It’s homecoming week here in beautiful Southern California, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. Still getting the sourness of the Stanford triple overtime loss out of our mouths, we await to redeem ourselves against the Washington Huskies.

The Huskies have beaten us by field goals two years in a row now, and it’s time we take a win on our home turf. And as the rest of the student body and I get ready to FIGHT ON and rock the coliseum, there’s some who are even hungrier to cheer our Trojans on to victory.

I present to you the USC Trojan Knights, also known as those dedicated body-painted fans who sit in the front row at every USC home football game. The Knights are the “guardians of tradition,” and don’t take that as an understatement; this group of scholarly, faithful and dedicated men strive to support every athletic team on campus.

“I have never been a part of an organization more devoted to its tenants than the Trojan Knights,” says Jonathan Kelly, a Trojan Knight member since 2010. “The three pillars of spirit, brotherhood and philanthropy of the organization are incredibly displayed on a daily basis.”

The Trojan Knights celebrated their 90th birthday this year, continuing to be the protectors of Tommy Trojan. With body paint covering their chests the Knights always come up with clever slogans to display at the home games.

Against Stanford, the Knights proudly displayed, “Woods > Tree” in regards to wide receiver Robert Woods and the Cardinal Tree mascot that represents Stanford. Although football may seem to dominate USC athletics, the Knights make sure to support all men’s and women’s sports teams on campus.

“Our spirit, which generally manifests itself through our involvement with athletics, is unparalleled with the possible exception of the USC Trojan Marching Band,” says Kelly. “We have the utmost pride in USC athletes and athletic traditions.”

Homecoming is a time for alumni to come to campus, Knights to paint their bodies and the Trojan Marching Band to play “Tusk” over and over again. Football life at USC creates memories that last a lifetime.

“It’s an amazing experience. The Stanford game was the greatest game I’ve ever been to, it was heartbreaking that we lost, but it’s been an awesome season”, says David Luo, a Knight since fall 2010. “We try to have [the student section] model what we do. We’re in the front, so we’re the frontline leading the entire section.”

Homecoming week versus the Huskies is just the starting point of an exciting month. Although our Trojans won’t be able to compete in the first Pac-12 championship game, fans can still look forward to the remaining home games of the season, as well as Troy week, Conquest, football rallies and, of course, our cross town rival game versus the UCLA Bruins. This year we not only get to play at home, but ring the Victory Bell, which is the trophy for the winner of the annual USC-UCLA rivalry game, and let’s just say we plan to keep that painted red for the years to come.

The Knights carry the Trojan tradition proudly and lead the student body to unconditionally support and cheer for our teams regardless of the scoreboard. Versus Stanford, the Coliseum was the loudest I have ever heard it since I have been at USC. Even head coach Lane Kiffin addressed the fact that he was proud of our student section, sending out a thank you e-mail to the entire student body for their undying support for the team. With Kiffin’s approval and praise I’m sure the student section will put on a repeat performance, so that we can beat those Huskies from Washington.

Football is a way of life at USC but so is tradition, and that’s what the Knights are focused on keeping intact for the university.

“The organization looks out for its own to a remarkable degree,” says Kelly.

USC without its Trojan Knights is like cardinal red without the gold; the university would be missing a piece of them that represents all we stand for. Pride, ambition and loyalty are just some of the words that describe the members of the Knights. So make sure you check them out to see what they’re going to spell out this weekend as the Trojans get ready to take the dogs for a walk.

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