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NFL better talk to Cal, Stanford about 'Big Game'

Reading time, two minutes:

The very second I wrote "The Big Game," NFL officials knocked on my door demanding money.

The NFL wants to trademark "The Big Game," perhaps forgetting Lamar Hunt's lifting of the "Super Bowl" title after watching his daughter tossing the "Super Ball."

Cal-Stanford isn't always "big" but it claimed the title in 1902, which predates the NFL by, say, decades.

One term the NFL trademark police won't dare target — human growth hormone.

And another: Pacman Jones.

About ex-Cowboy Everson Walls giving one of his kidneys to Ron Springs: teammates for life.

Jeff Garcia might inspect the state of the Raiders' offensive line (danger! danger!) before he decides to wear black.

Antonio Bryant told the 49ers he sought a bigger role on the team in 2007. After his suspension for substance abuse, his arrest after a traffic stop and his clashes with coach Mike Nolan, Bryant essentially was told, "Your role already is too big. See ya."

Modesto-raised Tisha Venturini-Hoch received 12 votes toward induction to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. She was the first to own Olympic gold, World Cup gold, an NCAA title and a WUSA title. Next time, she's hall-bound.

Stanford's new football coach Jim Harbaugh appears next Wednesday night at the 40th OAA Awards Banquet. The first question from the audience: Have you attacked your endeavor with "enthusiasm unknown to mankind," as you vowed?

To virtually all high school basketball teams who were beaten in the Sac-Joaquin Section tournament: Don't stress about it. You played the games you'll remember weeks ago.

Why Maryland (23-7) is unranked while Duke (22-8) is ranked 14th though the Terrapins beat the Blue Devils this week: ESPN (read: Dick Vitale) loves Duke.

JJ Hones and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude of Stanford, Alexis Gray-Lawson of Cal and Dymond Simon of Arizona State all have fallen this season, thanks to the worst three words in women's college basketball: anterior cruciate ligament.

Fresno State (21-8) must sweep the WAC Tournament to reach the Big Dance. If not, the Bulldogs are ticketed to the NIT.

Corey Dillon, whose career numbers are comparable to Tiki Barber's, was released this week by the Patriots. At least Dillon heard an out-of-character "thank you" from coach Bill Belichick.

Good for baseball that the steroids investigation finally appears to go beyond Barry Bonds.

The Warriors last year after 60 games: 25-35. The Warriors this year after 60 games: 26-34. Somewhere, Mike Montgomery, Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy grin.

Wimbledon will pay men and women equal prize money for the first time this year. Billie Jean King, take a bow, after all these years.

The 49ers opened their wallet to sign Buffalo corner Nate Clements and Philadelphia strong safety Michael Lewis, thus ending the York-Is-A-Penny-Pincher Era.

Before Friday's 1-0 loss to Stanford, Cal freshman right fielder Blake Smith (Downey High) was batting .362.

The Phillies' Ryan Howard (58 home runs, 149 RBIs last season) tripled his salary this season to $900,000 — still a bargain.

The next trademark target for the NFL — all Roman numerals.

To comment on this story, click on the link at www.modbee.com. Bee sports columnist Ron Agostini can be reached at 578-2302 or ragostini@modbee.com.

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