Knight in shining armor: "They covered tommy trojan in a tarp and tape to protect him from UCLA!!"
Knight in shining armor: "They covered tommy trojan in a tarp and tape to protect him from UCLA!!"
@HQEpps via Twitter

UCLA, USC Ready the Troops: 'Bruin Bear' Caged in Jigsaw Box, 'Tommy Trojan' Wrapped in Duct Tape

UCLA and USC are taking extra-early pains, this year, to avoid attacks on their inanimate war heros back at home camp.

A full two weeks before their annual opening football game on November 26 -- a tradition known to inspire mischief and brawl in the meekest of library nerds -- both campuses are whipping out their finest shieldry.

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A successful hit on Bruin Bear or Tommy Trojan, after all...

... is like flicking a Kingpiece off the chess board. Doesn't really matter who wins the football game at that point; all devolves into freestyle battle of the most ridiculous order.

To name a few stunts of years past: UCLA's letters on USC's practice field. Red paint in the UCLA fountain. Blue paint on Tommy Trojan. 20,000 red-and-gold crickets in the UCLA library. Blue-and-gold flagpoles in the USC stadium parking lot. (We're beginning to see a pattern here.)

Most costly of the bunch, though, was an epic $20,000 act of vandalism upon the Bruin in 2009 -- a coat of many USC colors that proved a gargantuan bitch to scrub off.

Operation Hibernation, right, would ultimately fail.
Operation Hibernation, right, would ultimately fail.

And in this economy?? Not cool. So the next year, according to the Daily Bruin, "the custom-made metal frame and tarpaulin used to cover the bear in the past [was] replaced with a wooden enclosure."

The new digs apparently worked their magic so well that the Bruin Bear Security Force has dusted them off again for the 2011 kick-off.

As of last week, the Bruin has been encased in a $5,000 wooden box, virtually indestructible for its "jigsaw puzzle" mega-grip. And Tommy's all dolled up in his usual duct-tape mummy wrap, as well. (Really, Tommy -- get a new ABC costume already. So frosh. We even preferred the "Occupy USC" hobo look.)

But hey, as long as these crazy kids are drawing from the arts-n-crafts box instead of some rusty knife briefcase in the parking lot, we're all good.

Update: Awww. And his little horsey too!

"Traveller's statue is under wraps too. #USC #BeatThebRuins"
"Traveller's statue is under wraps too. #USC #BeatThebRuins"
@uscpsycho via Twitter



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