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USC vs UCLA: A comprehensive look at the rivalry

USC currently leads the series by a hefty margin

University Of Southern California Trojans Football

The USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins do battle annually in seemingly every sport. Maybe because the universities are so close to one another or maybe because each school offers so many athletic options, the USC-UCLA rivalry is one of the most heated contests and most anticipated events in each athletic sector, every year.

For the sake of staying in my wheelhouse, we’ll stick with just the football rivalry here for our intents and purposes here.

It is Rivalry Week after all here at SB Nation.

So, without further ado, we present a comprehensive look at the USC-UCLA rivalry in football.

How many times have the schools met?


The rival schools have met 89 total times and USC has won 50 of those games, though two of those wins were vacated in the official record books (2003 and 2004).

What do they win?

Victory Bell

Besides bragging rights, the victor of the USC-UCLA game wins the ‘Victory Bell.’ A gigantic Southern Pacific brass bell that stood atop a locomotive. It’s on a specially-designed wheeled carriage and is painted in the victorious team’s color following a win.

There’s a long history with the bell that began when USC members of the Trojan Knights happened to abscond with the bell following a game in 1941. After keeping the bell hidden for a year, only upon the threat of cancelling the entire 1942 season did the USC students agree to the compromise that the winner of the game takes home the bell after each game.

When did the rivalry begin?


September 28, 1929, when the teams first met on the gridiron. That day is even more special for USC fans as it also marks the largest victory in series history. The Trojans won, 76-0, a record that still stands today, obviously.

What other rich history belongs to the bell?

Once each team has won the bell, the following games until the annual rivalry game is played each have their own traditions. We don’t really care about UCLA’s traditions here, so we’ll just discuss the rightful place of the Victory Bell when it is rarely seen placed on Trousdale Parkway and it’s delightful sound when it would get rung during the Trojan Walk. It’s only out in public for two days a year following a victory and only displayed during the first three quarters of the USC-UCLA game. It goes back into hiding, where the rich history of its allure began.

The carriage’s cardinal red is another welcome addition when in USC’s possession.

Overall Series Results

USC leads 52-30-7

The overall series record belongs to USC at 52-30-7. The outdated tie rule that allowed the previous year’s game winner to retain the trophy in the event of a tie also means that USC has had the bell 42 times compared to UCLA’s 32, including four ties since the bell became a trophy.

USC-UCLA rivalry tidbits

There have been seven total ties in the rivalry game but only one overtime game since the new overtime rules in college football were put in place to remove ties. Fittingly enough, the new overtime rule went into effect in 1996, the last time a USC-UCLA game went to the end of regulation tied.

The schools are 13.1 miles apart by car and represent the nation’s only rivalry to reside in the same city.

The Battle for LA is real — and the Trojans have a clear leg up in that department, not just recently, winning 16 of the past 20 meetings, but altogether over the Bruins.

We’ll be back with much more content on USC’s triumphs over UCLA as Rivalry Week continues.