It's been a tough rivalry in recent years for USC and UCLA. We're not talking about football.

We're talking about the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges list. In 2012 the L.A. schools tied for No. 24 among “best national universities.” In 2013, they tied at No. 23. Last year UCLA was placed at No. 23; USC got 25th place.

Today the publication unleashed its latest list, and once again USC and UCLA tied at No. 23. Bo-ring.

The highest-ranking L.A. area school this year is Caltech, which made No. 10 on the list. UC Irvine and UC San Diego tied for 39th.

The winner of this year's Best Colleges contest was Princeton, followed by Harvard (2); Yale (3); a three-way tie at fourth for Columbia, Stanford and the University of Chicago; MIT (7); Duke (8); Penn (9); and, tied for 10th, Caltech and Johns Hopkins.

In a statement, UCLA noted that it was the second-ranked public university, behind UC Berkeley, which came in 20th place.

The Westwood institution achieved the list's highest score for economic diversity and was third among public schools in terms of ethnic diversity.

“This achievement is due to the spectacular efforts and accomplishments of UCLA faculty, staff and students from all walks of life who are tirelessly committed to improving the planet through discovery, service and inclusion,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said.

Private Pomona College ranked fourth among U.S. News & World Report's list of “national liberal arts colleges.” Sister school Claremont McKenna College tied for ninth. 

Credit: File photo by Neon Tommy/Flickr

Credit: File photo by Neon Tommy/Flickr

While paramount to the student market, the publication's rankings are often at odds with other assessments of local schools.

The latest Academic Ranking of World Universities list placed UC Berkeley in fourth place, Caltech in seventh and UCLA in 12th. The latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings puts Caltech in first place and UCLA in 12th.

Not to be outdone, U.S. News & World Report has started its own global college ranking. Strangely, the last Best Global Universities list places Caltech in seventh place and UCLA in eighth. Go figure.

The next edition of that ranking is expected to be released next month.

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