Stuart McNair

Preseason polls that came out before Signing Day generally like Alabama

Vegas thinks Alabama opening game vs. Florida State could be No. 1 vs. No. 2

Other than small wagers on the golf course, I don’t gamble. I was in Las Vegas last spring, though, and the sports book in my hotel had early odds on the 2016 college football national championship.

Alabama was the favorite at 13-2. That means you bet $2 (more likely a factor of $2, such as $20 or $200) to win $13 (or perhaps $130 or $1,300). And if you win you get the money you bet back, so suppose you bet $200, you’d be getting back $1,500.

Who could resist!

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I kept that ticket and the instructions on how to get reimbursement in my wallet from May until the morning after in Tampa. I was within one second of making a partial payment on the expense of going to Tampa, only to see Alabama’s undefeated season, quest for a 17th national championship, and my bet down the drain.

Those casinos need to continue turning a profit on the back pockets of suckers, and so the 2017 odds are out.

Once again, Alabama is the Vegas favorite, but not quite as heavy as was the case in early 2016. Bama for the 2017 title is 13-4…half as favorable as when I jumped on it last year.

Alabama opens the season Sept. 2 in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta against Florida State. And if things continue as they are in Las Vegas, it will be a very rare regular season pairing of the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams. FSU is second only to Alabama on the sports book at 8-1.

The rest of the Las Vegas top ten has Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Southern Cal at 17-2; LSU, Louisville, and Michigan at 14-1; Clemson at 20-1; and Texas at 28-1.

Other Southeastern Conference teams on the board are Auburn at 35-1, Georgia 45-1, Florida and Tennessee 55-1, Ole Miss 100-1, South Carolina 300-1, and Kentucky and Vanderbilt 500-1.

Want to make a killing? Take a flyer on Air Force, Army, and/or Wyoming at 5,000-1.

Most of us will not be placing any kind of wager on the eventual national champion less than a month since the College Football Playoff Alabama loss to Clemson. And although many disdain college football polls, and particularly preseason polls, and most especially those early, early preseason predictions that were out before Signing Day, we’ll be interested in them up to and through the college football season.

These ridiculously early polls are generally Top 25, but we’ll cut it off at Top Ten.

Scout’s early prediction of a top ten is 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Southern Cal, 4. Oklahoma, 5. Clemson, 6. Florida State, 7. Washington, 8. Penn State, 9. Wisconsin, 10. LSU.

College Football News has it as 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Oklahoma, 4. Florida State, 5. Penn State, 6. Southern Cal, 7. Georgia, 8. Clemson, 9. Wisconsin, 10. LSU.

USA Today won the predictions race this year with a 2017 preseason poll that came out before kickoff of the 2016 championship game in Tampa. USA Today had it 1. Florida State, 2. Alabama, 3. Ohio State, 4. Michigan, 5. Southern Cal, 6. Oklahoma, 7. Washington, 8. Penn State, 9. Clemson, 10. Oklahoma State.

ESPN’s ranking is 1. Alabama, 2. Florida State, 3. Southern Cal, 4. Penn State, 5. Clemson, 6. Ohio State, 7. Oklahoma State, 8. Washington, 9. Wisconsin, 10. Oklahoma.

Sports Illustrated has it 1. Alabama, 2. Southern Cal, 3. Penn State, 4. Florida State, 5. LSU, 6. Clemson, 7. Ohio State, 8. Oklahoma, 9. Washington, 10. Michigan.

CBS went with 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Florida State, 4. Oklahoma, 5. Southern Cal, 6. Penn State, 7. Washington, 8. Michigan, 9. LSU, 10. South Florida.

Sporting News had a top 10 of 1. Alabama, 2. Southern Cal, 3. Clemson, 4. Ohio State, 5. Florida State, 6. Oklahoma, 7. Penn State, 8. Michigan, 9. Washington, 10. Georgia.

Fox Sports made it 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Clemson, 4. Southern Cal, 5. Florida State, 6. Penn State, 7. Washington, 8. Oklahoma, 9. Oklahoma State, 10. Auburn.

Gridiron Now’s top ten is 1. Florida State, 2. Alabama, 3. Southern Cal, 4. Ohio State, 5. Washington, 6. Oklahoma State, 7. Penn State, 8. Clemson, 9. Oklahoma, 10. Auburn.

SB Nation predicted 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Southern Cal, 4. Florida State, 5. Penn State, 6. Oklahoma, 7. Clemson, 8. Washington, 9. LSU, 10. Michigan.

Athlon says 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Florida State, 4. Penn State, 5. Southern Cal, 6. Oklahoma, 7. Washington, 8. Clemson, 9. Wisconsisn, 10. Michigan.

Pro Football Focus lists 1. Alabama,  2. Southern Cal, 3. Ohio State, 4. Oklahoma, 5. Clemson, 6. Florida State, 7. Penn State, 8. Washington, 9. Michigan, 10. LSU.

Bleacher Report managed to get a tie for 10th and thus has 11 teams in its poll – 1. Alabama, 2. Southern Cal, 3. Florida State, 4. Ohio State, 5. (tie) Clemson and Penn State, 7. Oklahoma, 8. Washington, 9. Michigan, 10. (tie) Louisville and Oklahoma State.

Other SEC teams not being picked in the top 10 of the polls, but rated somewhere between 11 and 25 in one or more of them are Florida and Tennessee.


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