LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Ahead of Saturday’s big game to decide who will take home the coveted Victory Bell, the shenanigans were in full swing between rivals USC and UCLA.
Sometime this week, UCLA’s beloved Bruin Bear mascot was spray-painted with USC’s cardinal-and-gold colors.
It’s unclear exactly when and how the bear got a makeover, or who exactly was responsible, because the bear lives behind a chalkboard box during Rivalry Week to protect it for this very reason.
“Bruins can’t guard on the field and off,” one Twitter user wrote.
As a result of the vandalism, Tommy Trojan now has a blue-and-gold bullseye on his back, and USC students have been taking shifts guarding the bronze statue in case any UCLA students seek to exact revenge.
“See, it’s two targets on his back now, so hopefully, we dress him up in a UCLA sweatshirt or something,” UCLA student Omar Radwan said.
“Tommy has been vandalized in the past unfortunately by the guys across town,” one of the USC students on guard told CBS2. “Every couple of years they try and pull some shenanigans, whether that’s trying to paint him, that’s why we’ve got that duct tape up there.”
The Trojans and Bruins face off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
The mischief follows after both schools announced Thursday they would each be canceling their traditional bonfires at their pregame rallies in support of those impacted by the devastating Woolsey and Camp fires which have ravaged Northern and Southern California.
“Out of respect for the tragedies so many California families have experienced over the last few weeks, both schools have agreed to forgo the traditional bonfires at their pre-game spirit rallies,” USC said in a statement.