Ultimate Rivalry

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The USC-UCLA rivalry has a new name and a new prize.  Starting now, the Trojans and Bruins will compete annually in 19 sports for the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup.

Click here for the complete release.

The Crosstown Cup will replace the Gauntlet, which USC won nine times in 13 years.  The scoring system will be similar, but all 19 sports are now valued at 10 points each with the points being awarded to the winner of the head-to-head season series or the higher Pac-12 finisher in non-head-to-head situations.  The 10 points are split if both schools win an equal amount of matchups in a sport.  It takes 100 points to clinch the trophy. 

"The USC-UCLA rivalry is unlike any in college athletics, with two universities of such academic prestige and athletic tradition sharing the same city," said USC Athletic Director Pat Haden. "No matter the sport, whenever the Trojans compete against the Bruins, it is an intense battle. This unique all-sports competition between the schools has added another element to the rivalry. We welcome the Southern California BMW Centers as the competition's new presenting partner."

In partnership with Southern California BMW Centers, the rivalry competition will be taken to the next level with a website dedicated to updating fans about the latest standings and upcoming matchups.  Plus, Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket will feature the competition during their broadcasts.  Fans can enter the debate on social media using #ULTIMATERIVALRY. 

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The competition begins on September 23 when USC women's volleyball hosts UCLA at Galen Center.

Stanford Tuesday: Notes

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USC had a couple injury scares at practice today...
  • Junior QB Cody Kessler, the Pac-12 Player of the Week, sat out practice due to a "procedure" on his toe, which was bothering him Saturday.  Head coach Steve Sarkisian expects his quarterback to practice tomorrow.
  • All-American DE Leonard Williams "rolled his ankle" this morning and limped off Howard Jones Field.  Again, Sarkisian is not overly concerned.  OL Damien Mama suffered a "scare" with his knee at the end of practice, but he should be fine as well per the coach.
  • RB Tre Madden remains out due to turf toe. "He is not 100% healthy yet, but he is much improved," said Sarkisian who spoke with the tailback today at practice. 
  • LB Lamar Dawson returned to practice today.
  • USC and Stanford have played epic games in each of the last four years decided on the final play.  The Cardinal had the Trojans number until last year's Coliseum classic. "They got us for awhile and we ended up getting them so now it's going to be fun this year," said Kessler. "It will be a tough game going there. I haven't played a game there before so I'm excited to go up there and it will be fun game, really competitive."
  • The game is expected to be decided in the trenches between two of the most physical teams in the conference.  "They're a good defensive front," said center Max Tuerk. "We're going to have to work extremely hard this week to be physical."
  • While Fresno State was a good opening challenge for USC's talented freshmen, Stanford will be at another level in terms of physicality and intensity. "I'm just hoping that I can contribute even more to the team," said freshman WR JuJu Smith. "So this week I'm just staying focused, working hard every day, and getting ready for Saturday. I still have things to improve."
  • Kessler was blown away by the performance of the debutants. "It was really cool to see not only those guys get in and actually play but also make an impact," he said. "You know some of those guys JuJu, Adoree [Jackson], some of the O-Lineman, they made a significant impact in the game and they really helped us win. It was really cool to see coming from some guys that it was their first college game."
  • Washington and Stanford played some memorable games as well during Sarkisian's tenure in Seattle, including last year's clash, which involved heated post-game press conferences for both coaches. "David and I are both highly competitive people," said Sarkisian. "There may be a disagreement or two Saturday as well, but that's part of the business that we are in. That doesn't affect our personal lives when we move out of that competitive forum."
  • USC defeated Stanford on an Andre Heidari game-winning kick last year, but the senior looked shaky Saturday missing a field goal and hooking a kickoff out of bounds.  Sarkisian has confidence in his kicker, who had a strong Fall Camp, but he wants to see Heidari take on "a next play mentality," so that one mistake does not snowball into several.
  • Here is Sarkisian's post-practice presser:

SC Top 5: USC vs. Fresno State

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For every big game this season, we'll deliver the Top 5 plays, and there were plenty to choose from in football's season opening victory over Fresno State.

Sarkisian Q&A: Stanford

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Head coach Steve Sarkisian labored on Labor Day including sitting down for our weekly Q&A to look back at Fresno State and ahead to Stanford.

Kessler Still Rolling

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Junior QB Cody Kessler started the season sharp as can be Saturday and the momentum has not ceased.  He threw for over 300 yards in the first half, capped at a career-high 394 yards for the game and earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for his five touchdown performance.

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Head coach Steve Sarkisian was most impressed with Kessler's "guts" after seeing him stand in the pocket and deliver throws under pressure as well as use his legs to extend plays and run for 28 yards.


Sarkisian Call: Stanford

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USC head coach Steve Sarkisian wrapped up the Fresno State win and looked ahead to Stanford on his weekly Sunday conference call with the media.

Click the link to listen: Sark-Fresno-Stanford.mp3

Sarkisian delivered the most lopsided win by a Trojan head coach in his debut since Howard Jones beat Whittier, 74-0, in 1925.


UNFILTERED: Fresno State

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A day later, the Trojan Family is still abuzz talking about USC's dominant season opening performance.  Before we move on to Stanford, here is an UNFILTERED look back at the win over Fresno State.

McGillen Galleries: USC 52, Fresno State 13

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The Trojans opened the 2014 season with a commanding win over the Fresno State Bulldogs. From Nelson Agholor's two scores to Bryce Dixon and Adoree' Jackson's first touchdowns of their USC careers, John McGillen captured all of the magic on Saturday. Here are his galleries...


First Half:

Second Half:

Ford Trojan of the Game: Cody Kessler

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Junior QB Cody Kessler was voted the SoCal Ford Dealers Trojan of the Game by the Trojan Family on Twitter and Instagram.  The second-year starter put together a career-best performance with 394 passing yards and 28 rushing yards plus 5 touchdowns.


Tunnel Vision Wrap: Fresno State

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The Tunnel Vision crew tied a bow on the first win of the Steve Sarkisian era featuring game highlights and locker room sound from freshman Adoree' Jackson.