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USC football coach Clay Helton (left) and Olympic gold medalist Alyson Felix (middle) leading the Trojans out of the tunnel at the Coliseum before their recent game with Arizona State. Photo courtesy of reignoftroy.com



Paul Salerno is a recent USC graduate with a passion for Trojan Football. SoCal Sports Annals asked him to describe a typical day for a member of the Trojan Family at the Coliseum when USC’s beloved Trojans step onto that turf.

Here is Paul’s take on the Trojan experience…


Waking up on a lazy Saturday morning to the smell of street hot dogs, grilled onions, and the sound of a herd of sports fans migrating to campus.

Sounds like a typical USC football game day.

So you roll out of bed, put on some USC cardinal red and gold clothes and head over to campus for a typical tailgate ceremony.

Tailgaters cover the campus, but the epicenter of the tailgate is McCarthy Quad in between the two school libraries. Here you are met with more alumni than you can count, but you are all connected through the USC family.

As you sift through the crowd you eventually find a friend or a family friend’s tent, you hang out and have a burger or two while listening to other college football games on an old radio. Everywhere you look USC fans are playing corn hole, beer pong, or just relaxing in lawn chairs having a good time, but as game time nears, people start packing up and heading over to the Coliseum. Everyone heads in the same direction down Trousdale, and just before exiting the campus you must kick the USC pole for good luck.


A couple of Trojan tailgating spreads on the USC campus, an essential part of their game day experience. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com


The walk to the Coliseum is an experience in itself. There are hot dog venders after hot dog venders and even a man playing the USC fight song as you pass the Rose Garden.

USC football is so ripe with tradition that the game itself is only part of the experience.

For instance, we have the world-famous Trojan Marching Band. The Trojan Marching Band has a history a mile long and has been featured alongside bands such as Fleetwood Mac and Radiohead. Their stellar performances always get the crowd hyped and really gets you pumped for the game ahead. Then Tommy Trojan comes out and stands in the middle of the field. He points his sword in surrounding directions before stabbing the field with his sword and the crowd erupts every single time.

Then on the huge Coliseum screen, a motivational USC video plays before introducing the starting lineup. The crowd erupts again, And then the players come out of the tunnel and charge the field like they are running into battle, while the opposing team is met with an overwhelming “boo”.


Passionate USC fans in body paint, cheering on their beloved Trojan team. Photo courtesy of upi.com


Then goes the kickoff, and by this time everyone is pumped. The Trojan Marching Band continues to play throughout the game with a flawless counterpoint to the game itself. When USC needs momentum, the band plays the Trojan fight song among a variety of other tunes, the cheerleaders cheer, and the spirit leaders get everyone chanting and taunting the opponents.

The crowd is so involved in the game, so vocal, and so interactive. When the other team scores they are met with a choir of “boos”. When USC turns the ball over, the Coliseum erupts with “boos”. And whenever the ref calls a penalty on the USC the crowd “boos”, no matter how good the call is.

Then comes halftime, when the opposing teams inferior marching band performs before being shown up by the Trojan Marching Band. They always put on a great show and before you know it the 3rd quarter has begun.

The game continues and just when USC needs a morale boost, Tommy Trojan comes out on a snow-white horse named Traveler. Traveler is stunningly graceful while he runs down the sideline. This is just the morale booster the team needs.


Traveler, USC’s longtime horse mascot. Photo courtesy of radpour.com


All of these traditions really make the game special and even if you aren’t a big football fan, you can’t help but have a great time and feeling the pride of being a Trojan. Come rain or shine, Trojans will always be there supporting their team with full enthusiasm.

This season has been to a rough start, with a humiliating loss to Alabama and another loss to Utah, but this won’t stop them from going to the game and cheering as if it was a championship game.

However, the 41-20 massacre of Arizona State this past weekend was a great relief and provided a lot of optimism for USC. Our defense was constantly pounding and pressuring the quarterback, and our offense looked just as good if not better.


Highlights of the Trojans’ convincing 41-20 win over Arizona State on October 1st, courtesy of YouTube.


Redshirt freshman Sam Darnold’s 352 passing yards and three touchdowns have given us all hope that USC might have figured out its quarterback situation. The team seems like it is finding its stride and should be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. Fans can only hope that they can continue to play as well as they did on Saturday.

But even if the team doesn’t win another game, I have no doubt that Trojans would continue to show up and support the team.

The great thing about Trojan football is that there are so many traditions and so much history behind the team that you are always bound to enjoy a Trojan football experience. These USC football rituals provide a sense of family with other Trojans and a consistency that make you reminisce about your time as a student.

Some traditions never change and in the case of USC, that is for the better.



The USC Trojan Marching Band, also known as “The Spirit of Troy”, doing a show at the Coliseum. Photo courtesy of oregonlive.com