Cal Mascot Oski (via PAC12GO)
NorCalNick shares some thoughts:
Why do I like Oski? Because he's different. Here's the thing: Most mascots are one of two things: Boring, or trying too hard*. Mostly boring. Just within the Pac-12 alone, here is a list of generic mascots:
*By trying too hard, I mean in terms of absurdity and irreverence (hellooooooo Stanford) or pomp and circumstance (hellooooooo USC).
I don't mean generic in the sense that the mascots themselves are generic, although Arizona and Washington State have fallen into the different-name-for-the-same-cat chasm. I mean the costumes. Every school listed above evidently decided that they were just going to put a guy in a boring, bipedal animal costume and then make him wear a football jersey. Most Pac-12 mascots are full-kit wankers.
No, Oski aspires to more. He has class. He wears a cardigan and trousers. While most other mascots act like capering circus clowns or adrenalin-addled über-jocks, Oski calmly strolls around the field, always friendly, always smiling.
One might argue, then, that Oski is boring. Why isn't he doing lazy knee push-ups every touchdown, like some mascots, or constantly twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom, or generally making a ruckus? Because Oski knows how to pick his spots. Oski paces himself. And when called upon, when our need is dire, Oski is there. There to beat down the tree. There to shotgun a bear through a straw in his eye. There to throw a cake at Gary Payton's mom. You know the famous John Wooden quote: ‘Don't mistake activity for achievement?' He coined it after comparing Oski with other, lesser mascots.
Frankly, Oski doesn't feel like a mascot. He feels like another classmate or alum. I'd feel weird sitting next to Wilbur the Wildcat at a bar. But Oski? We could sit right down and reminisce together about our crazy mutual friend from the dorms freshman year or the incredible basketball game against Stanford. Oski is the eternal sophomore, after all. And although you'll have to carry most of the conversation, he's fully capable of getting his point across non-verbally.
Here's to Oski, the best mascot in the Pac-12 that isn't a real live friggin' Buffalo running around the field.
(11) Steve Rivera
Steve Rivera held Cal's all-time leading receiving mark with 138 receptions for sixteen years (until the record was broken by Brian Treggs in 1991) and was the first Golden Bear to earn consensus All-America honors at wide receiver.
In his senior year, Rivera hauled in 57 catches, at that time the most ever by a Cal player in a single-season. Rivera and teammate Wesley Walker were perfect complements: While Rivera lacked Walker's blazing speed he more than made up for it with sticky fingers and an elusive quality in the open field. Over his career Rivera had five games of more than 100 yards receiving, and he averaged 15.1 yards per reception.
Rivera's biggest day as a Bear came in his junior season against Stanford, when he totaled 205 yards receiving, including a 26-yard touchdown in the closing seconds that appeared to salt the game away for Cal. Stanford of course came back to win that game on a 50-yard field goal, but Rivera was named first team all-Pac 8 at receiver.
Rivera went on to spend two years in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears.
From reader Randy Parent:
Steve Rivera was the amazing possession receiver and punt returner. He ran great routs, had a knack for getting separation, and caught everything thrown in his direction. Think Fred Biletnikoff from the Raiders - same era. The ‘75 co-Pac 8 Championship Team was the most balanced, most productive, and most amazing Cal offense I have seen in my 50 years of going to Cal games. Roth and Muncie are already in and deservedly so. It's time to add their teammates, Wesley Walker and Steve Rivera.