I’m not a huge college football fan, but you can feel the energy of the UCLA-USC rivalry in the air if you’re by the LA Coliseum or the Rose Bowl on game day. You can see fans and students dressed in team colors. Tailgating starts early in the morning and things got serious when the band started playing.
In honor of college football season, here are 8 fun facts about the UCLA vs USC rivalry.
1. The rivalry is considered rare in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) with the campuses only being 12 miles apart and located in the same city – Los Angeles.
2. The rivalry reportedly started in 1941 when USC students stole a 295-pound bell from UCLA which started a series of pranks between the two schools. The Victory Bell is now awarded to the school who wins the football game.
3. The Los Angeles Coliseum, home field of the USC Trojans, is closer in proximity to UCLA compared to the Rose Bowl, the Bruins’ home field.
4. Each school’s statue usually takes the consequences of the rivalry. Often, students from each school play pranks on the other by vandalizing the school’s beloved mascot. In 2009, an incident occurred where Bruin Bear was covered in red and and yellow paint that ended up costing $20,000 to restore. In another instance, Tommy the Trojan’s sword was cut off and placed in an inappropriate position.
5. Each school takes rivalry week quite seriously by protecting their mascots. Bruin the Bear is encased in a $5,000 box and is guarded by the Bruin Bear Security Force. Tommy Trojan is also protected by the Trojan Knights and is bubble wrapped and duct taped.
6. They’ve been pranking each other for years! In 1958, UCLA students tried to dump manure onto the USC campus via helicopter but the plan backfired when the wind from the helicopter put some of the manure into the chopper. In 1989, USC students released 30,000 crickets that they painted red and gold in a UCLA library during finals week.
7. Each school hosts a blood drive during rivalry week. The school with the most units of blood donated by the end of the week wins a trophy during halftime.
8. The ROTC programs play a game of flag football, called the Blood Bowl the Friday before rivalry week, to kick things off.
UCLA and USC will battle it out on November 19, 2016 at the Rose Bowl. Frontier Communications launched the Pac-12 Network in high definition to its subscribers in Southern California in time for the 2016 football season.
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