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:
Arizona. Arizona State. Oregon State. Washington State. Washington. UCLA. Utah.
*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.