USC-UCLA Rivalry Week Hijinks Start Up Early

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USC senior David Fine keeps watch over a tightly wrapped Tommy Trojan as Rivalry Week kicked off in 2012. (Credit: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

UCLA and USC students have been pulling pranks on each other for what seems like forever. UCLA dumped manure from a helicopter on the USC campus more than a half-century ago, and USC fans set 20,000 crickets free in a UCLA library. But for the last 30 years, the primary targets of the rivalry-week high jinks have been the two symbolic statues at the center of each campus: the Bruin Bear and Tommy Trojan.

This has led to escalating measures to defend the statues from every knavish indignity each school’s fans could conjure.

Tommy Trojan, which is usually wrapped in duct tape for protection, has been defended for years by the so-called Trojan Knights. But that hasn’t protected Tommy from being doused with blue paint or having its sword cut off and reattached in, well, not the right place.

At UCLA, students began aggressively patrolling overnight after their bear was doused in red and yellow paint five years ago.

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