By Rankings – The Balance Beam Situation

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With the bulk of the conference championships not until Saturday, I wanted to do some sort of team score comparison in the evening sessions of the three biggest competitions to illustrate strengths and weaknesses and what to expect tomorrow. Either way, this turned out to be boring and pointless (how’s that for self-promotion!) as there’s only one team in each that has largely topped the leaderboard and enters as a heavy digital favorite, even whether the actual circumstances should be more interesting than that.

So, uh, here:

Starting with the SEC Championship, with checkmarks for the team whose scores lead the group in each category.

It’s a little unusual to have a team consistently ahead of other SEC teams throughout the season, but that’s been the case for Florida this year, at least until the last two meetings. But the SEC doesn’t really do “non-controversial” and the predictions of a close encounter are supported by these recent ticks. LSU and Alabama have started to get strong, with LSU scoring the highest in the field in the most recent meeting and Alabama ranking second in the conference in the last three meetings despite coming in as the top seed. serial no. 4.

Also of note, even though LSU ranks second in the conference in overall NQS, each individual athlete’s NQS in each team’s potential rosters puts Auburn second and LSU third. Which is basically the “if everyone hits” ranking.

Florida comes in as the favorite, but you can build any of the other teams as the second favorite depending on… who you want to be the second favorite.

As for the Big Ten:

Beam questions are the one thing that haunts Michigan (and Minnesota) because Michigan State has its number in every beam category. So if there is a place that will undo the expected order of things in Big Tens. Minnesota is battered with a single notch tied with Michigan, but that largely reflects a season where Minnesota displayed strengths and weaknesses similar to Michigan’s, just a skosh behind in every regard.

As for the Pac-12, Utah boasts most of the prime real estate:

Like LSU in the SEC, it’s Cal taking the recency advantage after that big score in the home Finals that topped what Utah produced against LSU. We also see Oregon State popping up there on beam, maybe a surprise as Utah is the #1 ranked beam team in the country, but that’s largely a function from NQS. Utah has had five huge beam meets this season but countered that with four weak, most of which were on the road, so Utah’s beam count isn’t that strong.

(And then there’s the question of whether we should even treat this as a road encounter for Utah because… does that count as a road encounter if he’s 11 seconds away? But it is what it is.)

For the curious, if we add UCLA to the mix, UCLA would get a check mark, for last meeting score instead of Utah.

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