Off the field, USC-UCLA has the makings of a rivalry again

It's USC-UCLA week and the off-field ridiculousness has already begun.

Vandals defaced a UCLA sign on the Westwood campus by painting over the "LA" with red spray paint and adding an "S" in between the "U" and the "C" with the same spray paint.

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So far, this is the first act of reported vandalism to either campus, though the week is young. USC already took measures to avoid damage to the Trojan sword that sits on the entry ramp to the USC locker room. The sword has been encased in a wooden box with the words "Fight On!" written on it.

The sword — not this particular one, but the one the band drum major carries during the pregame — has become quite the source of consternation among Bruins fans who are protesting the drum major planting it in the middle of the Rose Bowl field during the pregame celebration. The planting of the sword is a USC tradition, but because of the outcry, UCLA officials reportedly are not allowing the drum major to plant the sword into the field.

Boy, it sure is great to have a little vitriol in this rivalry again and that, no doubt, has to do with the 8-2 record the Bruins are enjoying this season, which is better than the 7-3 Trojans. USC has won the last five meetings in this series, including a 50-0 shellacking last year, but this year's game has some major braggin' rights on the line. The winner will go on to represent the Pac-12 South in the conference championship game and could find itself in a BCS bowl game.

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