UCLA is, frankly, the nerdier, more scholastic of the two crosstown rivals in Los Angeles (just look at USC's recent accolade of top-five hipster college).

But in recent years USC has outranked the Westwood school in U.S. News & World Report's annual battle of American academia, called “Best Colleges.”

Today's national, big-school rankings have USC and UCLA tied at 24th.

According to the publication, however …

… the two schools were far from comprising the academic top dog in Southern California.

That honor would go to Caltech, which came in at No. 10.

Last year USC, at No. 23, beat UCLA by two spots, which came in 25th.

Loyola Marymount University was a No. 3 pick for national regional schools and also a “best value” choice.

Pomona College scored fourth among liberal arts colleges, Claremont McKenna got 10th and Harvey Mudd College was 12th. They're all in sister schools in Claremont.

UC San Diego came in 38th in the national rankings, UC Santa Barbara got 41st and UC Irvine came in at No. 44.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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