With USC dominating Los Angeles’ college football spotlight for the vast majority of its 123-year existence, UCLA fans often wonder if their team will ever be on par with the Trojans. Besides the occasional glorious upset, no Bruins fan should maintain with a straight face that their program belongs in the same class as Southern Cal from a performance standpoint.
UCLA football carries a somewhat rich tradition itself, having boasted names like the legendary Jackie Robinson, NFL Hall-of-Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, Hall of Fame-bound tackle Jonathan Ogden, three-time Super Bowl-champion linebacker Ken Norton Jr. and perennial Pro Bowler Maurice Jones-Drew, among others.
But when compared to the hundreds of former student athletes turned NFL veterans that hail from Heritage Hall, Bruins fans have every right to assume an inferiority complex about the program’s historic success compared to the prolific achievements of their arch nemesis.
UCLA has four former players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while USC has sent 11 Trojans to the hallowed sanctuary in Canton, Ohio.
USC has won 11 national championships while UCLA has won just one (1954).
The Bruins only have one Heisman Trophy winner to brag about (quarterback Gary Beban, 1967), while Southern Cal has had seven players accept the coveted award (six if you subtract 2005 winner Reggie Bush, who was forced to surrender his trophy).
Both Los Angeles-based programs have carved respective niches in the annals of college football, but when a top recruit wants to play in Los Angeles, he tends to lean towards the cardinal and gold.
Bruin Nation would love to lure the best talent away from USC, but what’s the best strategy in making this happen consistently?
This slideshow will discuss the various steps that need to take place in order for UCLA to challenge USC in recruiting. Having the right opportunity in place is the first step towards reversing the hegemony that has taken place for almost a century since the Bruins first assembled a football team in 1919.