Clay de Leon reflects on the Cross-town Rivalry
So much is written about this great rivalry. Many books, magazines and newspaper articles have described the meeting between these Pac-10/crosstown foes. The record currently stands at 41-28-7, with the Trojans enjoying a comfortable lead in the series. The Trojans host the Bruins at 1:30 p.m. PST on ABC.
Growing up in Hawaii, pre-internet and really, pre-satellite television, we had the benefit of being exposed mostly to West Coast athletics. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers, and college athletics were most readily available to islanders.
I remember the likes of Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton, O.J. Simpson, Anthony Davis and Ricky Bell having a lot of press. When moving to Los Angeles to go to college, my obvious choices were USC and UCLA. Both colleges had good electrical engineering programs, so my choice for college boiled down to Football or Basketball. Football won. Football should always win.
One of my favorite memories of the rivalry is the 1990 football game when Todd Marinovich led USC and UCLA's quarterback was Tommy Maddox. Teams traded leads and the excitement in this thriller seemed to go on forever. This was truly a game for the ages. USC won this one by a score of 45-42.
My second favorite memory was actually the makings of the eight game Bruin streak and what transpired after it. This was enjoyable for several reasons. First, it was preceded by Trojan dominance to the tune of 35-19-6 and nine national championships to just one for the Bruins. Secondly, it was book ended by a Trojan consecutive streak of seven games – in this run, the Trojans won two more national championships and added three Heisman trophies to bring the Trojan hardware count to seven trophies to the Bruin's one. Finally, during the Trojan run, USC fielded teams that were simply dominating.
During the USC seven game winning streak, scores like 66-19 and 52-21 was expected and enjoyed. As we approach the 77th meeting of these crosstown rivals, the Trojans look to improve their winning tally to 42 games.
The USC – UCLA game ranks among one of the top rivalries in the country, among such great traditions as Ohio State – Michigan, Oklahoma – Texas, and Army Navy. Ironically, USC – UCLA probably takes a back seat to the USC – Notre Dame rivalry in terms of significance to the national limelight. USC – UCLA frequently determines the Rose Bowl berth, whereas USC – Notre Dame frequently has national championship implications.
Prediction: USC 31 UCLA 13