Road Trip: USC
Posted: Friday November 24, 2006 1:10PM; Updated: Monday November 27, 2006 5:08PM
Nicknames haven't been kind to the University of Southern California. Over the years this quaint stretch of land in downtown Los Angeles has been called everything from University of Spoiled Children to the University of South Central to the University of Second Choice ... and other less faltering names not suitable for mass consumption. Most of the nicknames, however, are thrown out by opposing schools, which can only turn to cheesy plays on acronyms more appropriate for poorly drawn signs made for TV as they watch the Trojans win yet another game.
Indeed, few schools can boast an athletic history as storied as USC, which has won 106 national team titles, including an NCAA record 73 men's championships and 296 men's individual championships. There's little doubt that what irks USC's rivals the most is the Trojans' 11 national championships in football and the seven Heismans that line the brick-laced walls of Heritage Hall in the center of campus. That is if they can see them past the seductively sweatshirted USC Song Girls, who practice in front of the building everyday. Oh yes, how could we forget about the infamous Song Girls? While USC might never win a national title for best college town, it's hard to argue that the school isn't, as Newsweek so eloquently wrote, a "hot school."
Best place to go after 2 a.m.: Chanos. It's not the best Mexican food in L.A., but it's the best you're going to get in the middle of the night around campus. Don't ask for the hours, because there are none -- Chanos closes when things slow down, and it hardly does with oversized burritos going for $3.
Best 'must-eat' item on campus: The famous bacon-wrapped hot dogs sold outside of the Coliseum are a USC institution. The carts often are surrounded by dozens who hope to get one of the delectable dogs before the carts disappear; police patrol the area looking for vendors without licenses. Breaking bread -- and the law -- never tasted so good.
Best dose of culture: Across the street from campus lies Exposition Park, which is home to the Natural History Museum of L.A. County, the California African-American Museum, the California Science Center, which houses the Aerospace Museum and an IMAX Theatre, and the picturesque Rose Garden. Students of all ages could spend days at Exposition Park and not get tired of traveling through time and space.
Best rule you need to know: Students like to shorten names of places on and around campus, so the 901 Club is known as the 9-0, the 29th St. Café is the 2-9, the 32nd St. Market is the 3-2, and so on.
Best 'must-see' place: It may seem nerdy, but many students gather around the fences of Cromwell Track and Field Stadium during the late afternoon and listen to the raspy voice of legendary band director Dr. Arthur C. Bartner as he leads the Spirit of Troy, USC's Marching Band, through practice.
Best way to get around: School shuttles will take you around campus, but a car is a necessity if you want to get around outside the friendly confines of USC.
1 of 2