Talking Points: Beware of the Sun Devils

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The Pac-12 football championship game is nine months away, but one of the teams getting a lot of love in the blogosphere this spring is the Arizona State Sun Devils.

ASU is believed to have as good a chance as any to win the Pac-12 South this fall.

ASU was often spectacular a year ago. It ranked first in the nation with 9.0 tackles for loss per game, and second--behind Stanford--with 4.0 sacks per game. It trailed only Oregon, among Pac-12 teams, in points scored and scoring differential.

And the really good news for Sun Devils fans is that defensive tackle Will Sutton, who lead the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss in 2012, elected to remain in Tempe for his senior season.

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The Venezuelan national team requested a moment of silence and that the country's flag be placed at half staff before Tuesday's game in honor of their late president Hugo Chavez.

But after consulting with Major League Baseball officials, a Miami Marlins spokesman said a joint decision was made not to do so because "there wasn't enough time to honor the request." The Venezuelan national flag stood at half staff for several minutes while the team took batting practice. But the flag was eventually returned to full staff.

A spokesman for the Venezuelan team told reporters the country's minister of sports, Hector Rodriguez, relayed the following message to the team before Tuesday's game: "Please tell the guys to concentrate on sports and leave the political stuff out."

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Talking Points checked out two MLS power rankings to see where the Portland Timbers are rated. Both had the Timbers at No. 13 of the 19 teams. Portland dropped a slot in the opinion of Joshua Mayer of the Seattle Times. The Sounders were No. 6 in both rankings. Mayer dropped Seattle from No. 3 to No. 6 after an unimpressive opening loss to Montreal.