In-State Rivalries: The Crosstown Showdown

November 21, 2014 by SbS Football Staff | with 0 comments
Filed under: Rivalry, UCLA, USC

The best in-state rivalry game of the weekend will be in Los Angeles this Saturday as 9th-ranked UCLA plays host to its crosstown rival, 19th-ranked USC.
The UCLA-USC rivalry is one of the most unique in all of college football as the two Los Angeles based schools are located only twelve miles apart. Often referred to as the Crosstown Showdown or the Battle of L.A., Saturday’s game will feature 78 players from Los Angeles County and 127 players from the Greater Los Angeles Area.
The game has additional intrigue this year as both the Bruins and Trojans still have a shot at winning the Pac-12 South. The Trojans have a conference record of 6-2, while the Bruins are 5-2 and currently in a three-way tie with the two Arizona schools.

Series Since 2000
Although the rivalry has been more competitive recently, the series has been one-sided in USC’s favor for most of the 21st century.

Earlier this year we analyzed the most competitive in-state rivalries in college football (full list available here: Best FBS Rivalries Since 2000), and of the 34 in-state rivalries that met our criteria, the UCLA-USC rivalry ranked as the 29th most competitive (or 6th least competitive).
In no particular order, below are eight interesting facts about the rivalry since 2000 (note: includes the 2004 and 2005 games USC was forced to vacate).

1. USC has won 11 games and UCLA has only won 3, but the Bruins have won the last two years. 

2. The overall score of the series since 2000 is USC 468, UCLA 242. 

3. The Trojans average margin of victory in its 11 wins has been 23.7 points per game. 

4. The Bruins average margin of victory in its 3 wins has been 11.7 points per game. 

5. There has not been one game since 2000 that went into overtime. 

6. Only three times has the game been decided by less than 10 points (2000, 2004 and 2006). 

7. USC won the first six games of the century (2000 to 2005) and ten of the first eleven.

8. In every single game since 2000, the team leading after the third quarter has won the game.

Roster Analysis - Players by State
Below are three observations when analyzing the states where the players are from.

1. Not surprisingly, about two-thirds of both rosters are made up of players from California (UCLA – 81 players; USC – 77 players).  

2. Texas and Florida represent the next highest amount of players on the rosters. Between the two teams, there are 12 players from Texas (UCLA has 9) and 11 from Florida (USC has 7). 

3. Arguably the most talented offensive and defensive players for both teams are all from outside of California. For UCLA, Brett Hundley (QB) is from Arizona and Myles Jack (LB) is from Washington. For USC, Nelson Agholor (WR) and Leonard Williams (DE) are both from Florida.

Roster Analysis - Players by California County
In addition to looking at what states the players on each roster are from, we took a closer look at how the rosters compare when looking at the specific players from the state of California.
Below are five observations when analyzing where the players from California are from.

1. USC has 42 players (55% of its California players) from Los Angeles County, while UCLA has 36 players (44% of its California players) from Los Angeles County. 

2. 65 of the 77 California players (84%) on USC’s roster are from the Greater Los Angeles Area (five counties). 

3. 62 of the 81 California players (77%) on UCLA’s roster are from the Greater Los Angeles Area (five counties). 

4. Each team has three players from San Diego County. 

5. UCLA has 15 players from northern California, while USC only has 6 players from the northern half of the state.

The arrival of Jim Mora in 2012 put UCLA back in the football spotlight. Coming off back-to-back losing seasons, the Bruins won nine games in Mora’s first year, ten games last year, and are on pace for double-digit wins again this year.
Mora’s turnaround of the Bruins has also help put the Crosstown Showdown back in the football spotlight. With USC’s strong national brand, its UCLA’s success, or lack thereof, that is the wildcard in this rivalry.
The rivalry will always be a big deal in Southern California, but with the Bruins relevant again, the UCLA-USC rivalry is once again one of the most relevant in all of college football, and college football is better because of it.