On the bright side, regionals was exhausting in 2019 because, if you recall, we had almost no upsets for the entire weekend. By the time something interesting FINALLY happened and Florida crashed out in the last of sixteen meets over three days, we were all too emotionally exhausted to process it like we normally would. Based on how the draw has panned out this year, I can’t imagine the results following the rankings quite so closely this time around.
Temple caught fire the last couple weeks and is getting better all the time, with a massive program record at EAGLs. Even better, the Owls won the title in their first year in the conference. Given that Temple hasn’t finished the season with a ranking better than No. 45 in the last two decades, the existing EAGL might not have thought this newcomer posed a major threat. Surprise!
On the Struggle Bus
We knew regionals qualification would be a bit odd this year given the altered NQS formula, but it was still tough to see two recent nationals qualifiers, Nebraska and Washington, fail to make regionals this year. Moreover, while Nebraska would have made regionals under the standard NQS calculation. Washington would have missed out by even more. 2021 hasn’t been easy for these two teams, and the way it ended leaves them with a lot to think about.
Great Except for That One Event
Geez, UCLA, what do we have to do to get a good beam rotation out of you guys? Pac-12s was going SO WELL. Maybe Norah Flatley will fix it, but I’m not optimistic.
Why Is This Happening
This is hardly news at this point, but what the HELL happened to poor N.C. State in the regionals draw? In my dream universe, this is the Wolfpack’s supervillain origin story.
Next Week, I Swear
For a team that has only put together two half-decent meets all year, Georgia’s potential is massive. My selection of Georgia for this category comes not just from a place of frustration with the Bulldogs’ results thus far but also from reasonable foresight: Georgia is both a team that is genuinely better at home and one that gets a substantial amount of assistance from home judges, and with regionals in Athens this weekend, we can be sure that all involved parties will be trying their best to get Georgia to nationals.
Won Twitter For The Week
Fall of the Week
I can’t choose between all the chaos in the first session of the Pac-12 championship.
Article by Rebecca Scally
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