USC Leaps UCLA in US News and World Report Rankings.

It was a proud day yesterday when I saw the new US News and World Report college rankings and found that my alma mater USC had finally leaped their crosstown rival UCLA in the rankings.  USC is sitting pretty at 23 while UCLA is in a three-way tie at 25.  Let’s put this in context.

Historically, USC had been regarded as a “Gentleman’s C” school, a private school where rich kids could go and meet their wife (an attractive wife) and make some great business connections (Trojan Mafia).  They could see some winning football and party up and down 28th Street without a care in the world.

At one point under former President Steve Sample’s leadership, USC starting making waves.  For a long while, they ascended and were ranked in the 30s, still a large gap between them and Berkeley and UCLA.  The endowment at USC began to explode and they started bringing in more diverse students and flexing muscles as a research university.  The endowment currently is about 2.6 billion dollars, a staggering 600 million higher than UCLA.  Eventually, the gap was reduced to a few spaces in the poll, but to understand why taking the lead was so important, you must understand the way conversations go between Bruins and Trojans in this city.

Most Bruins don’t bring up USC paying it’s football team (or ignoring that other people pay them while they are at USC) because UCLA has won the most NCAA titles in basketball, and they know they pay their players too.  John Wooden’s teams took money as did John McKay’s.  It is a part of the game.  This is me complementing UCLA fans (as a generalization) for attempting to pick and choose their battles.

What does happen in these conversations though is  a train of thought that always runs down the same track.  A USC fan will tell a Bruin that their football team sucks.  Then a Bruin will say USC’s basketball team sucks, but now that their team sucks, they fall back on two things:  USC kids are rich/spoiled and UCLA is a better academic school.

I am by no means wealthy, but I don’t mind being called wealthy.  Spoiled?  Well, sure.  USC lost one game my junior and senior year in football, every girl I ran into all day was attractive and I was at the best film school on earth.  It was pretty awesome.  I assume that makes me spoiled.  Why not?  I loved being there.  It was about drinking the Kool Aid, not hating the system.

As for being a better school, well.  Scoreboard.  Equal, maybe.  Although one is trending up, the other is trending down.

Does it mean USC is vastly superior?  Of course not.  UCLA is a fine, fine school.  I would be proud of my future kids if they got into UCLA.  At least for in-state tuition (UCLA out of state is about 8K less than USC, in-state about 30K less), I would save a lot of money.  On the other hand, being that my kids would be Bruins I would need to spend that 30K on a seriously cool car for them so they had a chance at competing with Trojans for the better looking girls in the city.  I kid, I kid.  UCLA kids don’t leave Westwood, so they don’t need a car.  Heyo!  Zinger!

I just see this day as being significant if only because UCLA must recognize now that they have lost their greatest advantage.  It could flip back next year, sure, but the point is, there is no gap now, at least according to this poll, which is the main poll people point to when they want to point out how super superior they are over other people they know.

I know the reality is we are dealing with two fine, fine schools.  The thing is, UCLA had for decades one really great excuse for anything they were made fun of for.  That excuse was that they were a better school.  At this point, that argument is one they should reserve for Washington State.

Love to my Bruin friends, it is all in good fun.  I will leave you with a closing thought.  This is your mascot:



Filed under Rants and Musings

12 responses to “USC Leaps UCLA in US News and World Report Rankings.

  1. RB

    Congrats from a Bruin at USC’s rise. As an alum it’s been frustrating watching the state making like the Titanic and leaving the UCs to fend for themselves. UCLA still has great resources, but it’s become more difficult (and expensive) to keep them. It’s one thing to have money, but it’s another to know how to use it, and USC has leveraged their revenue stream well to add to its prestige.

    The Bruins academic argument may have been compromised, but we still have plenty of Bruin ammunition reserved for Trojans. Like, why choose history’s most famous losers as a mascot? 😛

    • Zack

      A classy comment. Cheers to civility.

      The Trojans got their name (changed from the Methodists/Wesleyens) from the LA Times after a heartbreaking defeat to a vastly superior opponent they had somehow hung with until the end. Even though they lost, they fought “like Trojans”.

      Here’s a good UCLA trivia fact. Do you know why the football jerseys are powder blue instead of the official blue? It is because when Cal and UCLA played on black and white television, they were indistinguishable from each other and UCLA adopted a color that would translate better.

      • Bobby D

        So, basically, the powder blue was pussification for the purpose of differentiation.

        History of the Trojan colors? Gold represents what every man wants and what we have. The cardinal’s purpose is to mask our wounds so our enemy doesn’t know that we are bleeding or where our wounds are.

      • Darth

        USC’s got a cool Trojan-Roman themed mascot, much better than ugly trees, teddy bear-bruins or ducks.

        But the loser-nickname really only serves to draw mockery from SC bashers:
        1) Most famous loser in Western mythology,
        and stupid losers as well to have fought so
        valorously for 10 years? only to have Troy
        get killed and raped by a Wooden Horse.
        Before the survivors fled to eventually
        found Roman Empire.
        2) Vehement computer virus of new age
        3) Low-reliability condom brand than Durex.

        Of course then the whatever fighting Methodists/Wesleyens, fighting Irish, Buddhists or Confucius are even lamer

        While keeping its Roman-themed mascot,
        a new positive name e.g. Gladiators is recommended.

        Gladiators are known to fight lions in the Colosseum. Did they fight bruins too in there?

  2. Richard de Forest

    The important truth is that when YOUR school (UCLA for instance), is consistently ranked as superior to your rival (USC), your head and chest swell and the methodology is impeccable…oops!!, when the cursed, denigrated, “drive-by-degree”, “football-factory-school” (USC), is ranked as superior to the ONCE superior school (UCLA), that same measured, waved-in-your-face, methodology is “absurd, ridiculous and reviled”

    Heaven forbid that the “scandal” ridden football program(USC) beat those schadenfreude Bruins now!!…(Think of Edvard Munch: “The Scream”) OH NO!!! Funny how things turn ’round if you wait (and work hard) Get OVER IT Westwood!

  3. paul

    USC is far from being in the same league as Stanford. It’s amazing how SC likes to compare themselves to Stanford, however if you mention SC to any Stanford student or alumni, you’ll receive a chuckle..

    University of Second Choice or is it
    University of South Central?

  4. James

    As a senior at Stanford, USC is highly regarded in academics, but hated for their superiority in football. UCLA is respected, but it is definitely not on the academic level they like to think that are at. USC’s academic quality and life is comparable to Cornell, NYU, and Georgetown. Where as, UCLA’s is comparable to UC Berkeley, Wisconsin, and Texas.

    • Zack

      that was some good arrogance right there. this matchup will be of arrogant proportions. good luck to you and sorry in advance for my preview tomorrow. i would gladly drink boar’s blood with you.

  5. James

    You guys are all idiots. U.S News and World Report has notoriously ranked schools based on arbitrary statistics. Look at Tufts, undoubtedly a better school than both USC and UCLA. Tufts is ranked 28th in the country. They boast higher SAT scores, a lower acceptance rate, and a better reputation than both USC and UCLA. Don’t put so much stock in these rankings you ignorant fools. There are countless other examples of this mismatch.

    • Zack Jerome

      i’m sorry you are ranked below us. tufts is not obviously better. factor in location and job market. that and because tufts has no real sports, you can’t look awesome bragging about your sanctions and rad visors. bruin.

    • Honestly

      James is proof positive of the insanity that resulted in the wake of the brutal truth (now two years running!). Hence: you can’t spell lunatic without UCLA.

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