Because we're not the cool kids, we at Team Speed Kills don't get an advance copy of Phil Steele's College Football Preview. So we have to resort to old school measures -- in this case, finding a copy that's on sale early.
I will not reveal my sources, but I was able to obtain a copy of the magazine last night. I won't reveal everything that Steele writes about the SEC -- first of all, how could I, and secondly, I have no desire to speak to Phil Steele's attorney. However, I don't see the harm in a few tidbits.
With everyone already knowing that Auburn will end up in the basement under Steele's prediction, there's nothing really surprising about the West: Alabama is first, LSU is second, Arkansas is third, Mississippi State is fourth and Ole Miss is fifth. The East is a bit more interesting. Steele has Georgia winning it, South Carolina as the runner-up, then Florida third, Tennessee fourth, Kentucky fifth and Vanderbilt last. That's not a huge surprise given that Georgia is everyone's bounce-back team of the year and South Carolina is the division favorite; it's just odd to see it in print.
No. 9 Georgia and No. 14 South Carolina are the only ranked SEC East teams. LSU lands at No. 7 and Arkansas is No. 13. The only other team ranked is Alabama, and I think you can probably guess where Steele has them.
There is a running back from the SEC in Steele's Top 10 for the Heisman Trophy, but it's not Marcus Lattimore. Instead, he's got Trent Richardson as the No. 1 favorite for the award. Lattimore is a contender, as are Aaron Murray and Alshon Jeffery. (Don't hold your breath; it's an incredibly difficult award for WRs to win.) Possibilities include Mark Barron, Stephen Garcia (!), John Brantley (!!), Greg Childs and Knile Davis.
One more useful note for SEC fans: We must hope that Phil is wrong about Notre Dame, or Lou Holtz and his fellow Irish fans are going to be unbearable for at least the first 10 weeks of the season.
Those are the SEC highlights in the magazine. Happy hunting.