Being a fan of college sports is a reality unlike any other. College football fans often find themselves in the position of having to root for another team to win a game that will increase their team’s post-season chances. From the moment their team loses their first game, these fans find themselves quietly rooting for any team playing someone that stands in the way of their National Title hopes. Some fans will even make quiet deals with the devil.
Without question, any true fan of their college team has found themselves in the aforementioned positions at least once per season. Yet, despite all of this, many college football fans struggle with supporting a rival within a conference, as normally, one is conditioned to hate them.
This task becomes even harder for fans of teams the college football world considers “blue bloods.” Schools like Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, USC, and Notre Dame would fall into this category. See, fans of these teams aren’t just convinced that their team is the best in the conference, but the best team in the history of college football.
The USC Trojans have long been the cream of the Pacific-12 crop for football. They boast more National Titles, Heismans, and conference championships than any other member of the conference. The Trojans are so dominant that they have more bowl victories (31) than seven of the remaining nine teams. Washington and UCLA, the two teams remaining, have 31 & 32 appearances, respectively.
Now, you might be asking yourself what this has to do with Oregon and I am getting there, I promise.
Moving down the line, UCLA sits in a heated race with Washington, Cal, Stanford, and Oregon for 2nd place in conference titles. There are only seven conference championships separating UCLA (2nd) from Oregon (6th). After Oregon there’s a pretty significant drop off. Oregon State, Wazzu, Arizona State, and Arizona comfortable sit at the bottom of the division’s top performers.
The point of all that was to illustrate that USC has long stood atop the Pac-12 by themselves and it’s not very close. And Trojan fans rejoice, right? As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast.” Now, many Trojan fans may be a bit confused at this point, but it is important to remember that the sport is always bigger than the team. The only reason that USC even has a sense of tradition is because the sport endured. You cannot enjoy the tradition of a game without the game itself.
This begs the question…