Known as the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football, these two teams have been playing since 1926 with Notre Dame leading the all-time series 45-36-5. The two teams are historically national powerhouses, and this matchup has decided who plays for the national championship on multiple occasions. In fact, these two programs combine for the most national championships (11 each), Heisman winners (7 each), and All-Americans/Hall of Famers (12 each) of any collegiate football rivalry. The two programs are also tied for the most players taken in the NFL Draft (479 each) and the USC-ND games throughout the years have accounted for 5 of the top 10 most-watched college football games ever. The trophy for this rivalry is the Jeweled Shillelagh which is an old Irish symbol that is fitted with either a new green or red jewel every year depending on who wins the matchup.
The term cross-town rivalry doesn’t accurately describe how interconnected these two fan bases are and thus the intensity of this annual rivalry. The two schools are both located in the city of Los Angeles with just twelve miles separating the two campuses. During a few seasons in the 1980s the two schools both played their home games at the LA Coliseum, and as a result, when they played each other both teams wore their home uniforms. This tradition was revived in 2008 despite the fact the two schools no longer share a venue. The winner of this annual matchup has been awarded the Victory Bell since 1941. USC is leading the trophy series 39-31-4.
These two teams have been playing one another since 1915. No team in history has lost to USC more than Cal, with the all-time record 67-30-5 in favor of USC. USC has won the past eleven meetings, dating back to 2003.
Trojans Tailgate Guide
Tailgating at USC is a great experience you’ve got the beautiful Southern California weather, raucously drunk students looking to cheer on their school, die-hard fans that live throughout the city and congregate to watch the Trojans, and even the casual fans that want to catch a game at the legendary LA Coliseum. All you have to do to join in on the fun is deck yourself out in cardinal and gold and you’ll fit right in. As long as you’re in cardinal and gold, everyone will be super friendly as being a Trojan fans bands everyone at the tailgate together, however, if you are wearing opposition colors be a bit more careful as you will most likely experience some heckling.
The student tailgates at USC are raucous, as everyone gets up bright and early to cheer on the Trojans. Throughout campus, you’ll hear loud music and smell the delicious aromas of food being prepared. The quad is packed, and everyone is ready to put in their best effort toward propelling the Trojans to victory.
One of the best pregame traditions at USC is the Trousdale Walk. Before every home game, fans get a chance to see the USC Trojan marching band as they walk down Trousdale Parkway playing some famous SC tunes. It is a great transition to the game as listening to the marching band play the fight song will surely get you and your fellow fans into the game day mood. Tailgating at USC is a great way to spend the morning before kicking some flagpoles and make your way to the Coliseum to cheer on the Trojans.
A beloved USC tradition, fans kick the USC flagpole at the end of Trousdale before entering the stadium for good luck. The loud noise of superstitious Trojans kicking the base of the pole can be heard continuously as fans pack into the Coliseum.
A symbol of the University since 1930, life-sized bronze Tommy Trojan has been a favorite meeting spot for students and a traditional photo opportunity for fans. Its official name is the Trojan Shrine, and students now guard it every night before the USC-UCLA rivalry game because of UCLA’s reputation for vandalizing the statue. The university even goes so far as to wrap it in duct tape to protect it from being painted by UCLA students.
Heritage Hall opened at the heart of the USC campus in 1971 to house the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, but it has recently been renovated to include a museum. The $35 million project added a two-story museum to showcase the athletes, teams, and coaches that have contributed to the USC athletic program. The space also houses offices, a sports performance center, a broadcast studio, and an indoor golf driving range in addition to new locker rooms, meeting rooms, an equipment room, and event space.
Where to tailgate
Traveler StatueTailgating under the Traveler Statue provides an excellent tailgate spot as it puts you in the heart of the action. It also allows you to beat the crowd when it comes time to entering the stadium.
Tommy TrojanSetting up next to Tommy Trojan is also a good option as it makes it easy for people to find you in the sea of cardinal and gold.
Parking Lots near Exposition ParkThis is a great spot to tailgate if you’re driving to the game and looking to set up a tailgate party of your own. Here you’ll also be able to meet up with other USC alumni making for a great tailgate atmosphere.
Sports ArenaIf you’re just looking to grab a quick drink before the game then the Sports Arena will fit the bill. The full bar here has plenty of choices, so stop by and grab a drink.
Trojan Tailgate ClubThe Trojan Tailgate Club puts on a great tailgate featuring everything you could want in a tailgate. They have plenty of food, drinks, and TVs so stop on by and make some new friends. They are also away fan friendly, so it’s a great spot to check out even if you don’t support the Trojans.
Trojans Stadium Guide
The atmosphere at a USC football game combines rabid fandom from the local die-hards and students with the weather and attitudes of an LA beach party. LA didn’t have an NFL team for over 20 years, and because of that, the local USC faithful claim that their team is LA’s true football team, to the disagreement of their rival UCLA Bruins. Due to the Trojans huge success under Pete Carroll from 2000-2009, their fan base grew to record heights, and that legacy has made a mark on a national level. While USC has had a few down years recently, their fans are still some of the most dedicated fans and still generate more of a buzz than UCLA. Get ready for unforgettable Southern California weather with some of the most dedicated fans in the country.
You’ll also get to take part in some of the best traditions in all of college football when attending a USC game. You’ll see Traveler perform in person as well as be able to join in on the singing of USC’s fight song, “Fight On!” The fans here brim with passion and tradition making attending a USC game a once in a lifetime experience that should be on any football fan’s bucket list.
It’s not just the fans that make going to a USC game an incredible experience that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. The stadium itself is one of the most historic stadiums in the country being one of the few if not only stadiums to have hosted the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the Olympics. The place is chalked full of history for you to check out when you make your visit. You’ll see plenty of artifacts and tributes to the great athletes that have competed at the stadium whether for on the gridiron for USC, on the diamond, or in the Olympics. The rabid fans along with the history of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum make a USC game a can’t miss the experience that you’ll be talking to your friends about for years to come.
Also known as the Olympic Torch, it was built for the Coliseum when it hosted the Olympics in 1932 and 1984. It still stands today and is lit during the fourth quarter of USC football games and other special occasions.
The Court of Honor is a series of plaques that recognize the memorable events and athletes that have taken place at the Coliseum. It includes a full list of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic gold medalists. Stop by the Court of Honor to pay tribute to some of the greatest athletes to ever compete at the Coliseum.
Traveler is the name of the regal white horse that Tommy the Trojan will ride around during games. At the beginning of the game he and the Trojan come out to Conquest with the marching band. Traveler first made an appearance in 1961 and the current mascot is Traveler VII.
The two-fingered salute created with the extended index and middle fingers is often displayed by Trojan fans to symbolize victory, but it has a much deeper historical significance. When ancient Trojans would defeat an opponent, they would cut the first two fingers of an enemy’s right hand so they couldn’t hold a sword. Then, to mock them, the Trojans would hold up their still-attached two fingers. Show off your Trojan pride by displaying this victory symbol as you cheer on USC.
The USC Fight Song is played after every touchdown and after crucial plays. The crowd will often give the ‘V for Victory’ hand salute as the song plays. If you would like to better learn the USC Fight Song both the video and lyrics, have been provided.
Fight On for ol’ SC
Our men Fight On to victory.
Our Alma Mater dear,
looks up to you
Fight On and win
For ol’ SC
Fight On to victory
All hail to Alma Mater,
To thy glory we sing;
All hail to Southern California,
Loud let thy praises ring;
Where Western sky meets Western sea
Our college stands in majesty.
Sing our love to Alma Mater,
Hail, all hail to thee.
“Conquest” is played at the beginning of the games, and anytime Traveler runs around the field. A vital song for the USC faithful that gets the mascot and everyone else involved.
The ingredients are of the highest possible quality, including all-beef patties and hot dogs, french fries prepared with vegetable oil, real cheese, fresh chopped onions, and extra-thick slices of tomato.