In an INSTALL file from alsa-project it says
Module option name change after 0.9.0rc3
Note that module option names were changed in 0.9.0rc4. The 'snd_' prefix
was removed. You may use script in utils directory (module-options) to
convert your older /etc/modules.conf to newer one.
The script mentioned above cuts out the 'snd_' prefix (snd_john -> john) all through the file. I have reasons to doubt this, as for example in /etc/modprobe.d/alsa.conf:
options snd_hda_intel model=auto
Is not 'snd_hda_intel' an option?