Before diving in to one of the best West Coast rivalries in all of college football, don't forget to check out our double dose from yesterday in case you missed it.
But today we're talking one city divided by two schools - one public, one private - yep, we're talking UCLA vs. USC. With both of these schools located in Los Angeles and just 12 miles apart in that city it makes for a unique and quite intense rivalry between the two schools.
That rivalry manifests all the good, bad, and ugly when they annually get together on the gridiron, something that started way back in 1919. The winner of the annual grudge match is award the Victory Bell - a shinny old Southern Pacific railroad bell. However, it wasn't the trophy until it was stolen by USC students prior to the 1941 game and thus the traveling nature of the trophy was born.
On the field the Trojans own a commanding lead in the series, which stands at 46-28-7 (two of those victories vacated). UCLA last won this game back in the 2006 season.
While the game on the field may not always be a close one, as USC is one of the historically best college football programs and UCLA one of the historically best basketball programs, it's many times what happens in tailgating and on campus that makes this not only a must see game, but a week of events that prove just why college sports are so darn special in America.
Students routinely attempt to play pranks on the other school's campus and in the past the most frequent targets were the largest ones - Tommy Trojan at USC and the Bruin Bear at UCLA. It's spawned new traditions of hiding or wrapping up the statues so neither can be painted. Also, students on both campuses can be found camping out to "keep guard" against pranks on those two landmarks.
Many other pranks have occurred throughout the ages as these two schools proximity helps in that. Add in the fact that alumni find themselves usually in the same cities and working/living with people that attended their bitter rivals and you've got a powder keg of ideas for pranks.
Add in the fact that many Trojans don't see UCLA as their main rivals (that honor belongs to Notre Dame) and you have even more animosity on the part of Bruins fans.
What also makes this a very unique rivalry was that up until the 1982 season both teams called the LA Coliseum home. In 1982 the Bruins moved to their current home at the Rose Bowl. It's not all that often that you see teams, let alone rivals sharing the same stadium in college football.
My suggestion is to head out to LA for the week leading up to this one, take in the atmosphere, and enjoy what is quintessentially college sports, UCLA - USC.