How Much Do You Know About the USC vs UCLA Football Rivalry?


By: J. Reinoehl

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Brrr! It's cold in here! There's a cold war brewing in California, and this rivalry has been brewing for decades! Professional sports might have you cheering between Yankees/Red Sox or Giants/Cowboys, but in the world of the NCAA, the rivalry is between USC and UCLA. How much do you know about their football rivalry?

Fighting over the same city, USC and UCLA are no strangers to fighting over their turf. Found across all sports, their rivalry goes into basketball, soccer, and even fencing. Within their smaller rivalries, UCLA dominates in basketball, but everyone's truly watching these two teams within their football rivalry. 

Just a 20-minute drive from each other, the Bruins' and the Trojans' rivalry is one of the oldest within NCAA sports. Often referred to as the Crosstown Showdown, USC and UCLA are facing up against each other every season. Their rivalry continues with every game, a trophy being passed on from winner to winner. Can you remember all that goes into this deep-rooted rivalry?

Can you name USC and UCLA's mascots? Do you know which school leads their rivalry? Do you know which team NFL professionals Troy Aikman and Reggie Bush played for? If you can, you're ready for this quiz!

With a rivalry that's been going on for 60+ years, how much do you know about the USC vs. UCLA football rivalry? Enough to win the Lexus Gauntlet time and time again? Let's find out!

Are you making it to the top of this rivalry?

In which city are the UCLA and USC campuses?

“The pressure people put on themselves and the rivalry between the teams is much more marked. And I think that's a good thing. As long as that rivalry remains within the spirit of competition, it con only spur everyone on.” –Eric Cantona


Which college sends more players to the NFL (as of 2017)?

USC played its first football game in 1888. The score was 16-0 Trojans.


John Wooden coached basketball for which team?

"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one.” –John Wooden


In what year is the rivalry said to have started?

There are many college football rivalries. The UCLA-USC rivalry is unique in that it spans all the college sports, instead of just football.


Which team has a better record in basketball (as of 2017)?

"What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.” –John Wooden


Pete Carroll coached which team?

Pete Carroll began his career with a 2-5 record, but he won 67 of his next 74 games.


Who has the most football wins as of 2017?

“At USC, if you're running back there, and you do gain you over 1,500 yards, people see you as a candidate, but not one of the top ones.” –Marcus Allen


What incident was the first prank between the two colleges?

To steal the bell, the USC students pretended to be UCLA students and helped the two guys responsible for transporting it. They managed to steal the keys from one of them, and after the bell was loaded on the truck, one of the USC students took off with it and hid it in a fraternity basement.


Which team did Reggie Bush play for?

"I feel like it's God's plan is for me to play football and make a difference in people's lives.” –Reggie Bush


What is the name of the award given to the winning team of the football game?

The bell was a gift recycled from an old locomotive. UCLA would ring it every time they scored during their games.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played basketball for which team?

"One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” –Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


Carson Palmer played football for which team?

Carson Palmer currently (2017) plays as the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. He is 37 years old and has a quarterback rating of 84.4.


How far apart are the two schools located?

“Rivalry adds so much to the charms of one's conquests.” –Louisa May Alcott


Which team uses the colors blue and gold?

The blue is for the ocean and local wildflowers, and the gold is for the “Golden State,” the California poppy, and sunsets. USC’s colors are cardinal red and gold.


Which team has sent more players to the MLB?

Some people wanted me to be the Latino quarterback. Some people wanted me to be the USC quarterback who happens to be Latino.” –Mark Sanchez


Which college dumped 500 pounds of manure on the other college’s mascot by helicopter in 1958?

The rumor is that the manure blew back in the UCLA students’ faces, and little fell on Tommy. Incidentally, airflow from helicopter blades is downward and outward so how much got on the students and how much landed on the statue depends on who is telling the story.


What is the name of USC’s home football stadium?

“It's intense in every sport. No matter what, USC vs. UCLA is crazy. Especially when it comes down to football and basketball, it's just nuts.” –Akeem Ayers


Which team did actor Tom Selleck play basketball for?

Selleck attended USC on a basketball scholarship and majored in business administration. He played in 1965 as a forward.


What charity do the colleges participate in (and try to out-donate each other) during rivalry week?

“The thrust of ambition is, and always has been, great, but among the bright-eyed it had once a more adventurous and individualistic air, a much more bracing rivalry.” –Louis Kronenberger


What was the name given to the all-sports competition between the two schools that have been officially sponsored by Lexus and BMW in the past?

The all-year, all-sport competition was initially funded by Lexus and then by BMW. It awards points to the winning team of head-to-head match-ups in each of the NCAA sanctioned sports in which the colleges participate.


What is the name of the Friday night flag football game between USC’s ROTC and UCLA’s ROTC?

“We must love one another, yes, yes, that's all true enough, but nothing says we have to like each other. It may be the very recognition of all men as our brothers that accounts for the sibling rivalry, and even enmity, we have toward so many of them.” –Peter De Vries


Who has the longest winning streak in football?

The winning streak occurred from 1991 to 1999. The longest USC won in a row was seven times from 1999 to 2005. Currently (as of 2017), USC has won the past three games between the rivals.


Reggie Miller played basketball for which team?

"I don’t have the physical talent those guys have. My hard work has made me very good.” –Reggie Miller


What is UCLA’s mascot?

Initially, UCLA was the “Southern Branch” of the University of California and so they took the Cubs as their mascot to accent their relationship with the California Bears. In 1923, they became the Grizzlies, but have been the Bruins since joining the Pacific Coast Conference in 1928.


Troy Aikman played football for which team?

"…I ran the Wishbone in college. When I got to Dallas, I scrambled a lot… As I got older, my legs got heavier and heavier. I had back issues, and that really is what led to my retirement…” –Troy Aikman


Which team released 30,000 crickets in the other team’s college library?

Before releasing the crickets, USC students painted all of them cardinal red and gold. They were released in 1989 during finals week.


What is the name of UCLA’s basketball court?

"Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” –John Wooden


Which NCAA conference are USC and UCLA members of?

Both colleges are noted for their player contribution to the Olympics. In recent years, USC was ahead with 467 total students sent to the Olympics who won 308 medals (144 of them gold). However, UCLA is not far behind with 429 Olympians and 262 medals (133 of them gold).


What is USC’s mascot?

“I never criticize a player until they are first convinced of my unconditional confidence in their abilities.” –John Robinson


How is USC’s mascot usually protected from vandalism during game week?

USC actually has two mascots that are protected. Traveler is a gray (since white horses are actually very rare) horse that appears at football games. A dog named George Tirebiter was the mascot before Traveler.


In 2009, which team had to pay $20,000 to restore their mascot statue after the other team painted it?

"Growing up, my parents were very, very strict, and then I went UCLA with John Wooden, who was just off the charts.” –Bill Walton


Which University has a Founder’s Rock that was the object of many pranks prior to the arrival of its mascot statue?

The university paid to have a 75-ton granite rock hauled to mark the place for the newly planned campus in 1926. The rock has been moved twice since its initial placement, but it remains on the campus with a plaque.


Who is considered the Big Brother in the rivalry?

“There is nothing worse than losing to UCLA, but there’s nothing better than beating Notre Dame.” –John McKay


How is UCLA’s mascot usually protected from vandalism during game week?

The first UCLA mascots were trained bears that UCLA rented for games. As games attracted more crowds, they were outlawed by the Coliseum. On campus, the first official mascot was a Himalayan bear cub in 1950. Although the cubs were given to zoos when they became too large and replaced, the university eventually settled for a statue and a costumed mascot.


One year, pranksters from which team were caught as they came on campus and were subsequently painted, shaved, and tied to a flagpole?

"I don’t go for character building. That is done at home—not in college." –John McKay


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