Throughout the 2011 college football season, we've bypassed the usual experts -- coaches, players and analysts -- and gone to a group that does as much game prep as any of those others. I'm talking about the officials.
As we did at midseason and prior to the conference title games, we went to the refs to get an on-field breakdown of the schools competing in this year's BCS bowls, from the Granddaddy Of Them All to the Orange Bowl. They were a little more opinionated than usual, perhaps because they don't have to worry about seeing these teams again. Rules prohibit officials from working bowls that include one of their conference's schools.
As was the case before, the men in black and white provided some solid insight. And as always, they also asked for anonymity. And what about the Game Of The Century: Episode II? We'll reveal the SEC zebras' scouting report for the BCS title game next week.
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Wisconsin Badgers analysis, from a Big Ten official: "It's been interesting watching Wisconsin evolve offensively this year. It's been a three-chapter book and the first and second acts were pretty much the same chapter. I have no idea if the stats will back this up, but having been on the field with them early in the year and again late in the season, that's how it has felt.
"They've never had a guy like Russell Wilson, so in September you could see them kind of tiptoeing into a game plan that was more opened up. Not a lot, but certainly more than anyone's ever seen out of Wisconsin before. By late October, they had really opened it up for him. Then as soon as they lost those two games in a row, it was like, 'Screw that, let's go back to what we know!' And that's when Montee Ball became a Heisman contender again.
"The key against Wisconsin is to keep it close. They only had three close games this year and lost two of them."
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