The coaches and writers can keep LSU and USC. Vegas will roll with the Tide.
The preseason edition of the Linemakers Poll from DonBest.com is out, and the money men have installed Alabama as their No. 1 team in the country. The poll reflects the collective wisdom of the oddsmakers in Sin City.
The bookies have the Crimson Tide rated just a shade better than USC at No. 2. In fact, their ratings don't really reflect much separation in the top five, which is rounded out by LSU at No. 3, Oklahoma at No. 4 and Florida State at No. 5.
Some notable discrepancies between Vegas and the preseason AP Poll:
*The boys out in the desert are buying Texas' resurgence. The Longhorns come in 9th in the Linemakers Poll, six spots ahead of where the hacks voted them.
*The difference in opinion on Florida is even greater. Vegas says the Gators are the 12th best team in the country; the writers have UF 23rd. (I know which way I'll side there.) The high opinion of Florida and Texas illustrates just how much of a premium the oddsmakers put on talent.
*On the flip side, Vegas appears skeptical of West Virginia, one of the media darlings of the preseason. WVU checks in at 17 in the Linemakers Poll and at 11 in the AP. This lends credence to the theory that stock in the Mountaineers might be a little inflated following a blowout Orange Bowl win over Clemson in January.