Lexus Gauntlet

Who would have thought that it would have generated any interest? The winner of this UCLA-USC head-to-head competition will probably be decided in the next couple of weeks...

When the Lexus Gauntlet competition was introduced at the beginning of the school year, it was thought that it wasn't much more than a contrived effort to generate more interest in UCLA and USC sports.

It was conceived as a trophy that is given to either UCLA or USC depending on the schools' success against each other for that school year in all sports.

Now, wouldn't you think, in any school year, UCLA would dominate USC and there wouldn't be any competition? It took a down year in UCLA sports for USC to make it competitive, which is exactly what has happened. (I know, I'm going to get it from my USC "friends.")

The Lexus Gauntlet has been giving points throughout the year to each school as it beats the other in the 18 sports where they face each other. Currently, USC leads UCLA by a very small margin.

But it's going to come down to this: UCLA and USC play each other in women's tennis Thursday. If USC wins, the Trojans win the trophy. If UCLA wins, the Bruins need to win only one of three remaining games against USC in baseball to win the Lexus Gauntlet.

The UCLA and USC women's tennis teams meet in the NCAA Sweet 16 at Stanford on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. They have faced each other twice so far this year, and have split the matches. UCLA, though, is favored to win the match, being ranked #5 in the nation, while USC is ranked 11th. UCLA is seeded 7th in the tournament while USC is seeded 11th.

If UCLA's women's tennis team wins on Thursday, then UCLA's baseball team would have to win one of the three remaining games it has with USC at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium May 24-26. USC has beaten UCLA in three previous meetings this season. If USC wins all three baseball games, the gauntlet would officially end in a tie. In the tie-breaker situation, USC would win since it would hold a 16-15 edge in games played in all sports.

But there is also the possibility that UCLA and USC could meet in the men's NCAA championships, however remote. The only way they'd meet would be in the NCAA final, and both squads would have to beat three successive opponents to meet in the championship. If that happened to occur, and USC beat UCLA in the men's NCAA tennis championship (May 21st), the Trojans would then only have to win one of the three baseball games to clinch the Gauntlet.

Got all this?

No matter. Bottom line, Bruins and Trojans have suddenly become big women's tennis fans.

So, I guess the intention of the Lexus Gauntlet was effective after all…


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