• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

USC-UCLA rivalry heats up as Pac-12 South Division game nears

A statue of USC mascot Tommy Trojan (left) is seen in bubble wrap and a plywood box housing UCLA mascot Joe Bruin (right) is seen with a sign that reads 'The Bear is Hibernating,' in this photo from Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. Precautions were taken to protect each school's mascot in anticipation of the Pac-12 South Division game between the cross-town rivals on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.
November 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Saturday's USC-UCLA game at the Rose Bowl will have the cross-town rivals battling it out for Pac-12 Conference South Division bragging rights.

But when Tommy Trojan is shrink-wrapped and Joe Bruin is crated in plywood, you know some serious college football rivalry is brewing.

The rivalry isn't without hijinks, hence the 24/7 student patrol surrounding USC's mascot.

"We're out here with a bell protecting Tommy and Traveler and Tirebiter making sure no UCLA Bruins try to vandalize it in any way," said Matt Schmitmeyer, a USC student.

Over at UCLA, the Bruin may be boxed up, but their school sign wasn't, and it was defaced in USC colors and expletives. That has pre-kickoff tensions rising.

The UCLA-USC rivalry is a deep-seated, decades-old college feud. With campuses a little more than a dozen miles apart, the mutual distaste is served in equal parts at both schools.

"I think it just comes from the SC tradition and we don't think UCLA has any tradition," said USC student Steven Johnson.

But the Trojans aren't alone.

"I think it's just a part of going to UCLA, you have to hate them no matter what, you don't have a choice. Ever since I've been here I can't stand them," said UCLA student Joseph Holmes.

The football rivalry has recently been a rather one-sided affair. USC has won the last five games, including last year's 50-0 blowout. It's a drubbing that is now a source of inspiration in Westwood.

"Having a blowout like that just makes us want to beat them even more so we can get back at them," said UCLA student Mutahhar Sajjad.

After a week full of bonfires and pep rallies at both schools, students are fired up -- and so are Pasadena police. With some 90,000 people expected to pack the Rose Bowl, officers are looking to keep the peace, especially after two people were stabbed in the parking lot outside the game two years ago.

"We want people to come to the granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl, and enjoy themselves and no one should have to tolerate drunken behavior or misbehavior," said Pasadena Police Lt. Phlunte Riddle.

Game time is set for 12 p.m. Saturday. Pasadena police are asking people to arrive at the stadium at 9 a.m. to avoid any delays. They are also asking people to drive in from the north side of the stadium because the south side gets too jammed. They are also encouraging people to carpool due to limited parking.


Load Comments