Covering the Rivalries: College Football Teams and the Tradition of Friendly Competition
The roots of today’s college football rivalries run deep. They span decades. They form very clearly divided lines between fans. They make watching the games that much more impassioned and interesting. Whether it’s Ohio State vs. Michigan, Auburn vs. Alabama, Army vs. Navy, Harvard vs. Yale or USC Notre Dame, college football rivalries are rampant throughout the sport. Of these, USC and UCLA is the only one of these rivalries in which both teams call the same city home, making for some very heated battles on the field. From the USC mascot to the UCLA cheerleaders, every aspect of those games is divided down very clear lines. Either you’re a USC fan or you’re a UCLA fan. You simply can’t be both.
The rivalry is never as acute as on that one day a year when the city of L.A. is divided into the Cardinal red and gold of the Trojans and the blue and gold of the Bruins. The energy of that particular game is absolutely palpable. The Rose Bowl is something of a citywide holiday in Los Angeles.
What makes the Rose Bowl particularly worthy of coverage by such storied reporters as Win McMurry is the deep traditions that each team brings to the game. On the USC side, there’s the crimson and gold jerseys bearing no names on the backs, the Trojan Marching Band belting out “Conquest” and “Fight On,” and Tommy Trojan. UCLA brings with it white cleats, powder blue and gold jerseys, Bruin Bear, the Bruin Marching Band and the Sounds of Westwood. Those traditions are part of what gets each respective team’s fans so involved.
The prize for which these two teams battle each year is bragging rights on their home turf of Los Angeles. The winner is awarded the Victory Bell, a relic from an old railway train on the Southern Pacific railroad that ways gifted to the UCLA student body in 1939. Two years later, in 1941, the Bell was “borrowed” by the Trojan Knights. They stole it during the season’s opening game, hiding it for more than a year! After years of the Bell being “borrowed” back and forth by each team throughout the season, a truce was declared and instead, the Bell became the prize awarded to the annual winner of the USC-UCLA football game.
If you live in Los Angeles and are a college football fan, there’s no time in your schedule to look at Oregon cheerleaders, or any other team’s cheerleaders for that matter. There’s only one fence and you are either on one side of it or the other: USC or UCLA.