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UCLA Magazine Summer 2004
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Summer 2004 Bruin Walk


Rah-rah boo-hiss

"UCLA" Spelled Out by UCLA Students on the FieldLegendary Bruin coach Red Sanders nailed it when he said: "Beating 'SC is not a matter of life and death. It's more important than that.'' Sanders, who led UCLA's football squad from 1949 to 1957, knew a thing or two about the rivalry; his teams won six of their nine matchups against the detested Trojans.

In UCLA vs. USC: 75 Years of the Greatest Rivalry in Sports, due out from Los Angeles Times Books in August, the history of this most heated of collegiate pairings is chronicled from its roots when UCLA was known as the Southern Branch and USC students mocked their cross-town foes as "twigs." (The two schools first met in 1920 and the Southern Branch Cubs defeated the Trojans' vaunted baseball team 7-6 at Exposition Park.)

While the author, L.A. Times sportswriter Lonnie White, is a Trojan, sources at the paper's book-publishing division (which is contributing 5 percent of the book's gross revenues to UCLA) affirmed that some of the book's editors are Bruins and have gone the extra mile to ensure that no unfair bias has crept onto the pages. As White describes it, the rivalry is more than intense; it at times resembles warfare. "With campuses less than 12 miles apart, it's often friend against friend, brother against brother and family against family," he writes.

Sign Showing UCLA's Contempt toward USCIn one of six forewords written by UCLA and USC sports stars — Bill Walton '74, John Wooden and Rafer Johnson '59 for the Bruins (insert a rousing chorus of "Sons of Westwood" here!) and three other guys for USC (boo, hiss, shake car keys and wave dollar bills) — basketball great Walton recalls his first varsity game against the Trojans, when he was elbowed in the mouth and spent the rest of the contest spitting teeth and blood.

"The Trojans," Walton writes, "represented the devil. Whenever UCLA defeated USC, that meant everything was right in the universe."



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