Southern California hasn't exactly been a fun vacation getaway for the Nevada Wolf Pack football team.
The Wolf Pack, which will play the UCLA Bruins in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Saturday, has played 28 games in southern California since 1920. The Pack is 10-18 in the lower half of California against 12 different opponents. UCLA will be No. 13.
No less than eight of the Wolf Pack's dozen southern California football hosts -- Fullerton, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, Riverside, Cal State Los Angeles, Northridge, Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara -- no longer play the sport of football. The Pack was 9-9 against those eight former football schools and is just 1-9 against its four southern California opponents that still play the sport. One of those teams, however, is from Pennsylvania. Villanova was the Pack's opponent in the Jan. 1, 1949 Harbor Bowl in San Diego.
The Wolf Pack's only victory in southern California against a school that still plays football took place on Oct. 19, 1946 at San Diego State. That victory was the Pack's first in southern California after seven losses. The Wolf Pack will play at San Diego State this Oct. 4.
The Wolf Pack's first five trips to southern California were all for games against the mighty USC Trojans. The Pack lost all five by a combined score of 164-14.
The Wolf Pack's first trip to southern California was on Nov. 13, 1920 when coach R.E. Courtright's Wolf Pack took on Elmer "Gloomy Gus" Henderson's Trojans. The game was played on the USC campus at Bovard Field and resulted in a 38-7 USC victory.
The Wolf Pack, playing the sport of football for just its 15th season, put up a valiant fight against the Trojans despite losing.
"The Nevadans, although decidedly outclassed and never in danger of winning, are tougher individually than a collection of pine knots and it requires effort to knock the tar out of them," wrote the Nevada State Journal on Nov. 14, 1920.
Wolf Pack quarterback James "Rabbitt" Bradshaw was one of the more impressive players on the field at 12,000-seat Bovard Field.
"Bradshaw Proves Sensation Against Southern California Team at Los Angeles" said a Nevada State Journal headline.
Bradshaw tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to left end Bill Martin for the Wolf Pack touchdown in the third quarter.
"Bradshaw got away for a number of spectacular dashes," reported the Journal, "but more frequently was pegged to the grass as he was a marked man."
Bradshaw, though, opened quite a few pairs of eyes on that Los Angeles afternoon nearly a century ago.
"'Bullet' Bradshaw is of BB caliber but very explosive," the Journal said. "Bradshaw is not soft-nosed. He tears large holes in the enemy. He is a steel jacket athlete which whistles through the air and pierces keenly. He was a Pandora's Box of woes to be wished on USC."
Bradshaw inspired some of the most flowery prose ever written in a Reno newspaper.
"Bradshaw in every was lived up to the advance lithograph. He is as fast as a wireless, tricky as an Apache, as greasy as a bucket of lard and as hard to hold with the bare hands as a moist catfish."
USC would finish 6-0 that season while the Pack was 7-3-1.
The Wolf Pack also met USC at Bovard Field in 1922 and lost just 6-0. Their last three games in southern California against the Trojans (in 1923, 1924 and 1929) were all played at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
This Saturday's game will be the Pack's first against UCLA.