On Saturday, the No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes will travel to the Coliseum and attempt to vanquish the unranked USC Trojans. As the nobel fan you are (that was a typo too good to take out), the Buffs need every ounce of your hatred to inspire an important road win and continue this surreal run. USC has been so despicable for so long that you shouldn’t need any help hating the Trojans, but we’ll go through them anyway.
Ah yes, the most hateable man from the most hateable school. O.J. Simpson is arguably the greatest Trojan to ever live, and that includes the man-slaying Hector. USC can be indicted for just that (pun entirely intentional). You know enough about Simpson, so we’re moving on.
Why we can hate them for this: It’s O.J.
Early 2000s Dominance
The glory days in the early aughts were a sight to behold, even for yours truly who was only seven-years-old when they won the 2004 BCS Championship over Oklahoma (ed. note: DAMN YOU).
In 2005, USC had two Heisman winners in Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush (and LenDale White!). Not only did they make USC unstoppable on offense, they made it impossible not to root against them. Leinart was the stereotypical California pretty boy and Bush was simply better than everyone else. To make them even more unbearable, their head coach Pete Carroll was the smuggest of smug and served as a caricature of "Left Coast arrogance".
Everything came crashing down on USC shortly thereafter. Among other NCAA violations, Reggie Bush and basketball star O.J. Mayo had both been accepting lavish gifts from agents (not that they shouldn’t have been paid), which is as much of an NCAA violation as there is. USC vacated their 2004 BCS Championship and all their 2005 wins, the program was suspended from bowl games in 2010 and 2011 and they had to surrendered 30 scholarships over the next three years. Bush, meanwhile, was forced to give back his 2005 Heisman.
Why we can hate them for this: USC was better than everyone except Vince Young, but they did so by "cheating". Fair or not, USC is hated for similar reasons that people hate ‘80s Miami, ‘90s Miami and ‘00s Miami.
The punishments dolled out were immediately thought to be unjust, and USC paid for it dearly. Since Pete Carrol peaced out before the NCAA started investigating (he probably knew before it started), USC have gone through three coaches and possibly another by Sunday.
In 2009, Carroll begat Lane Kiffin, the immensely unlikeable coach who would supposedly turn the program around. Then in 2013, USC fired him after the team returned home from a loss, and they so at 3 a.m. at the airport and didn’t give him a ride back to campus (!).
Kiffin begat Ed Orgeron, patron saint of inspiration, but moved on from him even after he led them to a bowl game. Orgeron is now at LSU replacing Les Miles, so Geaux Tigers.
Orgeron begat Steve Sarkisian, who was hired away from Washington. (Washington then replaced Sarkisian with Chris Peterson and they are quite happy.) Sarkisian lasted 19 games before alcoholism and drug abuse — sometimes at the same time — saw his dismissal from the team. He’s now on Alabama’s offensive staff under coordinator Lane Kiffin, and they so happily ran up the score on USC earlier this season.
Sarkisian begat Clay Helton, who took over as interim before assuming the position of head coach. Helton led USC to the Pac-12 Championship game (they lost to Stanford) and a bowl game (they lost to Wisconsin), but his seat in on fire right now. USC had a brutal schedule to start the season — they lost to No. 1 Alabama, No. 7 Stanford and No. 24 Utah — and play another ranked team in No. 21 Colorado in a must-win game.
Why we can hate them for this: While Colorado exhibited more patience than anyone thought was possible with Dan Hawkins and Jon Embree, USC fired their coaches after immensely disappointing seasons that still yielded between 7 and 10 wins in each season. CU fans would have given anything for 7 wins, yet that was disaster for USC.
No matter how bad, USC still demolished CU
Even at the lowest of lows for the USC program, every time they played Colorado a blowout would ensue. From 2011 to 2014, the average score of this game was 49 to 20. In 2011 on CU’s Thursday night blackout, Matt Barkley set a school record with 6 touchdown passes. He tied his own record the following year in a 50-6 shellacking. Two years later, Cody Kessler broke the record with 7 touchdowns, also against Colorado.
Then in 2015, the Buffs finally challenged the Trojans. The Buffs got off to a fast start and had a 17-3 halftime lead, but Sefo Liufau suffered a Lisfranc injury that would end his season. With CU’s offense struggling with Cade Apsay at QB, USC came back to win 27-24. The only way they could beat the Buffs was by injuring their fearless leader.
Why we can hate them for this: Matt Barkley’s stupid face got to celebrate 12 different touchdowns as we watched the Trojans run up the score time and time again. Then they broke Sefo once CU had the opportunity for revenge.
Cultural differences between CU and USC
Nicknamed "University of Spoiled Children", USC has a reputation for having students expecting everything to be about them and for them. Such comes from the massive amounts of money in the region, it being a private school, and it being so — how do I put it? — L.A.
As far as Coloradans are concerned, L.A. is the root of "Californication", which means USC is an institutional representation of that. If you live in Colorado and haven’t heard complaints of Californians and "Californication", you must be new here. Don’t try Rocky Mountain oysters.
Looking at Colorado culture, let’s just say natives don’t want their hippy vibes trifled with.
Why we can hate them for this: No disrespect to Californians, but if we could hate Oregon for having boisterous fans (some are, certainly not all), we can hate USC for having boisterous fans who are also very rich.
For all the reasons above, CU fans have plenty to root against. And for all the success USC has had against CU, the Buffs’ potential win should feel surreal.