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BTB Roundtable.

Buckeye Lane hosts the Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable this week.

1) With the Big Ten season about to be wrapped up, it is a little easier to predict what Bowl games are possible for your school. Tell me what Bowl games would interest you as a fan. Where do you want to go? More importantly, who do you want to play?
Fourteen years removed from our last bowl bid, I'm in no position to pick and choose. Of the Big Ten tie-ins, I would prefer any of the bowls that are actually south of Bloomington. I have a philosophical difference with the Big Ten concerning the Motor City Bowl. I don't know if it's in the best interest of a middle-of-pack Big Ten program to go to Detroit and risk losing a bowl to a MAC team. And no, I'm not tempting fate by dissing the MAC three days before IU plays Ball State. I respect the MAC. I love the MAC. I know the MAC is a good conference and that the champion always is a quality team. But in terms of recruiting perception, would you rather sell a program that lost to Mississippi in the Mobile Bowl or a program that lost to Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl? Still, given my circumstances this year, the Motor City Bowl is the only bowl I might be able to attend, so I'll take it either way.

2) In honor of Black Shoe Diaries’ question about the Big Ten Moron Coach of the Year Award. Tell me who is the most disappointing player in the Big Ten this season. Also, tell me who is the most disappointing on your team.

It may not be fair to pick on a freshman pressed into service unexpectedly, but Ryan Mallett hasn't looked all that impressive. He certainly has time, and wouldn't be the first great quarterback to look bad as a freshman, but in a non-trivial 102 attempts, Mallett has completed only 48 percent of his passes. For reference, Isiah Williams is completing 54 percent of his passes.

On the IU side, this has been a solid season so far, and no player has been a disappointment. I'm a little disappointed that Marcus Thigpen, who last season led the nation in kickoff returns with 30.1 yards per return and three TDs, hasn't taken one to the house yet. I don't consider Thigpen a disappointment, to be clear--return touchdowns are hit-and-miss. Hopefully he's saving one for the Bucket game.

3) Ohio State is rumored to be building a giant buckeye nut outside the football stadium. This will lead to the new tradition of "rubbing the nut." I’m sure Michigan fans will use that against us. I know it is pretty late to start new traditions in the Big Ten, but pitch me a new tradition idea for your school.

You serious, Clark? A big nut? The nut-head with arms and legs isn't enough? IU already has "The Rock" for pregame rubbing purposes. It may sound trite, but I would prefer to add winning games and filling the stadium as IU traditions before adding anything else.

BONUS ROUND- You are a big-fight promoter - Talk up your team’s mascot and how/why they could kick the living crap out of any opposing team’s mascot - inspired by Oregon’s mascot. Now you’re an agent - Convince me that you have the top 2008 NFL Draft pick on your team.

Ah, the mascot question. IU doesn't have one, of course. We used to, for a short while, but he was widely ridiculed and retired quickly. Meet "Hoosier Pride," whose head still lurks somewhere in the basement of Assembly Hall:

IU also has used a white bison as a mascot at times. A few years ago, when IU commissioned an expensive study concerning "identity" (a study that did produce some logo and color uniformity), there was talk of a new mascot. The best side effect of that story was that Andy Katz, not realizing the difference between a "nickname" and a "mascot," reported that IU was going to replace the "Hoosiers" name. But I digress. To the extent that IU has a mascot, it's "The Rock."

Whatever you might think of this tradition, a three ton hunk of Indiana limestone could kick anything's ass.
As for the 2008 NFL Draft, James Hardy, a 6-7 reciever with blazing speed, basketball experience, good hands, and a mean streak. I'm as confident of Hardy's success as I am of any other potential draftee from the Big Ten.