The University of Southern California boasts one of the most successful athletics programs in the nation.
The Trojans have won 117 National Championships and have produced the most Olympic medals of any university. Many schools have been biting at the Trojans heels for over a century, looking to dethrone the athletic dynasty.
Here is a list of USC’s top three rivals in collegiate sports.
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The rivalry between these schools begins and ends with the epic clash of USC-ND Football. These teams first battled it out on the gridiron in 1926 and have remained enemies ever since.
Both teams have 11 national championships and both have produced seven Heisman winners. The victor of the annual contest receives the Jeweled Shillelagh trophy, which is an Irish Club made of oak, from Ireland.
Believe it or not Trojan fans, Notre Dame is the big brother in this rivalry, leading the all time match-up 43-34-5. Over the last 15 years, however, the Trojans are 11-4, including a forfeited victory in 2005.
As a fun fact, when a tie occurs, which has happened five times, a combined Trojan head/shamrock medallion is added to the Shillelagh trophy.
Hated Figures: Joe Theismann, Joe Montana, Lou Holtz, Gerry Faust, and Charlie Weis
2. Stanford Cardinal
When the word on the street is that USC is considered the Stanford of Southern California, you know an intense rivalry must exist on and off the field.
Stanford is actually USC’s oldest rival, dating back to their first meeting in 1905. In football, USC leads the all-time series 59-27-3. Although football has historic tradition, what makes this rivalry special is the number of sports these two compete in and the quality of that competition that has been on display for over 100 years.
When it comes to Olympic success, the Stanford Cardinal and the USC Trojans rank near the top. Both schools consistently produce high quality teams not only in the major sports, but also the non-revenue sports.
And there’s always the hilarious what’s your deal moment, between former USC and Stanford head coaches Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh in 2009.
Finally, a mention of the contrast in styles of the marching bands. Stanford’s Giancarlo Aquilanti loves to let his band members make a mockery of the opposing school, by prodding at their mishaps and institutional flaws. Meanwhile, USC’s Arthur C. Bartner demands perfection, symmetry and class in every musical performance.
Hated Figures: Bill Walsh, Jim Harbaugh, John Elway, Andrew Luck, Jim Plunkett, and Darrin Nelson
1. UCLA Bruins
The battle for L.A. is a big deal to Angelinos, often dividing family lines and local communities over who supports the Bruins and who supports the Trojans. The first time these teams met in football was 1929, when the Trojans trounced the Bruins, 76-0. Last year, in the most recent installment of the hated series, USC won in similar fashion, 50-0.
USC leads the overall football meetings 46-28-7, but UCLA dominates the basketball tally, leading the overall series 132-104, while accumulating an impressive 11 national championships.
Some other notes:
- Both schools have organizations dedicated to guarding their campuses the week of the football match-up.
- The Victory Bell is awarded to the winner of the football game.
- The Crosstown Gauntlet is an all-sports competition between the two schools.
The reality is that True Blue and Cardinal just don’t blend.
Hated Figures: All UCLA coaches, players, fans, alumni and students.
Other Notable Rivalries: Oregon, California, Ohio State, Texas, Pepperdine and Washington.