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Victory Bell (USC–UCLA)

UCLA's possession of the Victory Bell.
Victory Bell with USC (top) and UCLA (bottom) winner paint schemes
Teams UCLA Bruins
USC Trojans
Originated rivalry 1929, trophy 1942
Trophy Series USC leads, 44-29-7
Current Holder UCLA

UCLA Bruins Logo USC logo
UCLA (29)
1942 1946 1950
1951 1953 1954
1955 1957 1959
1961 1965 1966
1970 1975 1980
1982 1983 1984
1986 1991 1992
1993 1994 1995
1996 1997 1998
2006 2012
USC (44)
1929 1930 1937
1938 1940 1943
1943 1944 1945
1945 1947 1948
1949 1952 1956
1960 1962 1963
1964 1967 1968
1969 1972 1973
1974 1976 1977
1978 1979 1981
1985 1987 1988
1990 1999 2000
2001 2002 2003
2004* 2005* 2007
2008 2009 2010
2011
Years in bold indicate when trophy changed hands. Years with a "*" indicate vacated wins.
Ties (7)
1936 1939 1941
1944 1958 1971
1989

The Victory Bell is an annual trophy given to either the University of Southern California or the University of California, Los Angeles. The winner of the annual UCLA–USC rivalry football contest keeps the bell for the next year, and paints it the school's color: "True Blue" for UCLA, or cardinal for USC. The Victory Bell is a 295-pound brass bell that originally rang atop a Southern Pacific railroad locomotive. It is currently mounted on a special wheeled carriage.

HistoryEdit

The bell was given to the UCLA student body in 1939 as a gift from the school's Alumni Association.[1][2] Initially, the UCLA cheerleaders rang the bell after each Bruin point. However, during the opening game of UCLA's 1941 season (at the time, both schools used the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for home games), six members of USC's Trojan Knights (who were also members of the SigEp fraternity[3]) infiltrated the Bruin rooting section, assisted in loading the bell aboard a truck headed back to Westwood, took the key to the truck, and escaped with the bell while UCLA's actual rooters went to find a replacement key. The bell remained hidden from UCLA students for more than a year, first in SigEp’s basement, then in the Hollywood Hills, Santa Ana and other locations. At one point, it was even concealed beneath a haystack. Bruin students tried to locate the bell, but to no avail. A picture of the bell appeared in a USC periodical. Tension between UCLA and USC students rose as each started to play even more elaborate and disruptive pranks on the other. When the conflict caused the USC President to threaten to cancel the rivalry, a compromise was met: on November 12, 1942, the student body presidents of both schools, in front of Tommy Trojan, signed the agreement that the bell would be the trophy for the game.[4]

USCEdit

Before home games, when the bell is in USC's possession, it sits along Trousdale Parkway for fans to ring as they participate in the "Trojan Walk" to the L.A. Coliseum. During home games, and whenever USC faces UCLA at the Rose Bowl, the Victory Bell is displayed at the edge of the field for the first three quarters of the game. Members of the Trojan Knights ring the bell every time the Trojans score. The carriage is painted cardinal red.

UCLAEdit

When the bell is in UCLA's possession, the carriage is sandblasted and painted "True Blue". While in the possession of UCLA, the Bell is safeguarded by the UCLA Rally Committee.[5][6] During UCLA home games at the Rose Bowl and whenever UCLA faces USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum, it resides on the field in front of the student section. It is rung by members of the Rally Committee after each score. The Bruins also ring the bell using a rope attached to the handle, swinging the whole bell, as opposed to the Trojan style of attaching a rope to the tongue or clapper on the inside of the bell. The Bell also makes special appearances at rallies and athletic events. It has been used to accompany the UCLA Band during halftime shows. In particular the bell will make an appearance at a major gathering if the bell returns to UCLA.[7]

Series recordEdit

The first victory for UCLA in the series occurred after the agreement, making the Bruins the first winner of the trophy. The Bruins made their post-season appearance in the 1943 Rose Bowl. The teams played each other twice in the same season in 1943, 1944, and 1945. This was due to travel restrictions during World War II.

UCLA took back the bell following the 38-28 victory over USC on November 17, 2012. The Victory Bell was held by USC during the 1999-2005 and 2007-2011 football seasons. USC leads with an overall record of 46*-29-7 in football contests with UCLA (*two of USC's wins have been vacated).[8] Before the streak of seven Trojan wins, the Bruins had won the Bell for the eight consecutive years from 1991–1998, the longest streak in the rivalry. There have been 7 ties and one overtime game (1996, 2OT) in the history of the series. In the event of a tie, the Victory Bell was retained by the last winner. Since the institution of the overtime rule in college football, the tie rule became obsolete.

See alsoEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. UCLA Alumni Association
  2. UCLA Alumni Association About the Association. The Post-War Years, 1944 - 1953
  3. "SigEp USC - Victory Bell". http://www.sigepusc.com/page.php?page_id=18734.
  4. Gong with the Wind UCLA Magazine, sourced from the UCLA History Project, October 1, 2006
  5. UCLA Rally Committee
  6. UCLA Student Groups - Rally Committee: Statement of Purpose
  7. Tuesday, December 5, 2006, where it was rung by head football coach Karl Dorrell at a home basketball game to celebrate the recent victory over USC.
  8. Complete USC Football records against all opponents, College Football Data Warehouse
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