This is Big Game Week, the run-up to the yearly football game between Cal and Stanford. It's Good vs. Evil, Bears vs. Cardinal, Berkeley vs. Palo Alto, Public vs. Private, California University vs. Stansbury, Sean vs. Geetika & Omar. Though I may be touching off an internecine struggle in the apartment, I would like to hereby declare that Cal has by far the superior mascot to Stanford, and in fact, the greatest mascot in the whole Pac-10 Conference.
It's no secret that I love Oski, Cal's ursine mascot. I've worked with him on a few occasions, and he's always a professional, though not much of a talker. He does it all. The slow walk with his hands held behind his back. The fist pump. And, of course, doing shots through a tube running through the eye of the costume:
Let's take a look at Oski's competition:
Quite an original choice. After all, there's only 35, 40 other schools with that exact mascot. "Wildcats" is the name you end up with when you are too dumb or lazy to come up with your own idea. At the Arizona Wildcats video arcade, all the high scores read "AAA", and every VCR clock flashes 12:00.
In addition, the fearsome wildcat weighs in at 3-8 kilograms, a fearsome threaten to small birds and unattended saucers of milk all over the Pac 10. Still tougher than Stanford's mascot, however.
Arizona State Sun Devils:
Here's the origin story for the Arizona State mascot, via Wikipedia:
The nickname was said to have come from an article in the newspaper in which the writer said the quote "Lets call them Sun Devils," and the name eventually caught on the with the university.
Thrilling stuff! Of course, Hell is somewhat lacking when it comes to natural sunlight. With his sun-ravaged face and history of thuggish football programs, some would say new Head Coach Dennis Erickson is the true sun devil.
Who won the Trojan War? (Hint: Not the Trojans.)
For one, UCLA is merely copycatting Berkeley, as they have with their colors, their fight song, and the lack of decent Mexican restaurants in Westwood. Secondly, they've chosen "Bruin", an archaic name for bears that dates back to the medieval folktales about Reynard the Fox. In these stories, Bruin is a bear that gets repeatedly tricked by a fox, which is a good metaphor for Karl Dorrell's coaching style.
"Husky" is what you call jeans for fat little boys.
Washington State Cougars:
If you've ever spent time drinking in San Francisco's Marina District, you know that you need to be wary of cougars. From this name, we can assume that Pullman, WA is even worse. These 35-and-over women are on the prowl, and they're looking for younger men. Cougars are certainly intimidating, but in a slightly different way than you want your school's mascot to be.
Oregon State Beavers:
That's Donald Duck in the Fighting Ducks logo. He's the perfect symbol for Oregon. Donald has Uncle Scrooge; Oregon has Nike CEO Phil Knight, who also likes to swim in a bin of gold coins. In Donald's cartoons, he always gets off to a promising start before exploding into a fit of squawking anger. Oregon always starts strong before USC beats them, they get snubbed by the BCS, or their QB tears his ACL and gets replaced by Ryan Leaf's little brother, and the team implodes in a fit of squawking anger. Then they lose the Holiday Bowl.
Stanford's mascot is the worst of the bunch. It's a tree, ostensibly because the campus is in Palo Alto ("Tall tree"), itself a lazy name for a city. The mascot is a big goofy tree that jumps around and dances. Due to the shame of wearing the costume, many wearers drink heavily.
If your son or daughter had an imaginary friend like that - googly eyes, floppy branches, hangs out with a bunch of rich douchebags all the time - you'd yell at them and demand they come up with an imaginary friend who was less of a loser. The Tree comes out dead last in the Pac-10 by my analysis, and it doesn't fare much better in a fight: