The annual USC vs. UCLA football game
The hoopla and fun that surround the big game
The rivalry between the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles is legendary, longstanding, and far-reaching. It comes to its peak at the annual football game between the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans.
The USC vs. UCLA game gets nationwide attention and spurs numerous celebratory activities here in Los Angeles. It's a week-long party for the students, alumni, and fans of two great colleges.
Tailgating videos from 2012
History of the USC-UCLA football game - I guess I'll talk about football a little bit.
The first two football games between USC and UCLA were in 1929 and 1930. Both were routs. The score in 1929 was USC-76, UCLA-0. The score in 1930 was USC-52, UCLA-0. The two colleges did not play each other again until 1936, when they played to a 7-7 tie. Since then the series has been more competitive.
Many times, either or both schools' hopes for Bowl games and championships have rested on the results of the game.
There is an exhaustive summary of the entire series on Wikipedia.
In 1966, UCLA and USC had one loss each when they faced off in their rivalry game.
UCLA beat USC, but USC was voted into the Rose Bowl anyway. Angry UCLA students took to the streets and blocked off one side of the 405 Freeway in protest.
USC Fight Song
UCLA Fight Song
POLL - Whose side are you on?
Which team do you favor in the USC-UCLA football rivalry?
My father attended both USC and UCLA, but didn't get a degree from either school.
He says that because of this he can root for USC in football and UCLA in basketball.
Talk about your team!
Speak out! Tell us why your team rules!
Why is your team the best?
Official activities associated with the game
School spirit activities take place on both campuses for a week before the USC-UCLA game.
At UCLA, the week before the USC game is called "Blue & Gold Week" or "Beat 'SC Week". It's includes a homecoming where many UCLA graduates come back to join in the celebrations. The UCLA fight song and the traditional 8-clap UCLA cheer are ubiquitous. Other Blue & Gold Week activities have included:
- A car smash, where a car that has been decorated in Trojan colors (red and gold) is pounded into oblivion by sledgehammer-wielding Bruin fans.
- A "Get the Red Out!" blood drive.
- The "Beat 'SC" parade.
- The rally and bonfire that close out Blue & Gold week.
At USC, the week before the UCLA game is "Troy Week" or "Conquest". Live bands and the fabled USC Song Girls are anticipated parts of the festivities. Activities also include:
- Academic competitions where prize money is awarded to winners in poetry, essay, two-dimensional art, and animation categories.
- The Conquest fair and rally, culminating in a bonfire.
The two colleges have several competitions between themselves during the week of the big football game. Such as:
- Ice hockey.
- And flag football games between:
- The two ROTC units.
- The staffs of the two college newspapers, The Daily Bruin and The Daily Trojan.
- For many years there was also a game between the two schools' marching bands, but the tradition was brought to an end after a fight broke out at one of the games and after numerous musical instruments were stolen.
The band and the Song Girls lead the crowd in their signature anti-UCLA song.
Show your Trojan pride!
Clips from their parade and bonfire.
Show your Bruin pride!
For mixed marriages
There are lots of households in Los Angeles that include alums of both USC and UCLA.
Unofficial activities associated with the game
Along with the school-sponsored events, there are plenty of unauthorized expressions of revelry and rivalry.
PubClub.com deemed the USC-UCLA game to be one of the premiere events for attracting tailgaters who have no intention of actually getting into the game.
Take no prisoners!
The students of USC and UCLA are infamous for pranking each other, especially during Troy/Blue & Gold Week. These are some of the most notable pranks:
- The first prank occurred in 1941, when USC students stole UCLA's Victory Bell. The bell, which had originally been UCLA's sole property, is now used as a trophy which the winner of the USC-UCLA game wins the right to possess for the year.
- In 1958, some UCLA students got a helicopter with the intention of dumping a pile of manure on USC's mascot, Tommy Trojan. Unfortunately, they missed their target and dumped the manure in Exposition Park.
- For many years, the students of USC would steal all the copies of the UCLA newspaper, The Daily Bruin, and replace it with a fake newspaper that said negative things about the Bruins.
- In 1953, UCLA students managed to saw off the arm of Tommy Trojan and reattach it in a way that made it look like Tommy was stabbing himself in the back
- In 1975, a group from USC made up a fake memo and delivered it to the UCLA advisors and clubs. The memo said that the UCLA Pep Rally had been cancelled.
These days Tommy Trojan and the Bruin Bear are covered and guarded during the critical week to keep them from being defaced. However, even with these protective measures, someone managed to get to the Bruin Bear during 2009 rivalry week and splatter it with red and gold paint (Trojan colors). The Los Angeles Times has the story -- 2009 defacing of the Bruin Bear (they've got a great picture of it, too).
The USC mascot, Tommy Trojan, is wrapped in duct tape during Troy Week to prevent vandalism from Bruins fans.
The two most notorious African-American gangs in Los Angeles, the Crips and the Bloods, officially established a truce in 1992.
There is no indication that Bruin fans and Trojan fans will follow suit any time soon.
The respective headquarters of the Crosstown Rivalry - 13.88 miles separate UCLA and USC
USC Band Halftime Show - at the 2009 UCLA game
This show is definitely a step up from a couple of Bowl games that I've seen where USC played "Get Down Tonight", a song in which the verse and chorus contain only two notes (the vamp has three notes).
Their musical picks here are more substantial than that, but they still don't measure up to UCLA.
UCLA Band Halftime Show - at the 1995 USC game
UCLA definitely wins me over with their musical selection, their arrangements, and the clarity of their performance.
© 2010 Joan Hall