Wayne Cook, UCLA’s starting quarterback in 1993 and 1994, certainly has strong opinions about the rivalry.
Cook, now a sideline reporter for UCLA radio broadcasts, said, “I’ve listened to them talk how they dominated the series. Go back and look at the 1980s and 1990s. I’m sure UCLA won both decades. That’s two decades.”
UCLA had a 5-4-1 record against USC in the 1980s and 8-2 record in the 1990s. As for USC’s dominance under Coach Pete Carroll in the 2000s, Cook cites the Trojans' probation.
“The Carroll years are tainted,” Cook said. “They even had to vacate a couple wins. I know they had decades where they dominated, if you go back far enough. But I don’t see overall USC dominance.”
USC leads the series overall with a 44-29-7 record, which doesn’t count victories that were vacated in 2004 and 2005 because of NCAA violations.
Cook won both his starts against USC. The Bruins' 27-21 victory in 1993 sent them to the Rose Bowl. But Cook prizes the 31-19 victory just as much. It was a positive finish for Cook, who suffered a bruised kidney and other injuries that season.
"That year was a struggle," Cook said. "To be able to end the season with a victory over an SC team that still had a chance for the Rose Bowl, and beat them the way did, there was nothing like it."