Buckeyes rain down on Big East

Ohio State's Will Allen either has been real busy over the holiday season or he just doesn't care much for the Big East Conference. With the Buckeyes (13-0) national championship confrontation against the top-ranked Hurricanes (12-0) in the Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 3, in Tempe, Arizona rapidly approaching Allen isn't hiding the way he feels about Miami's home conference. But the junior safety isn't alone.

Disappointed that the Buckeyes are close to two touchdown underdogs and are being given little, if any, chance of upsetting the Hurricanes on Friday, Allen and several of his teammates have taken to undermining the Big East and Miami's current 34-game winning streak.

"The Big East is basically all about Miami," said Allen. "I really don't mean to cut on the Big East but they have Temple and Rutgers in there."

Despite possessing five teams that finished with winning records this season, including two (Boston College and Pittsburgh) that have already scored bowl victories in the postseason, the Big East has been a constant subject of criticism as a football conference in recent years.

The Big East is 6-2 in their last eight bowl games and Pittsburgh, Boston College, West Virginia and Virginia Tech posted 9-win campaigns. Boston College defeated Toledo in the Motor City Bowl, while Pittsburgh pounded Oregon State in the Insight Bowl. West Virginia lost to Virginia in the Continental Tire Bowl.

"There are a lot of pushovers in the Big East," said Allen. "We play in the Big Ten, and there are no pushovers in the Big Ten."

Said Ohio State senior safety Mike Doss: "Nothing against Miami because I know they are the best team we're going to face but I think the Big Ten matches up very well. We don't have to many pushovers in our league."

The Buckeyes might be on to something.

The Big Ten had seven teams that qualified for the postseason, including the No. 2 ranked Buckeyes, No. 3 Iowa (11-1) and No. 10 Penn State (9-3). No. 11 Michigan (9-3) will play Florida in the Outback Bowl. Penn State will meet Auburn in the Capital One Bank Bowl. Purdue (6-6), Wisconsin (8-6) and Minnesota (7-5) also made the postseason.

The worst teams in the Big Ten (Northwestern and Indiana) both had three victories apiece, while last place Rutgers went 1-11 this season. Temple finished 4-8.

"We had a lot more quality teams than the Big East," said Allen.

There is a perception among the national media that none of the top-tier teams in the Big Ten would be able to stay with the Hurricanes because of the difference in speed. And that includes Iowa who did not play Ohio State this season. "We're not going to get into that," said UM center Brett Romberg. "We only have to wait a few more days."

Although they haven't lost a game since Sept. 9, 2000 (at Washington) the Hurricanes have sat back and watched their accomplishments rarely get noticed. Despite not making any public statements, the Hurricanes are upset because they only garnered one postseason individual award. "We're not making a big deal about it," says UM sophomore running back Willis McGahee. "We want the big award."

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