UCLA–USC rivalry

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UCLA-USC football game at the Rose Bowl; the 2008 edition marked a return to the tradition of both teams wearing home jerseys
USC UCLA Lexus Gauntlet.

The UCLA–USC rivalry is the American college rivalry between the UCLA Bruins sports teams of the University of California, Los Angeles and USC Trojans sports teams of the University of Southern California. UCLA has the most NCAA Division I-sanctioned team championships at 111, while USC has the third most NCAA Division I-sanctioned team championships at 100.

Both universities are located in Los Angeles. The rivalry between the two is among the more unusual in NCAA Division I sports because the campuses are only 12 miles (19 km) apart, and both are located within the same city. Furthermore, the Los Angeles Coliseum, the home stadium of the Trojans, is closer to the UCLA campus than UCLA is to its own home stadium, the Rose Bowl. The close proximity of both alumni and students, and the likelihood of encountering each other and interacting on a daily basis make this one of the most intense college rivalries in the United States.


USC is recognized as consistently being one of the top football programs in the nation, while UCLA is recognized as consistently being one of the top basketball programs in the nation. However, a somewhat rare confluence of events occurred in 1954, which began with USC in a Final Four appearance in the 1954 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and ended with UCLA winning their only Football National Championship.

UCLA's flag flies between two poles.

Both schools also are successful in many "non-revenue" or "olympic" sports. Both have had success in track and field, water polo, tennis, volleyball, and golf. USC has won 26 NCAA Championships in Men's Outdoor Track and Field, 21 in Men's Tennis, and 12 in Baseball, the most of any school in each respective sport. Likewise, UCLA has won 19 NCAA Championships in Men's Volleyball, 11 in Softball, and 7 in Women's Water Polo, also the most of any school in those sports.

UCLA ranks first overall in NCAA championships with 111 and were first to 100. They also rank second in men's NCAA team championships with 72, and second (behind Stanford) in women's NCAA team championships with 39. USC ranks higher than UCLA and first in the nation in men's NCAA team championships with 84; it is 3rd overall with 100 NCAA titles (behind UCLA and Stanford) .[1] Both school also have several non-NCAA Championships, including AIAW and pre-NCAA championships.

Both universities also compete in which school's athletes have been featured on more Sports Illustrated magazine covers. As of August 2008, USC led the rivalry with 119 Sports Illustrated covers (more than any other college or university) to 114 for UCLA.[2][3]


Main article: Lexus Gauntlet

The Lexus Gauntlet is the name given to a competition between UCLA and USC in the 18 varsity sports that both compete in head-to-head; in 2003, 2005, and 2007 UCLA won the Lexus Gauntlet Trophy, while USC won the trophy in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2009 (the first back-to-back win). After the 2009 season, Lexus stopped sponsoring the award, and the winner has been tracked less formally. Since the end of the Lexus sponsorship, USC has won in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. UCLA won in 2013.[4][5][6][7][8]

Football rivalry[edit]

Quite often, the winner of the football game has won or shared the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) title in football. A berth in the Rose Bowl game has been on the line many times as well for both schools. Since the 1916 formation of the Pacific Coast Conference, which the Pac-12 claims as part of its history, USC has won or shared 37 conference titles and UCLA has won or shared 17 titles.[9] Washington is third in overall conference titles with 15.[9] Since the 1959 season, when the Pac-12 was formed as the Athletic Association of Western Universities, through the 2007 season, the schools have won or shared 33 of the 48 conference titles.[9] USC has won 17 championships outright, shared eight and gone to the Rose Bowl or BCS bowl 21 times.[9] UCLA has won six championships outright, shared five and gone to the Rose Bowl eight times.[9] The schools have shared the championship between them three times.[9] In 2011, UCLA became the first Pac-12 South Division champion while USC held the best record; the Trojans were ineligible for postseason play that year due to NCAA sanctions. Both teams have spoiled conference and national championship runs for the other.

USC was a somewhat established national football power under Howard Jones and had begun a major rivalry with Notre Dame when UCLA joined the Pacific Coast Conference in 1929. Los Angeles Times sportswriter Braven Dyer predicted on the day of the first football meeting on September 28, 1929, "In years to come, this game will probably be one of the football spectacles of the West" [10] USC dominated the early games (so much so, that after the first two games, the series was suspended for five years and they did not play each other from 1931 to 1935) until UCLA established itself. By the late 1930s, star players such as Kenny Washington, Jackie Robinson, and Bob Waterfield enabled UCLA to be competitive. With the hiring of Hall of Fame Coach Henry "Red" Sanders, UCLA became the more dominant program in the 1950s with their one and only National Championship in 1954. A famous quote was attributed to Sanders regarding the rivalry, "Beating 'SC is not a matter of life or death, it's more important than that." [11][12] But Sanders died suddenly of a heart attack, and shortly thereafter, one of the greatest colleges football coaches in NCAA history took over the struggling USC program. Upon the arrival of their new head coach John McKay (1960–1975), USC entered a new golden age in their storied history. During McKay's tenure, the Trojans won 8 conference titles, 5 Rose Bowls, produced two Heisman Trophy winners (Mike Garrett and O.J. Simpson) and won three National Championships (1962, 1967, and 1972) and shared one (1974). Against UCLA, McKay was tough to beat posting a 10–5–1 record against the Bruins between 1960 and 1975. For most seasons from the mid-1960s to the end of the 1970s, the two schools were the top powers on the West Coast with USC usually holding the top spot. In the 15 Rose Bowls played from 1966 to 1980, USC or UCLA played in 12 of them. Even with the rise of Don James' Washington Huskies in the 1980s and early 90s, UCLA or USC still went to the Rose Bowl seven times between 1981 and 1995. In the 1990s, UCLA enjoyed an impressive 8-game winning streak against USC. The Bruin's unbeaten string ended in 1999 when the Trojans began their longest win streak, 7, against the Bruins, though 2 of those wins (2004, 2005) are now vacated, cutting the USC streak to just 5. This unprecedented dominance was the direct result of the hiring of Pete Carroll by USC in 2000. During Carroll's tenure (2001–2009 seasons), USC was virtually unbeatable against its two most heated rivals, UCLA and Notre Dame. The only game that UCLA beat a Pete Carroll coached team was the 13–9 win in 2006 at the Rose Bowl that kept USC out of the BCS Championship game and allowed the Bruins to keep the record for consecutive wins (8) in the rivalry.

Title of the game[edit]

A number of titles have been applied to the football game such as: "The Los Angeles City Championship," "The Crosstown Showdown," "The Battle of L.A.", or simply the "crosstown rivalry." But none really have gained traction. Most often the game is referred to as the USC-UCLA (or UCLA-USC) football game by the media.[13] Fans of a particular team refer to it as the USC game or UCLA game, using the name of the opposing school.

Activities before the game[edit]

"Tommy Trojan" wrapped in duct tape during rivalry week

At UCLA, the week before the game is known as "Beat 'SC Week" (officially dubbed "Blue and Gold Week"). At USC, the week before the game is known as "Troy Week" or, more popularly, "Conquest".

Both schools host a number of activities on their respective campuses during the week to promote school spirit. Activities include parades, bonfires, rallies, and live entertainment.

CONQUEST! "The Ultimate Trojan Experience" occurs on the USC campus the Thursday before the USC-UCLA Football Game. It brings together athletics, academics, school spirit and traditions and attracts almost 10,000 students, alumni, faculty and staff.[14]

Also, both schools take steps to prevent vandalism of two major landmarks on campus: USC wraps its Trojan Shrine (better known as "Tommy Trojan") in bubble wrap and duct tape, while UCLA covers its Bruin Bear statue with tarp stating "THE BRUIN BEAR IS HIBERNATING. BEAT 'SC.", and more recently a $5000 wooden puzzle box. Groups of UCLA students known as 'Bruin Bear Security Force' also camp out in Bruin Plaza, ostensibly to protect the Bruin Bear in the event of a prank, while the USC Trojan Knights hold a weeklong vigil guarding Tommy Trojan with the sign "Don't Bruin your life". This has come as a response to students painting the statues in the rival schools' colors before the game. On November 12, 2012, an entrance sign at UCLA was defaced with a "S" painted between the letters U and C beside obscene graffiti in red spray paint.

There are a number of inter-campus competitions between various groups before the game.

Activities during the game[edit]

Starting with the 2008 season, the winners of a blood drive competition were announced during halftime, with the winners donating more blood to the American Red Cross. UCLA has won in 2008,[19] 2009, 2010 and 2011.

On November 13, 2012, UCLA served notice to the USC Marching Band that its drum major would not be allowed to stab a sword into the Bruins logo before the game in the Rose Bowl on November 17, 2012.[20]

Sharing the Los Angeles Coliseum[edit]

The 2008 game marked a return to both teams wearing their home jerseys; a tradition born out of the two schools sharing the Los Angeles Coliseum from 1929 to 1981.

For a number of years, the schools shared the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as their home stadium until UCLA moved to the Rose Bowl for the 1982 season. Each school alternated as the "home" team for the game, with home fans on the north side of the Coliseum and visiting fans on the south (press box) side. Until 1983, players on both teams wore their home football jerseys for the game. Since the 1984 season, when the game was played at the Rose Bowl for the second time, the visiting fans sit in the visitor section of each respective stadium, and the visiting team wears their white jerseys. Because UCLA called the Coliseum home and USC won a number of Rose Bowl games, each school has a lifetime winning record in the others' current home stadium.

Starting in 2006, the coaches at the time, USC coach Pete Carroll and UCLA coach Karl Dorrell expressed an interest in restarting the tradition of both teams wearing home jerseys. At the time, the NCAA football rules Article 3. a. stated, "Players of opposing teams shall wear jerseys of contrasting colors, and the visiting team shall wear white jerseys."[21] USC coach Pete Carroll said he would be willing to lose two timeouts during the game so that the USC team could wear their red jerseys for the UCLA-USC football game on December 6, 2008.[22] It was determined before the 2008 game that the visiting school would only lose one timeout for incorrect equipment. Carroll agreed to forfeit a timeout to satisfy the ruling and Coach Rick Neuheisel agreed to forfeit one, in return (even though, as the coach of the home team, he was not required to do so by the ruling) to get back this tradition, and it was renewed in the 2008 game.[23] In the wake of the coaches' decisions, the NCAA decided to amend their rules regarding away teams' uniforms (which were originally put into place to provide more contrast for black-and-white photography and television broadcasts), changing the rule to state that the teams must agree on the decision for both teams to wear their colored jerseys before the game and that the uniforms must be of easily contrasted colors.[24] Since the home team is already required to wear its colored home jerseys and would not be in violation of any equipment rules, this essentially leaves the decision up to them as to whether or not to allow the visiting team is to wear their home uniforms.

The Victory Bell[edit]

The Trojan Knights watching over the Victory Bell during a USC home game.

When the football teams from these schools compete against each other, the victor is awarded the Victory Bell. The Victory Bell was originally from an old Southern Pacific railroad locomotive. It was given to the UCLA student body by the UCLA Alumni Association in 1939. It was UCLA's symbol of victory until it was stolen by a USC organization called the Trojan Knights in 1941. After being hidden in various locations for over a year before resurfacing in a USC student magazine (known as the Wampus), a prank war between the two universities ensued until 1942, when the student body presidents of the two schools agreed that the bell would be the trophy awarded the winner of the annual UCLA-USC football game. The bell itself is brass, and the metal mounting around it is painted blue or red by the school that won the football game and earned its possession. When UCLA possesses it, the UCLA Rally Committee is responsible for its protection and care. While it is in USC's possession, the Trojan Knights are responsible for hiding, protecting, and showcasing the bell (including ringing the bell during home football games).

The Rose Bowl[edit]

Until the Rose Bowl Game became part of the Bowl Championship Series, a berth in the Rose Bowl to face the Big Ten Conference champion was the ultimate goal that was awarded to the then-Pacific-10 conference champion. As of the 2007 season, USC has appeared in the Rose Bowl 32 times and UCLA has appeared 12 times. The Rose Bowl is still the destination for the first place Big 10 and Pac-12 teams, should either fail to qualify for the BCS championship game.

UCLA was the first Pac-10 team to appear in a BCS bowl, the 1999 Rose Bowl, their last conference championship year. USC has appeared in six BCS bowl games, winning the BCS championship in 2005. With the Rose Bowl stadium being the home field for UCLA, the UCLA–USC rivalry football game has been played there to a sellout crowd during even numbered years since 1982.

The Rose Bowl and conference championship has been on the line for both teams 19 times and at least one team 36 times as of the 2007 season. Both teams have either won the championship or spoiled it for the other at one time or another.

Football series record[edit]

As of the 2013 season, USC leads 44–30–7 (record not including 9 overall wins vacated due to NCAA penalty, including 2 vs. UCLA).[25][26] There has been one overtime game in the series in 1996. Many of the games of this storied rivalry have ultimately determined the Pac-10 Rose Bowl representative and often a chance to play for the national championship. USC was forced to vacate both its wins from the 2004 and 2005 seasons due to NCAA violations.[25][27]

1929USC760Coliseum*First meeting of the two schools in football, first game of season for both teams[10]
1930USC520Coliseum**First game of season for both teams
1936TIE77Coliseum*Series resumes, Game moved to Thanksgiving Day November 26, first tie in the series
1937USC1913Coliseum**First "home" game for UCLA
1938USC427Coliseum*Game moved to "rivalry" weekend before Thanksgiving weekend
1939TIE00Coliseum**First game with the Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. First time both teams are unbeaten and ranked since AP poll started in 1936. UCLA backfield included immortals Jackie Robinson and Kenny Washington. USC voted Dickinson National Champions and into the 1940 Rose Bowl.
1942UCLA714Coliseum*1943 Rose Bowl on line for both teams. UCLA makes first appearance in Rose Bowl after first victory over USC; The Victory Bell becomes the trophy of the series.
1943USC200Coliseum**The teams scheduled second game at the beginning of the season due to World War II travel restrictions
1944TIE1313Coliseum*The teams scheduled second game at the beginning of the season due to World War II travel restrictions
1945USC136Coliseum**The teams scheduled second game at the beginning of the season due to World War II travel restrictions
1946UCLA613Coliseum**1947 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. Game fixed at third weekend in November where it remains until the 2004 season, except for 1975 when it was played on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
1947USC60Coliseum*A UCLA win would have created a four-way tie for first[28][29][30]
1950UCLA039Coliseum**UCLA's greatest margin of victory in series signals era of its legendary Coach Red Sanders
1952USC1412Coliseum**Both teams unbeaten and untied. UCLA ranked #3 and USC ranked #4
1953UCLA013Coliseum*1954 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams
1954UCLA034Coliseum**Conference championship on the line for both teams, however UCLA could not go to the Rose Bowl because of PCC no-repeat rule. UCLA would go on to win the UPI National Championship, UCLA's first and only football national championship.
1955UCLA717Coliseum*UCLA already clinched the 1956 Rose Bowl berth before game
1959UCLA310Coliseum*Final outcome a tie for first in the PCC, USC banned from postseason bowls
1961UCLA710Coliseum*1962 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams
1962USC143Coliseum**USC #1 and undefeated, and AP/UPI National Champions
1964USC3413Coliseum**USC and Oregon State tied for 1st and didn't play each other, OSU selected as AAWU representative for Rose Bowl due to better overall record
1965UCLA1620Coliseum*1966 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. UCLA went on to beat #1 Michigan State in the Rose Bowl, 14–12.
1966UCLA714Coliseum**It was thought before the game that the 1967 Rose Bowl was on the line for both teams. UCLA had a 3–1 conference record vs. a 4–1 record of USC due to scheduling, but USC was voted into the Rose Bowl despite UCLA's win and better overall record (9–1 vs. 7–3).
1967USC2120Coliseum*The Game of the Century1967 Rose Bowl and #1 ranking on the line for both teams. UCLA ranked #1, USC ranked #2. Afterward, USC would win the AP and UPI National Championship
1968USC2816Coliseum**USC ranked #1.
1969USC1412Coliseum*Both teams undefeated with one tie each on their records. 1970 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. USC ranked #5, UCLA ranked #6. A phantom pass interference vs UCLA on SC' final 4th down allowed SC to steal the victory and the Rose Bowl.
1972USC247Coliseum**1973 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. USC ranked #1, UCLA ranked #10. USC would go on to win the AP and UPI National Championship.
1973USC2313Coliseum*1974 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. UCLA ranked #6, USC ranked #10
1974USC349Coliseum**1975 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. USC ranked #6
1975UCLA2225Coliseum*1976 Rose Bowl on the line for UCLA; a USC win would have put California in the Rose Bowl. Game played on Friday night after Thanksgiving (November 28) UCLA beats #1 ranked Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
1976USC2414Coliseum**1977 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. First game for both John Robinson and Terry Donahue in the rivalry. UCLA ranked #2, USC ranked #3
1977USC2927Coliseum*1978 Rose Bowl on the line for UCLA; the Trojan's win put Washington in.
1978USC1710Coliseum**1979 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. USC ranked #3. USC would go on to win the UPI National Championship.
1979USC4914Coliseum*1980 Rose Bowl on the line for USC. USC ranked #3.
1980UCLA1720Coliseum**Neither team bowl eligible due to probation [29] Last "Home" UCLA-USC game for UCLA at the Coliseum
1981USC2221Coliseum*Last game at the Coliseum as a shared stadium for UCLA and USC. Rose Bowl on the line for UCLA. USC's win put Washington in.
1982UCLA1920Rose Bowl**UCLA needed to win to keep Rose Bowl hopes alive. Bruins later earned Rose Bowl berth when Washington and Arizona State lost. USC and UCLA "share" Rose Bowl and wear home uniforms
1983UCLA1727Coliseum*UCLA needed to win to keep Rose Bowl hopes alive. Bruins later earned Rose Bowl berth when Washington lost to Washington State.
1984UCLA1029Rose Bowl**USC in the 1985 Rose Bowl already before the game, USC fans at end zones in Rose Bowl for first time. USC wears its road white jerseys for the first time.
1985USC1713Coliseum*1986 Rose Bowl on the line for UCLA. UCLA goes to the Rose Bowl despite the loss when Arizona defeats Arizona State.
1986UCLA2545Rose Bowl**
1987USC1713Coliseum*1988 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams
1988USC3122Rose Bowl**1989 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams. USC ranked #2, UCLA ranked #4.
1989TIE1010Coliseum*USC already in the 1990 Rose Bowl before the game, last tie in the series. UCLA field goal attempt to win in the final seconds hits crossbar, bounces back on the field.
1990USC4542Rose Bowl**
1991UCLA2124Coliseum*Start of the longest winning streak in the series (8).
1992UCLA3738Rose Bowl****Walk-on and fifth-string QB John Barnes leads the Bruins past Rob Johnson and the Trojans.
1993UCLA2127Coliseum*1994 Rose Bowl on the line for both teams
1994UCLA1931Rose Bowl**1995 Rose Bowl possibly on the line for USC. A USC win and Oregon loss to Oregon St. would have put the Trojans in the Rose Bowl. But USC lost and Oregon won.
1995UCLA2024Coliseum*USC already had clinched 1996 Rose Bowl berth
1996UCLA4148(2OT)Rose Bowl**Only overtime game in the series, the first year the rule is in place. UCLA rallied from 17 point 4th quarter deficit
1998UCLA1734Rose Bowl**UCLA had clinched at least a 1999 Rose Bowl berth and was ranked #1 in the standings. Legendary USC fan Giles Pellerin died during this game. This was the 797th consecutive USC game he attended, which included all previous games in this rivalry.
2000USC3835Rose Bowl**
2001USC270Coliseum*Pete Carroll's first game in the rivalry
2002USC5221Rose Bowl**USC ranked #4
2003USC4722Coliseum*Karl Dorrell's first game in the rivalry. BCS in the 2004 Rose Bowl on the line for USC with the win. USC ranked #2. Wins the AP National Championship with a Rose Bowl victory over Michigan.
2004USC (vacated)2924Rose Bowl**USC forced to vacate due to NCAA sanctions.[31] BCS on line for USC. The game day moved to the first Saturday in December from the third Saturday in November rivalry weekend to coincide with conference championship games. USC ranked #1.
2005USC (vacated)6619Coliseum*USC forced to vacate due to NCAA sanctions.[31] BCS in 2006 Rose Bowl on the line for USC, BCS Bowl berth and a tie for first in the conference on the line for UCLA. USC ranked #1
2006UCLA913Rose Bowl**BCS Championship game on the line for USC. Trojans still earn another Pac-10 Title 2007 Rose Bowl Game. USC ranked #2.
2007USC247Coliseum*2008 Rose Bowl on the line for USC, and with a win and an ASU loss for UCLA. USC clinches 6th straight Pac-10 title.
2008USC287Rose Bowl**2009 Rose Bowl on the line for USC, Rick Neuheisel's first game in the rivalry as UCLA's head coach, return to both teams wearing home jerseys.
2009USC287Coliseum*For the first time since 2001, the game does not have implications for a major bowl game. First time in the series that the final score (28–7) was identical for two consecutive years.
2010USC2814Rose Bowl**For the first time since 1980, neither UCLA nor USC are bowl eligible (UCLA due to record, USC due to probation).[citation needed] Lane Kiffin's first game in the rivalry as USC's head coach; at 35, he was the youngest head coach in the rivalry's history.
2011USC500Coliseum*The largest margin of victory in rivalry since 1930. UCLA fired head coach Rick Neuheisel.[32] Game was moved to third Saturday in November, as prior to 2004. Due to USC's ineligibility, UCLA had clinched the South Division Champion title prior to the game.[33]
2012UCLA2838Rose Bowl**For the first time since 1930, both USC and UCLA do not end regular season with this game. Jim L. Mora's first game in the rivalry as UCLA head coach. First time a berth in the Pacific-12 Football Championship Game is on the line for both teams.
2013UCLA1435Coliseum*UCLA had lost the South Division title to Arizona State the week before the game. USC had fired Lane Kiffin as head coach earlier in the season, so Ed Orgeron coached in his place in this game. First game since 2010 without implications for a major bowl game.
OverallUSC (44–30–7)

Notes: *USC home game, **UCLA home game, highlighted scores indicate school with Rose Bowl on the line, or, after the 2010–12 NCAA conference realignment, the Pac-12 Championship game on the line.

Winning streaks in the series[edit]

UCLA holds the longest winning streak in the series, as UCLA won eight straight games from 1991 to 1998. USC's longest streak was for seven wins from 1999 to 2005, broken with a victory by UCLA in the 2006 game, with the 2004 and 2005 victories later vacated by the NCAA.

The 1967 "Game of the Century"[edit]

The 1967 USC vs. UCLA football game was one of the defining college football games of the 20th century. It matched No. 4 USC with O.J. Simpson against No. 1 UCLA with Gary Beban for the Conference Championship, National Championship, and Heisman Trophy on the line for Beban or Simpson. USC won 21–20 and went on to defeat Indiana in the Rose Bowl and win the national championship. Despite Simpson's sensational performance in this game and accumulating 1,543 rushing yards for the season, Beban won the Heisman Trophy. Simpson won the trophy the following year.

Other notable games[edit]

Rivalry glory years[edit]

Between 1965 and 1978, the conference championship and Rose Bowl berth were on the line for both teams nine times.

In two other years (1975 and 1977) between 1965 and 1978, the Rose Bowl berth was on the line for UCLA only.

The USC coaches during this time were John McKay and John Robinson, while UCLA was coached by Tommy Prothro, Pepper Rodgers, Dick Vermeil, and Terry Donahue.


NCAA National Championship trophies, rings, watches


UCLA has 30 conference championships and USC has seven. When John Wooden became the coach, UCLA turned into a national basketball powerhouse. UCLA has won 11 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournaments and has dominated the conference, winning two games for every one that USC won. As of the 2007–2008 season, UCLA has won or shared the conference title 30 times, and USC has won or shared the title 9 times.[39] There have been some notable games in the rivalry.


In Women's basketball, UCLA has one AIAW championship and USC has two NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championships. Ironically, USC won its second title, in 1984, at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins and the Women of Troy have faced each other twice in the second round of the AIAW championships with UCLA winning in 1979 and USC winning in 1981.

Other notable sports rivalries[edit]

Because of the geographical proximity and conference affiliation, UCLA and USC compete in other NCAA sanctioned sports, such as Basketball, Track and Field, Volleyball, and Water Polo. UCLA and USC are #1 and #3 respectively in terms of the most NCAA championships won in Division I as of 2007.[43] They have faced each other for the national title in several sports including Men's Volleyball and Women's water polo. Although basketball and football tend to get the most attention, the rivalry between the two schools is intense in every sport.


The athletic rivalry began in 1920 when the University of California, Southern Branch Cubs defeated USC in spring baseball 7–6.[44] USC has gone on to be the premier team in college baseball with 21 appearances in the College World Series and 12 titles, the most of any school and double the next closest school, Texas, who has six titles in 34 appearances. UCLA has appeared in the College World Series five times. UCLA won its first NCAA Baseball title in 2013.

As of the end of the 2014 season, USC leads UCLA in the series 256–130.[45] Since 2010, UCLA and USC have met in the second game of a college baseball doubleheader at Dodger Stadium called the Dodgertown classic as well as a three game conference series.[46]


Both USC Fencing Club and UCLA fencing club are in the Intercollegeiate Fencing Conference of Southern California (IFCSC). UCLA has consistently dominated USC throughout their meetings. They compete against NCAA fencing teams as well, such as UCSD, Caltech, and Cal State Fullerton.[47][48][49]


UCLA women's soccer team has dominated the Women of Troy, 21–5–1. But at the 2007 NCAA College Cup, USC won in the semi-finals, ended UCLA's 8 straight victories over the Trojans. USC went on to be the first Pac-10 (as it was called at the time) school to win the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship. UCLA has outscored USC, 52 to 21, and has never lost to Women of Troy on Bruins' own field. In the 2008 regular season game, a pair of goals by Kristina Larsen gave UCLA a 2–1 win over USC in the Los Angeles Coliseum before a record crowd of 7,804 fans.

To advance to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals, the Bruins defeated the Women of Troy (1–0) in the round of 16 on Saturday, November 22, 2008 at Drake Stadium. It was also a battle between UCLA's Lauren Cheney and Kara Lang and USC's Amy Rodriguez, all of whom participated in the Beijing Olympic Games—Cheney and Rodriguez for the USA and Lang for Canada. Cheney and Rodriguez would win gold medals with Team USA, defeating Lang's Canada team in the quarterfinals. UCLA won the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship in 2013, defeating Florida State 1–0 in overtime.


As of the 2014 season, USC has won 21 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships and UCLA has won 16. USC has won 5 of the last 6 (2009–2012, 2014), while UCLA's most recent Championship was in 2005. There was a run from 1960 to 1971 where either UCLA or USC was the champion. In twelve of the tournaments, one team has been runner-up to the other who won the championship, with an even split of six championships for both UCLA and USC.

UCLA has won two NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships, most recently in 2014. USC won in 1983 and 1985.


UCLA vs. USC volleyball 2008

UCLA has dominated men's volleyball under the coaching of Al Scates. As of 2013, UCLA has won 19 NCAA Men's Volleyball Championships. The next closest school is Pepperdine with five NCAA titles. USC has won four NCAA titles. UCLA and USC have faced each other in the championship game of the NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship four times.

In women's volleyball, UCLA won the 2011 national Championship. UCLA now has won four and USC has won three NCAA Women's Volleyball Championships in Division I. In addition, USC and UCLA have won three AIAW Women's volleyball championships.

In 1981 USC defeated UCLA three games to two in the first NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship game. In 1976 USC defeated UCLA to win the AIAW volleyball championship.

Water polo[edit]

The two schools compete in water polo. In men's, USC carries a slight lead over UCLA in the all-time series of 76–75–1. In the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship, USC also has a slight lead of 9 championships to UCLA's 8. USC is currently riding an active 6-year championship streak (2008–2013). UCLA's most recent championship was in 2004. Due to the low number of schools participating in the sport and the State of California's dominance (no team from outside of California has ever played in the championship match), title game matches between the two teams are relatively common, occurring in 1996, 2009, 2012, and 2012. In title game matches, USC holds a 3–1 advantage. UCLA won 8–7 in 1996, and USC won 7–6 in 2009, 7-4 in 2011, and 11-10 in 2012.

In women's water polo, UCLA has a commanding 46-22 lead over USC in the all-time series. In the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship, UCLA dominated early on, winning 7 of the first 9 NCAA Championships, including the first tournament in 2001. USC has won 3, most recently in 2013. The two teams have faced each other in the women's title game 3 times, in 2006, 2008, and 2009. UCLA won all 3 matches by scores of 9–8, 6–3,[50] and 5–4, respectively. All three wins were part of UCLA's streak of 5 consecutive championships.

Head-to-head records by sport[edit]

As of June 4, 2014, USC leads the all-time all-sport record 968–907–10.[51]



Italic sports are inactive due to one of both schools discontinuing the sport

Note: This record includes all games played in active sports, but does not include every inactive sport.

Olympic athletes[edit]

Both UCLA and USC send many athletes to the Olympic Games. As of the last games, USC athletes account for 258 medals and UCLA athletes account for 241. A USC Trojan has been a Gold medal winner in every summer Olympics since 1912. As of the 2008 Summer Olympics, UCLA and USC athletes combined account for nearly one fifth of all medals won by the United States of America and their 499 combined medals would rank 9th on the country list.[52] [53] [54] [55]

Rivalry outside sports competition[edit]

College Comparison (2013)
LocationLos Angeles, CALos Angeles, CA
OwnershipPrivate universityPublic university
Students40,000 [56]42,163 [57]
School colorsCardinal and goldTrue Blue and gold
Football stadiumLA ColiseumRose Bowl
Basketball arenaGalen CenterPauley Pavilion
Annual tuition$45,602 [58]$12,692 Calif Resident

$35,570 (non-resident)[59]

UCLA and USC gear on sale at side by side at Costco

The UCLA–USC rivalry is like few other college or university rivalries. Both universities are in the same city. Both universities are at the top in the nation not only for their sports achievements, but also for academic standing. While UCLA historically has been viewed as the more selective institution, USC has made great strides in improving its position in university rankings. Although UCLA outranks USC in almost all ranking systems, USC is currently tied with UCLA in the US News National University rankings at 24th.[60] Graduate schools at both universities are among the top in their fields. Furthermore, graduates from both universities work together all across Southern California. It is not uncommon for married couples or family members to consist of graduates from each school. Undergraduates of one school can be found attending graduate school and/or professional school across town. High schools in Southern California send some of their top graduates to both schools every year, as do community colleges around Los Angeles. Students from each school, including athletes, even can be found rooming together in the same house or apartment in Los Angeles.

The rivalry is also a microcosm of a geopolitical rivalry based upon the locations of the schools, the cost of attending each school, and the founding and growth patterns of the schools.

Geographic location[edit]

UCLA is located on the Westside of Los Angeles and is nestled between many several of the most affluent and desirable communities in southern California: Brentwood, Bel-Air, Beverly Hills and Westwood. Although this area was relatively remote and unsettled at the time of UCLA's founding, decades of growth in the area around campus means that UCLA is hardly the suburban location it once was.

In 2012, Bruins football coach Jim Mora said he sold recruits on the safety of UCLA's campus location. "I mean, we don't have murders one block off our campus," said Mora. He denied he was making a reference to USC, which months earlier had two of their students killed near campus.[61]

USC, by contrast, is located on the Southern fringe of downtown Los Angeles by Exposition Park. In the early years of the city, it was a fashionable area, but it began to be rundown as wealthier residents migrated towards other suburban neighborhoods, following the national trend. USC was an isolated enclave for a number of years and the surrounding neighborhood had a bad reputation. Lately, with newer downtown construction, the area is becoming connected with downtown again, although the neighborhood remains marginal. Most of the major LA area public sports facilities are located near campus, including the Los Angeles Coliseum and Staples Center.

Funding and cost of attendance[edit]

The University of California is a public university, while the University of Southern California is a private university. As a public university, UCLA offers discounted attendance rates for California residents. For 2009–10 the estimated cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room, board, books, etc.) at UCLA is approximately $30,476 for in-state students living on campus, compared to $53,354 for out-of-state students, also living on campus.[62]

At USC, no differentiation in fees is made between California residents and those coming from out-of-state. USC estimates the cost of attendance for all students living on campus for the 2009–10 school year at about $60,801 [63]

The University of California System has raised fees on all its campuses, including at UCLA, over the years to account for declines in state support and to keep pace with inflation.[64]

Costs of attendance at both UCLA and USC may be off-set by financial aid, in the form of loans or grants based on merit or need or both. This includes athletic scholarships.


USC was established in 1880 and UCLA was founded in 1919 when California Gov. William D. Stephens signed California Assembly Bill 626, establishing the Southern Branch of the University of California. UCLA moved to its current location in 1927 when it was renamed the University of California at Los Angeles. USC had been playing football since 1888 and joined the Pacific Coast Conference in 1922. UCLA started playing football in 1919 and joined the PCC in 1928.

UCLA-USC rivalry in popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

Other Pac-12 football rivalries[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/champs_records_book/Overall.pdf
  2. ^ 2008 USC Football media guide. (PDF copy available at www.usctrojans.com) USC Athletics, August 2008. pg 224. 119 Sports Illustrated covers with the latest being March 24, 2008. Includes:Sports Illustrated Presents College Football edition, an Extra edition, Commemorative issues, and a Collector's Edition
  3. ^ 2008 UCLA Football media guide (PDF copy available at www.uclabruins.com). UCLA Athletics, August 2008, pg 164. 114 Sports Illustrated covers with the latest being April 7, 2008. Includes Commemorative issues, Basketball Edition, and Year in Pictures
  4. ^ "USC clinches Gauntlet Trophy over UCLA", Fox Sports West, April 25, 2011
  5. ^ "USC wins 4th straight Gauntlet title", Pedro Moura, ESPN.com, April 25, 2011
  6. ^ "http://www.usctrojans.com/genrel/043012aaa.html", University of Southern California, April 30, 2012
  7. ^ "http://www.bruinsnation.com/2012/5/1/2991099/UCLA-USC-Gauntlet-Trophy-Fire-Dan-Guerrero-Gene-Block", May 1, 2012
  8. ^ https://twitter.com/UCLAAthletics/status/330107951366930432
  9. ^ a b c d e f Pac-10 football media guide. Pacific-10 Conference, Fall 2008. PDF copy available at http://www.pac-12.org
  10. ^ a b Dyer, Braven – TROJANS AND BRUINS OPEN GRID SEASON TODAY. RIVALS PRIMED FOR FIRST TILT Expect Crowd of 35,000 Fans to Watch Teams Three New Faces on Jones's First Line-up. Bruins Have Only Outside Chance to Win. Los Angeles Times, September 28, 1929. Quote:"In years to come, this game will probably be one of the football spectacles of the West"
  11. ^ The Start of Something Big: USC vs. UCLA by Lonnie White, marking 75 years of the UCLA-USC rivalry
  12. ^ Burke, Anne (Editor) – Summer 2004 Bruin Walk: Rah-rah Boo-hiss. UCLA Magazine, summer 2004
  13. ^ White, Lonnie – THE RIVALRY: UCLA VS. USC – It could turn into a special moment. Xs and O's A look at a key matchup inside the USC-UCLA football game. Today: The special teams. Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2006.
  14. ^ USC Office of Campus Activities – CONQUEST! The Ultimate Trojan Experience
  15. ^ Mozingo, Joe (November 14, 2000). "UCLA Band Instruments Stolen at USC". Los Angeles Times. 
  16. ^ Hersch Jamie, A SEASON IN THE STANDS: UCLA VS. USC (MANAGERS!) The guys behind the guys go at it during Rivalry Week. ESPN A Season in the Stands, December 5, 2008
  17. ^ Klein, Gary It's City Limited Los Angeles Times, December 04, 2010 Note: Brian Wagner passed for three touchdowns this week as USC's student football managers defeated UCLA's managers, 21–7, at UCLA. USC extended its winning streak in the series to three games.
  18. ^ Klein, Gary – USC brass is surprised at UCLA's uniform plans for football game. Los Angeles Times, November 23, 2011. Note: UCLA defeated USC, 57–55, in triple overtime Tuesday night in the annual flag-football game between student football managers.
  19. ^ http://readme.readmedia.com/USC-and-UCLA-Competition-Draws-Blood/19207
  20. ^ Chris Foster, UCLA sticks it to USC over midfield logo-stabbing tradition, Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2012
  21. ^ NCAA Football rules 2006 (PDF)
  22. ^ USC willing to give up timeout to wear red at UCLA ESPN.com news services, December 2, 2008
  23. ^ Klein, Gary – USC is right at home on rivals' turf. Los Angeles Times, December 7, 2008
  24. ^ Rogers Redding, Secretary-Rules Editor, NCAA Football Rules Committee – NCAA Football 2009–10 Rules and Interpretations. THE NATIONAL COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION, May 2009. ARTICLE 3. a. Players of opposing teams shall wear jerseys of contrasting colors. Players on the same team shall wear jerseys of the same color and design. 1. The visiting team shall wear white jerseys; however, the home team may wear white jerseys if the teams have agreed in writing before the season. 2. If the home team wears colored jerseys, the visiting team may also wear colored jerseys, if and only if the following conditions have been satisfied: (a) The home team has agreed in writing prior to the game (b) The conference of the home team certifies that the jersey of the visiting team is of a contrasting color.
  25. ^ a b 2010 USC Football. USC Sports Information Office. 2010. p. 2. Archived from the original on January 30, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2011. "The USC football program is on probation until June 9, 2014 for NCAA violations involving agent and amateurism issues, lack of institutional control, impermissible inducements, extra benefits, exceeding coach staff limits and unethical conduct. The penalties include: public reprimand and censure; four years of probation through June 9, 2014; post-season ban for the 2010 and 2011 seasons; one-year show cause penalty (through June 9, 2011) for an assistant football coach; vacation of wins from December 2004 through the 2005 season; limit of 15 initial scholarships and 75 total scholarships for each of the 2011– 12, 2012–13 and 2013–14 years; $5,000 fine; disassociation of a former football player; prohibit non-university personnel from traveling on team charters, attending practices and camps, and having access to sidelines and locker rooms. USC is appealing selected penalties." 
  26. ^ "2011 UCLA Football Media Guide". pp. 62, 68. Archived from the original on December 4, 2011. 
  27. ^ USC ordered to vacate wins, gets bowl ban, docked 30 scholarships. June 10, 2010.
  28. ^ Pac-10 Media Guide
  29. ^ a b 2008 USC Football media guide. (PDF copy available at www.usctrojans.com) USC Athletics, August 2008
  30. ^ Note: UCLA, Oregon, California, and USC all would have been tied at 5–1 in conference play. USC had defeated California and did not play Oregon. UCLA had defeated Oregon, but lost to California. California and Oregon did not play.
  31. ^ a b USC Sports Information Office 2010, p.75
  32. ^ "Rick Neuheisel out at UCLA". ESPN.com. November 28, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  33. ^ Ted Miller, What do we call UCLA?, ESPN, November 11, 2011
  34. ^ Dyer, Braven – TROJANS BATTER BRUINS BY 76 TO 0 SCORE. HERD HANGS UP 12 TOUCHDOWNS Flashy Backs Run Wild, Over Weak Rival Line Saunders, Shaver Cut Loose With Long Gallops Musick Looms as Real Star in Fullback Berth. Los Angeles Times, September 29, 1929
  35. ^ Troy, Tennessee in Rose Bowl. Los Angeles Times, December 10, 1939. It will be Southern California and Tennessee in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1, 1940.
  36. ^ UCLA Athletics: 1964–1965 UCLA.edu
  37. ^ Leon Moore, David (December 3, 2005). "L.A. is capital of football for a day". USA Today. Retrieved May 26, 2010. 
  38. ^ Chris Dufresne, A freakish Friday lifts UCLA into Pac-12 title game, Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2011
  39. ^ 2007–08 PAC-10 MEN'S BASKETBALL Media Guide
  40. ^ 2008–09 NCAA Men's Basketball Records (ncaa.org) p58, Rivalries, Consecutive victories
  41. ^ Dyer, Braven – The Sports Parade. Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1943
  42. ^ No. 3 UCLA Advances to Pac-10 Championship Game With 57–54 Win. UCLA Athletic Department, March 14, 2008
  43. ^ Schools with the most NCAA championships (ncaa.org, link no longer exists) as of Spring 2009. Abstract: The NCAA does not award National Championships in Division I-A football. See the Wikipedia article NCAA Division I-A national football championship for more information. The NCAA numbers leave out USC's 11 football championships from their tally of 88. Stanford University is in second place with 96 NCAA championships and two football championships. UCLA has 105 NCAA championships and 1 football championship. The next closest school is Oklahoma State with 48 NCAA championships. UCLA and USC also have AIAW titles, and titles awarded before the advent of the NCAA.
  44. ^ Ben Bolch. UCLA-USC friction goes beyond football. Los Angeles Times. November 27, 2007. Quote:UCLA-USC has been a back-and-forth affair since the schools first met in a major sport in the spring of 1920, when the Bruins – then known as the Southern Branch Cubs – knocked off the Trojans in baseball, 7–6, at Exposition Park.
  45. ^ Note: The 2013 UCLA Baseball (copy available from www.uclabruins.com) media guide only lists game by game results going back to 1955. Previously, the 2007 UCLA Baseball media guide listed results back to 1975. The 2007 USC Baseball media guide (Copy available from www.usctrojans.com) states: "*All game-by-game records before the 1921 season are unavailable." One very interesting note is that the 2007 USC Baseball media guide confuses UCSB as University of California, Santa Barbara when it should be University of California, Southern Branch, the old name for UCLA. Santa Barbara State College did not become UCSB until 1947, at which time the UCSB Baseball media guide season-by-season results start.
  46. ^ Gurnick, Ken – Dodger Stadium to host college baseball. mlb.com, January 29, 2010
  47. ^ www.ifcsc.org
  48. ^ UCLA Fencing
  49. ^ USC Fencing Homepage
  50. ^ UCLA Defeats USC, 6–3, To Win Fourth-Straight NCAA Title. Women's water polo goes undefeated to win UCLA's 101st NCAA championship. UCLA Athletic Department, May 11, 2008.
  51. ^ http://ucla-usc.com/. Retrieved June 4, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  52. ^ "UCLA vs. USC Athletic Departments". great-sports-rivalries.com. Retrieved December 5, 2011. 
  53. ^ USC Olympians from the USC official Athletic site (PDF)
  54. ^ UCLA Olympic medalists from the UCLA official athletic site
  55. ^ Olympic medals by country (Olympic.it)
  56. ^ [1]
  57. ^ [2]
  58. ^ [3]
  59. ^ [4]
  60. ^ [5], America's Best Colleges 2011, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed August 16, 2010.
  61. ^ Yoon, Peter (August 10, 2012). "Jim Mora discusses campus safety". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on August 10, 2012. 
  62. ^ UCLA Fees, Tuition, and Estimated Student Budget
  63. ^ USC Estimated Cost of Attendance
  64. ^ Excerpt from 2007–08 Budget for Current Operations Appendix A Student Fees(PDF document)
  65. ^ http://otr.net/?p=jbny
  66. ^ Matshushita, Elaine (April 19, 2008). "Kathy Ireland: From bikinis to bedding". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on October 11, 2011. 
  67. ^ a b "Morning Briefing: No Matter What, Beware of the Fine Print". Los Angeles Times. 13 February 1989. Archived from the original on 2010-11-14. Retrieved 2010-11-15. "On a shelf to her left is a small Bruin bear wearing a button. The first two lines are illegible, but the bottom two are an expletive directed at USC." 
  68. ^ Newman, Bruce (7 February 1989). "Up Against The Wall". Sports Illustrated. p. 225. Retrieved 20 August 2010. 
  69. ^ "It was way too revealing". The Register-Guard. February 14, 1989. p. 2D. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • White, Lonnie – The Start of Something Big: USC vs. UCLA. Marking 75 years of the UCLA–USC rivalry. USC Trojan Family Magazine, Autumn 2004.
  • Clark, Justin – Crosstown Rivals LA Weekly. November 29, 2006. When USC and UCLA put on their academic game faces, nothing less than the future of the city is at stake.
  • White, Lonnie (August 2004). UCLA vs. USC: 75 Years of the Greatest Rivalry in Sports. Los Angeles Times Books. ISBN 1-883792-27-4. 
  • Florence, Mal – The Great Rivalries USC vs. UCLA. Athlon College Football Preview, Autumn 1990