Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Only Analysis That Matters - Part 5

If this is new to you, read [here], [here], [here] and [here] ... it won't make sense (nothing on this blog ever does), but at least you'll get a feel for what on earth is going on here. With that as the backdrop then, lets dive straight into the wild, wild west and examine the mascot worthiness of the PAC-10.

Arizona Wildcat

Strengths: My uncle is a U of A graduate, and still lives in Tuscon (which is a beautiful town with Mt. Lemmon right outside, etc). Outside of the family ties ... not much to go on here.

Weaknesses: The stuffed mascot exists because they killed the live one by leaving it tied to a tree where it fell and hung itself. Good work there. On that fact alone they deserve a "suck" rating, but it gets worse. Having a wildcat for a mascot in the first place? Lame. Naming your mascot "Wilbur" and then having it get married to "Wilma"? Lame. Big baggy costume that is pretty much interchangeable with any of 6 other mascots we've ranked so far? Lame.

Rating: It's probably karma from killing off the original (and very not suck) live mascot, but Wilbur and Wilma suck.

Arizona State Sun Devil

Strengths: He's a flaming devil, and following the basic rule of "if it's evil it's always cooler" that earns bonus points. The fact that the original flaming imp Sun Devil logo was supposedly drawn to resemble Walt Disney because the artist had been fired by him certainly has to add to it's cache.

Weaknesses: Pretty weak costume here, just a head and what looks like some extra padded sweatpants with flames on them. "Sparky" isn't the strongest name either, but nothing here is really too big of a violation of the mascot suck standards.

Rating: Pretty cool, and certainly doesn't suck.

California Bear

Strengths: It's a hippy mascot for a hippy campus, with sort of a dorky "cool" that fits Berkeley. Also, as the flagship university of the state of California, it's fitting for the bear to be used since it is such a longstanding image of the state. "Oski" is a pretty cool name as well, derived from a turn of the century cheer.

Weaknesses: Oski wears jeans. No mascot should wear jeans, ever. He's also got a permanently dopey look (much like many students at Berkeley come to think of it) that makes you think he's been dipping in the chemistry lab's stock on a regular basis.

Rating: Sucks. This is a tough one, because if I went to Cal I'd probably love Oski for being quirky and different - and normally in these ratings quirky and different has been held up as not sucking. But jeans and that dopey look? That's something only an alumni could love.

Oregon Duck

Strengths: It's a green version of Donald Duck.

Weaknesses: It doesn't just look like Donald Duck, it IS Donald Duck. Really going out on a limb there (what's with the PAC-10 and Walt Disney by the way?). Worse, Nike recently sponsored a newer mascot costume that looks like Roboduck and is worse than the football uniforms.

Rating: Sucks. Get your own mascot and logo, don't leech off of an American icon.

Oregon State Beaver

Strengths: It's better than the other mascots in OSU's bizarre mascot history. A coyote? A bulldog? Some guy who used to throw his hat in a river? The beaver is better than all of those combined.

Weaknesses: There used to be a married couple of mascots (Benny and Bernice) but that has thankfully been done away with. Also, the current mascot costume has only been in use since 1999, when the older "cuter" costume was put to rest. Any time your new mascot is referred to as the "Angry" one because it's looks edgier ... that's not good. Stop playing with tradition.

Rating: Sucks for getting rid of the old cute one that sort of looked like the Minnesota gopher. That one didn't suck.

Stanford Tree

Strengths: Uniqueness has been rewarded to this point - and the tree is unique, there's no doubt about that. The tradition of each student making their own tree costume lends itself to all sorts of interpretation, and while some are just awful ... some others are really good. Also, the tree recently was cited for public intoxication while performing at a basketball game. Wearing a giant costume and having to put up with pawing children would drive us to drink as well, so we fully understand.

Weaknesses: Well, it's a freaking tree for one - and some people just can't get over that fact. Also, some trees have made terrible costumes for themselves, which we simply cannot defend.

Rating: Doesn't suck. I love the unique tradition of making your own costume, I love the randomness of picking a tree as a mascot to begin with and I love the goofball looking costumes that come out each year. I know a lot of readers won't agree with this one, but tough luck - on our rating scale, the tree doesn't suck at all.

UCLA Bruins

Strengths: They're bears, and the general bears in California rule that applied to the Oski also applies here.

Weaknesses: Can we please stop with the couples mascots? Is this something endemic to the west coast? The costumes are too cute, the whole "couple" thing is too cute, everything is just sugary and cute about the Bruins. Combined with gold and light blue uniforms ... lets just say it isn't exactly the sort of thing that brings football to mind. I know it's L.A and sunny southern California and things just aren't the same there ... but come on.

Rating: Sucks.

USC Trojan on Horseback

Strengths: Hangs out with the Trojan cheerleaders and their ridiculous sweaters. That alone makes him the coolest mascot out there in our opinion. The mascot is actually the horse, named Traveler - which means there's big white horse rounding the stadium with a fully dressed Trojan on his back? Sign us up right now. Throw in the fact that Traveler's first game was the home opener against Georgia Tech in 1961 (remember, GT used to be a huge name ... throw us in the wayback machine and we're in love) and it's tough to top.

Weaknesses: None. Along with Renegade at Florida State, Mike the tiger at LSU, Ralphie at Colorado and maybe a select couple of others, this is one of the best mascots in college athletics.

Rating: Incapable of sucking.

Washington Husky

Strengths: Washington has had a live husky or malamute on the sidelines since the 1920's, and despite the recent addition of a costumed mascot (who most certainly sucks), the dog continues to be the star of the show. We love live mascots, and Prince Redoubt is a gorgeous dog.

Weaknesses: Has to share the stage with this terrible excuse for a costume.

Rating: Doesn't suck.

Washington State Cougar

Strengths: Long standing tradition of live cougars as mascots was finally ended in 1978 in Pullman, and while we love live mascots - keeping a live predator as a safe mascot at sporting events has to be tough, so I understand the move to a costume. "Butch" is pretty safe as mascots go, nothing edgy or too exciting, but nothing terrible either.

Weaknesses: It's a "safe" costume ... aka "boring". It's pretty generic, and without the very cool WSU logo on it could be mistaken for any number of regional high schools or small colleges with big cat mascots.

Rating: Doesn't suck, but not particularly memorable either.

So the Pac-10 registers a respectable 50% suck percentage, bouyed by a couple of unique and/or live mascots and without any true stinkers like some of the other conferences have had. All in all, a showing that would make our friends over at Heisman Pundit happy, but they are unfortunately unable to overcome the lead that the Big XII has built. It's up to the SEC to try and topple them next.


Blogger Paul S. said...

Sorry but I think you missed the boat with Oski. Jeans or no Jeans he just looks huggable.

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with most of it, but the Wazzu Cougar is lame. He looks mildly retarded.

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cal used to have a live a bear on the sideline, but that came to an end during 1940. I also have to agree with Paul S. one must life Oski becuase he used to go to bar and drink throuigh his eye hole and becasue he throws down with the Stanford Tree.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Matt Glaude said...

The best part of Arizona link:

"Note: never tie a feline to a tree."

Well, duh!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Kyle King said...

Great series, Nathan. I'm enjoying it and I'm linking to it.

Not to be overly technical, but portraits are hung, while people (and, in this instance, animals) are hanged.

Hey, I might as well use that liberal arts education for something!

5:32 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

Perhaps this is too much to ask, but why does Goldy Gopher get a free pass as opposed to the Bruin? Granted, I like the Minnesota mascot, but is it the "couple" thing that brings UCLA down?

Also, I won't be satisfied until you edit the UVA listing. The Cavalier ain't French.

8:50 AM  
Blogger eirishis said...

Um, the Stanford Tree is LAME. And it's not even the university's mascot, it's the mascot for the BAND.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems ESPN has decided that they will chime in on the suck/not suck mascot debate. Link:

Your analysis is both more entertaining and, actually better. Par for the course for ESPN (yawn).

btw, your

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1: All things about Stanford suck. "Stanford Sucks" is a universal constant.

2: USC's mascot sucks because noone actually knows what the Trojans might have worn in battle, as there is pretty much nothing left of Troy since, well, they lost. So what do they do? They just throw a sort of psuedo-Roman Centurion costume on the guy, and hope noone will notice the difference.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

So come on, dude, when are we going to get the rundown on the SEC mascots? Or can you just not bring yourself to admit that Uga VI is teh r0xx0rz?

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Geaux Irish said...

This series is great. Keep it up as I want to see what you do with some of the smaller conferences and independents.

As for this particular post, I was with you until the very end. The Wazzu Cougar is similar to the Kansas State mascot: mascot head on human body.


11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

USC actually has three mascots--Traveller, Tommy Trojan (the USC Trojan on horseback you identified), and also a dog (I don't recall his name but he's there on the USC website).

I agree. Tommy riding Traveller around after every USC score and Tommy planting the sword at the 50 yard line are cool...even if Texas kicked the shit out them in the Rose Bowl. Hook 'em.

11:40 AM  

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