LOS ANGELES — Last year, a lot of Utah fans were thrilled to go to South Bend to see the Utes play Notre Dame.
They were excited to see the famous Notre Dame Stadium where Knute Rockne used to roam, to see the "Touchdown Jesus" mural and experience all the history associated with the Notre Dame program.
The large contingent of Ute fans heading to L.A. for the Utes' first-ever Pac-12 football game this weekend will find that USC has just as much college football history and tradition, perhaps more, than Notre Dame.
The Trojans have more Heisman Trophy winners than any other school, tied with Ohio State and Notre Dame with seven winners. The Trojans claim the same number of national championships as Notre Dame with 11 and are second only to Alabama, which claims 13 national championships.
USC has had more first-round NFL draft picks than any other school with 75 (Notre Dame is third with 58) and currently there are 55 former USC players in the NFL and more than 400 Trojans have played in the NFL. Fourteen former Trojans are in the Football Hall of Fame.
Here are a few other famous things USC football is known for:
The Coliseum: The L.A. Memorial Coliseum was built in 1923 with initial construction costs of just $800,000. USC played the first-ever games there in 1923, with the varsity beating Pomona College 23-7, a day after the freshman team beat Santa Ana High. It was also the site of the 1932 Olympic Games as well as the 1984 Olympics. In 1993, the Coliseum was renovated with 8,000 seats being added and the following year, a big earthquake forced $93 million worth of repairs. The Coliseum has also been home to several other teams, including the Los Angeles Rams, the Los Angeles Raiders and even the Los Angeles Dodgers. The full capacity is 93,607, which is, by the way, 13,607 more than Notre Dame Stadium.
Tommy Trojan: This statue of a bronzed Trojan warrior on a horse stands in the center of the USC campus. It was first unveiled in 1930 at a cost of $10,000 for USC's 50th jubilee. According to the USC website, the statue serves as a "popular meeting place for students and a symbol of the university's fighting spirit." The sword in Tommy Trojan's hand has been stolen so many times, that he is given a wooden one. As for his name, no one is sure where Tommy Trojan came from.
Movie stars: Several former USC football players have gone on to star in movies and on television. Certainly the most famous is John Wayne, who was known by his real name, Marion Morrison, and he played tackle in 1925-26. Others include Ward Bond (1928-30), the star of Wagon Train, Mike Henry (1956-58) who played Tarzan and uh, O.J. Simpson, who was in many movies and TV shows.
The White Horse: You've seen that white horse circling around the field whenever USC scores a touchdown. His name is Traveler, actually the current white horse is Traveler VII. The first Traveler appeared in 1961 at the Rose Parade and a student who saw it, persuaded the rider to serve as a mascot at USC games. Ever since, Traveler will gallop around the Coliseum whenever USC scores, while the band plays "Conquest." There have been several different breeds of horse from Tennessee Walker to Arabian to Andalusian, but it has to be pure white in color.11 comments on this story
The Trojan Marching Band: The Stanford band may get more attention for its crazy antics, but the USC band might be the most prominent in the nation. It was established 130 years ago and is one of the school's most visible public relations tools. It appears at some 350 engagements a year, including pro sporting events and corporate events as well as on television (such as Glee) and in movies (such as Forrest Gump). The band has also played for seven different U.S. Presidents. Unlike most bands that might go to one road game per year, the Trojan Marching Band has gone to every home or away game since 1987.
The USC Song Girls: Along with the band, the song girls are perhaps the most visible face of the university. Like the band, they serve as a public relations tool, making numerous media and public appearances each year. They started with just seven girls in 1967 and now there are 12, who wear the trademark white oufits with the long-sleeved sweaters with "USC" in red and gold on the front. Why they continue to wear long-sleeved sweaters in the heat of southern Cailfornia is a mystery.