USC Football: USC-UCLA Rivalry Becomes Absurd as UCLA Bans Trojan Drum Major

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USC Football: USC-UCLA Rivalry Becomes Absurd as UCLA Bans Trojan Drum Major
Jeff Golden/Getty Images
Stabbing of the Rose Bowl Field in 2008

The cross-town rivalry between USC and UCLA has always been heated. After all, these two schools share a city and run into each other frequently—often across their own family dinner tables.  However, in the past couple of days the rivalry has taken a turn for the absurd and the Bruins (or bRuins as Trojans like to call them) are just embarrassing themselves.

It is a tradition for the USC Drum Major to take the field in the pre-game, march to mid-field (50-yard line for those not paying attention—cough, cough, Bruins) and stab the field.

USC has been doing this since—well, on UCLA’s field since roughly 1971, the year after Dr. Arthur Bartner took over the Spirit of Troy Trojan Marching Band. (It is possible that this tradition stretches back even further, but I was unable to verify that.)

But the point is lost on the Bruins who are whining and crying and who petitioned their Athletic Director Dan Guerrero (“Chianti Dan” as the UCLA faithful call him, a moniker which never ceases to amuse even me, a gal who bleeds Cardinal and Gold) to have USC stop this tradition when taking the field at the Rose Bowl.

Why? They see it as disrespectful.

Hold on a moment, I just spit my wine at my screen. I’m sorry, the Bruins, they are making it way too easy to make fun of them—and it should not be this easy to ridicule them. These are two great institutions of higher learning that inhabit a world-class city and have long standing histories of both academic and athletic excellence.

So the USC Drum Major stabbing mid-field—where the UCLA logo is—is suddenly disrespectful?

Does this smack of sour grapes after last year’s 50-0 loss to anyone else? After all, USC’s Drum Major has been performing this very stabbing of the field at UCLA for more than 40 years.

They just don’t get it.

It isn’t about disrespecting the UCLA logo. (Which, frankly is hard not to do, given the putrid wussy blue that is their predominant school color) USC stabs mid-field at EVERY game they play. They stab the USC logo, the Stanford logo, The Notre Dame logo, the Oregon logo.

If the USC Drum Major takes the field and stabs it, the USC Trojan Marching Band will be prohibited from playing the pre-game and halftime shows.

Really? Are they freaking serious? Way to get your panties in a wad, citizens of Westwood.

What are the Bruins going to do next? Ask Oregon’s mascot Puddles to put on pants? Ask Colorado not to let Ralphie run across the field? Ask Traveler to wear a diaper? Forbid opposing football players from wearing cleats?

They are being ridiculous, whiny, childish and are both embarrassing themselves and degrading the great rivalry between USC and UCLA.  They are disrespecting tradition—which might be the point, as Trojans place an emphasis on their tradition. In fact, the USC on-campus bar’s name is, in fact, Traditions.

It is just a shame that the Bruins have to distract from what could be the best game in this rivalry in over a decade. It’s been a decade plus of dominance for USC, with the Trojans taking 12 of the last 13 games. The winner of Saturday’s matchup wins the Pac-12 South and earns a trip to the Pac-12 championship game.

Speaking of that, I have to share the following from the Bruins Nation article I linked to above:

“After all, a victory on Saturday will earn you our second consecutive Pac-12 South championship.”

I’m sorry; I’ll give you all a moment to wipe whatever beverage you were drinking off your computer screen.

That’s right, the bRuins (had to!) are bragging about slipping into the Pac-12 championship game last season by default due to USC’s continuing lack of post season eligibility. This was after the Trojans dismantled UCLA 50-0. The Bruins faced an Oregon team USC had also beaten, and, quite frankly, had their asses handed to them.

UCLA, then 6-7, went on to petition the NCAA to go to a post-season bowl, tying the worst record of any previous bowl game participant. The Bruins lost their bowl game, ending their season with the worst record of any bowl eligible team at 6-8.

This, my Trojans, is the season Bruin Nation is now bragging about. What’s that meme—Bruins U R DOIN‘ IT WRONG? 

So you see how irresistible it is to poke fun at UCLA. You see how easy they are making it. Too easy, in fact.  This overreaction from UCLA’s fanbase smacks of their inferiority complex when it comes to USC.


After all, the series record is overwhelmingly in USC’s favor at 46-28-7.  USC football claims 11 National Championships to UCLA’s one (1954). USC has six Heisman trophies (not including the abdicated one) to UCLA’s one (Gary Beban, 1967). When it comes to football, USC is the big brother to UCLA’s runty little brother. 

And this finally raises the ire of the Bruins. It took a 50-0 loss last year to awaken the beast in Westwood, and I, for one, am amused and relieved by it. It SHOULD be a great rivalry. However, placing the attack on the band is pretty misguided and lame.

Especially when the Bruins football team hasn’t scored on USC since 2010.

For the record, USC responded to UCLA’s request with absolute weak sauce. Sure, higher road and all of that, but the Trojan fans amusement is baited. It is going to be an epic week of shenanigans. In fact, I am urging all Trojans to download “Tusk” to their phones so we can play it CONSTANTLY Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

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