For the past four years, the Trojans have prevailed in the year-long, all-sport struggle against UCLA known as the Crosstown Gauntlet. As a result, the gorgeous trophy you see above has been sitting comfortably in Heritage Hall since the summer of 2008, but now the Bruins are making a charge to take it back. After a year that has included the biggest football blowout in the rivalry's history since 1930, an abysmal men's basketball season for both teams in which the Bruins got a respite from their troubles by beating the Trojans three times, and a national title added to both school's trophy cases (USC's coming by a victory over UCLA), the score is currently tied at 42.5 points each, with both teams needing 15 more points to win. The battle may be decided this weekend, as Trojans and Bruins in four different sports will face off against each other. Some will battle in conference-wide tournaments, others in head-to-head struggles. Here's what's on tap.
Tennis: The men's teams will face off against each other in the conference final, with both teams coming in with a road win against each other. Meanwhile, on the women's side, USC and UCLA will send in their doubles teams to take each other on in the conference quarterfinals, as the Women of Troy's Valeria Pulido and Zoe Scandalis take on the Lady Bruins' Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez.
Golf: Both the men's and women's teams will take part in the Pac-12 conference tournament this weekend. The Women of Troy are currently in fifth at +23, two strokes behind UCLA and eight behind current leaders Colorado and Arizona State. The men's teams are not nearly as close, as UCLA has built an eight stroke lead over USC on the back of 2012 Masters amateur champion Patrick Cantlay.
Women's Water Polo: USC and UCLA will battle each other in the MPSF semifinals today at 4 PM. USC has lost both games to the Bruins by only one goal. Flora Bolonyai will be back in the net after helping the Hungarian national team qualify for the 2012 Olympics.
Track and Field: Finally, both the men's and women's track teams will go head-to-head against the Bruins in the annual crosstown dual meet in Westwood. The men's team leads the rivalry 42-36, while the women's team trails 21-7. However, USC has swept two of the last three dual meets, and the women's team has a four-year winning streak. Football stars Marqise Lee, D.J. Morgan, and Nickell Robey are expected to compete.
Loads of Gauntlet points are up for grabs in the next few days. It's time for the spring sports teams to give Troy its fifth straight victory.