My recollection is that the 2004 Wisconsin team never raced hard from the gun prior to nationals. They dominated Griak against a large, but not stacked field, the played around at the Jim Drews meet at UW-LaCrosse (top guys used it as a tempo run), sat in the pack for the first half of the Big Ten meet before putting the hammer down and crushing everybody and just ran to qualify at regionals. Despite the fact that Solinsky said that their long "tempos" were some of the hardest things he's ever done, I still think it's hard to go out from the gun for the first time at the NCAA meet regardless of the conditions of the course.
In 2005, the Badgers changed things up a bit. Some guys raced at Griak (I seem to recall some ran the first 3-4 miles and dropped out?), some guys raced the next week at Notre Dame and some more raced at Jim Drews (I think some guys still tempoed it and dropped out, but my memory is a little fuzzy?). The biggest difference was at the Big Ten meet on the tough course at Minnesota. The Badgers hammered from the gun! If I recall correctly , their entire squad was sub 2:50 at the K on a wet, cold day on a tough course! They went on to take 8 of the top 9 places with only Sean Jefferson breaking them up in 5th place. I was at the meet that day and it was an impressive performance! Total domination from the gun!The Badgers ran like they had something to prove! They then ran the regional just to qualify and then dominated at nationals!
I think the biggest change from 2004 to 2005 was that they actually raced hard at least once prior to nationals.