This isn't exactly the best time to be bugging the men in black and white for opinions. A normally quiet group has found itself in the midst of some very high-profile feuds. First, Pac-12 officiating consultant (and Fox Sports analyst) Mike Pereira called out ESPN analyst Jon Gruden; then, we had the rarest of all officiating occurrences, when ACC coordinator Doug Rhodes publicly questioned the Pac-12 crew in the Sugar Bowl for overturning a would-be Virginia Tech Hokies TD.
Luckily, here at the Zebra Report, we started asking officials for BCS team scouting reports before all Hades broke loose. All season long we've sought the insight of the only people actually allowed on the field with the teams, and the refs' takes have been pretty spot-on. Last week they gave an inside look at the first four BCS bowls.
Now it's time to go to the whistle well one more time for an on-the-field look at the national title contenders. As always, the refs asked for anonymity. You certainly can't blame them. If we've learned anything over the last week, it's that officials are best when they go unnoticed.
SEC umpire: "From where I line up, right square in the middle of the defense, I have a real appreciation of two aspects of every offense. First is team speed. How fast are they coming at me? Second is the overall push at the line of scrimmage. I've seen LSU in person a couple of times this year and they just overwhelm defenses up front.
"That's how they get away with having what amounts to interchangeable skill people, using all those different running backs and two quarterbacks. That line doesn't give a damn who is lining up behind them. They are coached up and know that if they take care of business, everything else will take care of itself.
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