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He May Learn How It Feels to Be Z Best

Think Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa faced a lot of pressure last year in their pursuit of Roger Maris’ single-season home run record?

Here’s real pressure: Todd Zeile’s pursuit of Gus Zernial.

With 159 home runs, Zeile needs 79 to surpass Zernial’s total and thus become the major league leader among those players whose last name starts with a “Z.”

Who came up with that statistic? No, it wasn’t Ross Porter. It was T.R. Sullivan of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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“The question is whether [Zeile] could endure the mounting pressure and national media attention that comes with epic home-run pursuits,” Sullivan said.

And Zeile’s reaction?

“It’s something to shoot for,” he said.

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Trivia time: USC will play its regular-season football finale against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 26 at the Coliseum. When was the last time USC ended its regular season against a team other than UCLA or Notre Dame?

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Ironed out: Birmingham, Ala., the self-proclaimed “Football Capital of the South,” has lost its prime attraction. The Iron Bowl is heading west.

Legion Field--the storied stadium where Bear Bryant once roamed the sidelines and Joe Namath and Ken Stabler won national championships--will never host another Auburn-Alabama game.

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Alabama has agreed to pay the city more than $1 million to move three home games--two against Auburn and one against Tennessee--to Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

Things will never be the same on Graymont Avenue, where a bust of Bryant graces the main entrance to the 72-year-old stadium known as “The House That Bear Built.”

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Titanic mistake? Singer Celine Dion is being mentioned as a possible investor in the group Mario Lemieux is putting together to try to buy his former team, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Writes Kevin Paul DuPont of the Boston Globe, “How wise would it be to have a co-owner whose voice is synonymous with a sinking ship?”

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Trivia answer: In 1985, when the Trojans finished against Oregon in Tokyo.

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And finally: The Baltimore Ravens have a new logo--no shield, just the bird. They will wear helmets decorated with the profile of a raven’s head, following the wishes of the fans.

The new logo was favored by 7,107 fans during a two-day poll conducted by the Sun of Baltimore. In all, 18,708 people participated in the survey.

But don’t think the Ravens are doing this just to please their fans.

A federal jury ruled four months ago that the team’s original logo--a shield featuring a B and wings--had been copied from Frederick Bouchat, an amateur Baltimore artist who faxed a similar design to the team three years ago.

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The Ravens are appealing.


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