USC vs. UCLA Roundtable: Is the Rivalry Back?

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Reign of Troy Staff

Michael Castillo (@ReignOfTroy):

Yes. For a rivalry that is tightly woven into the history of Los Angeles, the city hasn’t had a long period of fielding two highly-ranked teams in over 20 years. In 2005, both teams were ranked in the top 10, but UCLA came into the game as heavy underdogs, with a talent gap that was so prevalent that only the Bruins’ Marcedes Lewis may have been able to start on offense had he played for the Trojans. That game had buzz and hype going into it with College Gameday’s visit to the Coliseum, but it doesn’t come close to the heat that we’re seeing now. From issues between the bands and administrations, to student hi-jinx and the creation of a fake Randall Goforth twitter account, the passion between the fan bases seems to be at an all-time high, or perhaps it only feels like that because it’s been so long since the series was tight. Plus, the 50-0 win by USC last year really went a long way at establishing a tone of angst between the sides that wouldn’t have been there had Troy been victorious 27-10.

Trenise Ferreira (@Trenise_RoT):

Over the past decade the rivalry has been a figment of UCLA’s imagination, and Trojan fans know it. Winning only once over a 12-year span, putting up only 35 points in the past five years, and getting shutout in embarrassing fashion in 2011 have done nothing to convince the cardinal and gold clad that they don’t run Los Angeles. With USC being a football school and UCLA being the basketball one, the rivalry between the two only feels legitimate when the two actually seem to be on level playing field. So this year, with the Bruins being ranked above USC for the first time since the Pete Carroll Era, the rivalry is definitely showing signs of life. This game will say a lot for coaches Lane Kiffin and Jim Mora; for Kiffin, its about extending USC’s winning streak and for Mora, it’s about changing the narrative of the matchup altogether. Depending on the outcome, this game will surely be talked about for rivalries to come.

Alicia De Artola (@PenguinOfTroy):

UCLA’s campaign to stop the USC drum major from stabbing the field before the game tells me that the rivalry is not alive and well. Rivalry is all about tradition. And I’m sorry UCLA, but if you didn’t complain about stabbing the field the first time it happened, then you can’t complain now. Let your team defend your logo with their play on the field. I guarantee you that if UCLA was on a winning streak against USC they wouldn’t be making a big deal out of a harmless pregame tradition. This “controversy” shows just how far UCLA has fallen, which is a shame because Jim Mora has his Bruins playing as well as they have in years. The lead up to this game should have been about how UCLA actually has a team that could score on USC for the first time since 2010. Instead, it’s about how UCLA is so easily offended that they would ban the USC band from playing at half time or performing at the Rose Bowl in the future. The Spirit Of Troy only takes the field on the road against USC rivals. Cal, Stanford and Notre Dame don’t throw fits when the drum major stabs their field. If UCLA wants to believe that the rivalry is back, then they should act like true rivals and stand for tradition as well.

Charles Gilmore (@biggil91):

I wouldn’t say that the rivalry is officially back, but this is a great start. In order for the rivalry to be fully restored, UCLA will have to consistently win games that matter. They would have to get to the Rose Bowl or get invites to other BCS bowls. This season is a big start towards that goal for UCLA and some of the things they have done in Westwood are reminiscent of the beginning of the Pete Carroll era at USC, as they have hired a young, energetic NFL coach who is defensive minded. The question will be: how does that play out in recruiting? Jim Mora still needs to sell the program in order to pluck a couple of top recruits that would otherwise go to USC. That is when the rivalry really begins. When two local programs are fishing in the same pond for the big guppies.

Oliver Twist (@FightOnTwist):

There would first need to be a football “rivalry” for the rivalry to be “back.” USC has only lost this game once since 1999. Not much by way of a rivalry, if you ask me. That said, this game looks to be more competitive than the the last five years have been, and during that time, UCLA has been outscored 158-35. The Bruins will probably be more competitive, but this game is rivalry in name only.

Evan Budrovich (@evanbud):

For the first time since 1998, UCLA could win the Pac-12. Who stands in their way? The Men of Troy. The 2012 edition of Conquest has postseason implications on the line. USC vs. UCLA is back, these two football teams are both nationally ranked, while sitting in consecutive spots in the rankings. The Rose Bowl will be popping on Saturday because Bruin fans realize they have quite a strong team this year that could actually amend last season’s 50-0 beat-down, and this Saturday’s game will be by far the most intense matchup of the decade because it will have more on the line than the annual Gauntlet, as Pac-12 bling is on the line.

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Tags: Football UCLA Bruins USC Trojans

  • GoJoeBruinUCLA

    So glad only one of your staffers thought the rivalry doesn’t exist because some stupid, small tradition was discontinued ON THE ROAD in Pasadena in our home field. Of course, when fans let that dominate the narrative of the actual game, that’s when college football gets spoiled.

    • Michael Castillo

      There’s four traditional California Pac-12 schools. All four bring their full bands to the others and play both halftime and pregame shows. It’s what our collective tradition entails, and it’s a part of the ensemble of the four-way rivalry that was fought so hard by university presidents to uphold within the Pac-12 scheduling meetings. Within that, USC’s regular and traditional routine was compromised because UCLA took it as a slight, despite it being done for more than 30 years and 15 previous times at the Rose Bowl for a USC-UCLA game, dating back to 1982. There’s 1,000 more important things for UCLA to be concerned about than a pregame tradition of the opposing team that isn’t done with disrespect in mind, including parking lot security.

      And fans are clearly making the narrative of the game because of how BN went on a crusade to make it happen, whether or not they were the determining factor.

      Now, is that a reason for the rivalry not being ‘back’? Perhaps not. I personally do not agree, and guess what: that’s OK. That’s an opinion, and she’s granted a say in the matter. You shared your opinion in the roundtable and no one is out here commenting on yours or using subtle phrases as ‘your sister editor’ or anything of the like.

      • GoJoeBruinUCLA

        I’m entitled to voraciously disagree and even belittle opinions, too.

        BN went on to make it happen, UCLA fans haven’t mentioned it since. We won. Deal with it.

        As I said above, the Internet exists, making these things more noticeable and easier to lobby to the higher-ups at UCLA. All while a Pac-12 promo video made it a highlight reel to show the Drum Major stabbing our logo.

        And I don’t mind if someone commented on my opinion on the roundtable. I’d welcome anyone to challenge it.

    • PenguinOfTroy

      No, I said the rivalry is not alive and well. It has nothing to do with W-L EXCEPT for the fact that UCLA suddenly all offended by it now when they happen to have lost 12 of 13. Guess what? USC stabbed the field in the 1990s too. Didn’t hear UCLA fans crying to the AD to stop the drum major then. Back when UCLA won for years and years in a row we didn’t hear one peep about our traditions being “disrespectful.” If the rivalry was truly alive then UCLA would win a game more than once in a decade and wouldn’t have to throw a fit over something as harmless as sticking a sword in the ground.
      USC has lost to Stanford four years in a row but we still let the completely and utterly disrespectful Stanford band on our field at the Coliseum. You know what we do to them? We mock them back. That’s what true rivals do.
      My point is that UCLA needs to grow up before I’ll say that the rivalry is back. As it stands now they still have an inferiority complex, as evidenced by this whole ridiculous charade.

      • GoJoeBruinUCLA

        First of all, the sword thing wasn’t an issue until it was used in a goddamn highlight reel by the Pac-12. After that, it was a problem. Second, the Internet wasn’t much of a thing in the 1990s so these efforts don’t go noticed as often. You should know this.

        Inferiority complex? Please. The only thing we don’t burn you in is football. Academically? We scoff at anyone mentioning SC in the same breath as us. Basketball? NCAA championships? College town? Prestigious alum? Accomplishments and innovation? None of it is any contest: UCLA bests you in everything. So sure, when our little sister across town does something better than we do (football), we try to bring ‘em down a notch.

        And I’ll say this over and over: That’s your tradition, not ours. I don’t give a damn if you’ve been doing it for 40 years. We don’t have any obligation to preserve it.

  • GoJoeBruinUCLA

    And another thing, it was considered a rivalry in the 1990s but apparently W-L records determine rivalries only. So I guess the rivalry hasn’t existed for decades since UCLA and USC keep switching off every 10 years.

    • Michael Castillo

      If you want to make that argument, you should have made it in the roundtable.