The University of California, Berkeley has a plethora of wonderful and successful sports. The baseball team reached the College World Series last season, as did the softball team. Both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams claimed crowns. The rugby team is the definition of dominant: The squad’s championship last season was its 26th in the last 32 years.
Cal also has an elite alumni base that carries not only considerable achievements but also name recognition: Natalie Coughlin has garnered 11 medals in the last two Olympics, Jason Kidd is one of the best points guards of all time and Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best player in the NFL right now.
Certainly USC has had similar success in non-major sports and more than a few famous alums of its own. But collegiate athletics really come down to two sports — men’s basketball and football — and that’s where the Bears have the Trojans beaten.
The USC football team can pile on all the points it wants against Cal and every other team it plays this season, but the Trojans won’t be playing in a bowl, regardless of their record. Like last season, the squad is banned from the postseason due to sanctions brought on by the Reggie Bush scandal. Similarly, the USC men’s basketball team is still recovering from the O.J. Mayo scandal. According to the NCAA, the Trojans didn’t win the 2005 national title in football. Bush had to return his Heisman Trophy. And Mayo, in his lone season, led the team all the way to the first round of the NCAA Tournament, though neither the squad’s wins nor his statistics counted.
USC cheats to win — and either doesn’t end up winning or has its wins vacated at a later date. Cal, meanwhile, loses fair and square. If that’s not enough, we also have The Play.
— Jonathan Kuperberg, Daily Cal Sports Editor
Though the common stereotype might associate USC as just a football school, a look at its other athletic programs reveals a widespread winning tradition.
USC has won 115 team national championships, with 93 of them being national championships — this is good for third most out of all universities. Representation in the Olympics? The Trojans have had more representation from their athletes than any other university. Yes, the culture around Los Angeles and the university might revolve around football, and although the last couple of years might have put a damper on the most passionate football fan because of NCAA sanctions, USC still remains one of the premier athletic — and academic — institutions around.
Our men’s tennis program and our men’s water polo program proudly boast three consecutive NCAA championships and both are currently chasing history in trying to capture a fourth straight title. The USC’s women’s volleyball program, under the direction of coach Mick Haley, has 10 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, five Final Four appearances and two national championships.
Those are just some of the athletic programs outside football that have quietly made a name for themselves, but if I had more room, the list could go on about the accomplishments and achievements of our sports teams and student-athletes. We might hear about quarterback Matt Barkley and wide receiver Robert Woods breaking records almost every other week, but a look outside the gridiron reveals USC boasts some of, if not, the finest athletes and athletic programs in the world.
— Trevor Wong, Daily Trojan Sports Editor