Utah and UCLA — the Pac-12’s top gymnastics teams — will face off on national TV

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The University of Utah Red Rocks defeated Oregon State, 197.100 to 196.275, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Utah gymnastics coach Tom Farden is a stats guy, always paying attention to averages, scoring bonuses and tenths of deductions.

So when he saw the latest college rankings, he admits he shook his head at the improbabilities.

There were the Utes, settled into a tie for third with their Pac-12 rival UCLA with both teams averaging 197.01. It just so happens the teams compete Sunday in a meet televised by ESPN2.

“We’re over halfway through the season and you are calculating hundredths of tenths and it’s the two teams arguably the strongest in the Pac-12 and we are tied?” he asked. “I don’t know if ESPN keyed this up or how it worked, but it’s going to be an unbelievable meet.”

The rivals have a long history of big contests, with the Bruins winning four league titles and the Utes winning three. Sunday’s meet at UCLA shouldn’t be any different.

"It would only be an ounce bigger if we were tied for first or second,” Farden said.

However, if the Utes want to think about winning on rival ground they know they must perform better on the floor than they did in Saturday’s 197.1-196.275 win over Oregon State. The Utes had a great meet going until they had two falls and scored just 48.7 on floor.

Those mistakes prompted the Utes to characterize the win as a loss, noting it would have been a defeat against the elite teams.

With the meet against the Bruins approaching, is it time to panic about the floor lineup? The Utes are ranked just 12th on floor with a 49.225 average. In comparison, the Bruins are ranked No. 1 with a 49.536 average.

Farden said the coaching staff is looking at some adjustments to make with routines and the lineup but he still has confidence in his team.

“We have at least nine capable athletes on floor,” he said. “So we are deep, we just have to find the right combination of athletes and look at some minor adjustments.”

Missy Reinstadtler’s fall is concerning because she has yet to duplicate in meets on the floor what she can do in practice, Farden said.

But Cristal Isa’s fall was rare. Farden will consider making some changes in practice this week and expects a better showing against the Bruins. They will have to have one to be competitive, he knows.

Top 25 Rankings

Ranking Team Average

1. Oklahoma 197.859

2. Florida 197.688

3. Utah and UCLA 197.01

5. Denver 197.054

6. LSU 196.925

7. Minnesota 196.879

8. Alabama 196.825

9. Michigan 196.813

10. California 196.607

11. Georgia 196.589

12. Kentucky 196.5

13. Washington 196.429

14. Arkansas 196.214

15. BYU 196.196

16. Nebraska 196.154

17. Iowa St. 196.104

18. Missouri 195.961

19. SUU 195.925

20. Auburn 195.904

21. Oregon St. 195.836

22. Arizona 195.657

23. Illinois 195.45

24. Maryland 195.388

25. Stanford 195.361