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The Bruin is Hibernating and Tommy Trojan is Under Wraps, But USC Vandals Fire First Hit Against Rival UCLA

The Bruin bear is hibernating on the UCLA campus (Photo by nessanatalie/Instagram)
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If you spend some time on either the UCLA or USC campuses this week, you may notice that each of their iconic statues are under wraps. It's part of the annual tradition to protect against thievery or vandalism from their rivals, and it's part of the excitement leading up to the "big game" on November 17.

The cunning trickery, teasing, taunting, and lampooning is part of a long-standing tradition between the two L.A. universities. UCLA's History Project elaborates on the contemporary shenanigans:

These days, students try to go after their rival schools’ mascot statues. During the week before the big game, the Bruin in Westwood Plaza is covered in heavy tarp with a sign reading, “The Bruin Bear is hibernating.” Across town, the Tommy Trojan statue is also kept under wraps. It has been the target of many Bruin pranks, including having its sword stolen and being splashed from head-to-toe in blue paint.

Indeed, the Bruin bear is hibernating this week, though he's got a protective box around him instead of a tarp. For their part, Trojans over at USC have put their Tommy Trojan statue under wraps--with students standing guard. Trojans, if you are nervous about the state of dear Tommy, you can keep tabs thanks to the live Tommy Cam that nabs a photo a minute of the statue.

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This year, USC fired the first strike against UCLA. As KTLA reports, this week some cheeky vandals altered the "UCLA" sign at the northern entrance to the campus off Sunset boulevard:

Pranksters crossed out the letters "L" and "A" with red paint, and then added an "S" to spell out "USC." Surrounding the sign, red and yellow spray paint seemingly depict two penises.

Game On! Speaking of the game, it's set for midday Saturday at the Rose Bowl.