Sports Illustrated College Football Preview Features Three SEC Covers

USA TODAY Sports

Three SEC teams grace the cover of Sports Illustrated's annual look-ahead at the season, and there are four teams in the Top 10, but -- who's missing?

The Sports Illustrated college football preview issue is not the most in-depth magazine out there, and it's nowhere near Phil Steele in terms of comprehensiveness, but it's probably one of the more influential ones. For the casual college football fan -- read: NFL fans who are just waiting for Sunday -- SI gives them about as much as they care to read about our game. That means it sets the narratives for those fans.

And that's good news for no fewer than three SEC programs: Alabama, Texas A&M and South Carolina, all of whom get a regional cover this year. The full Top 25 isn't out yet is on a completely different page; four conference teams, adding Florida to the list above, are in the Top 10.

Stanford is trending upward right now among the establishment, which explains the No. 2 ranking instead of Ohio State, but dropping the Buckeyes all the way to No. 4 is probably going to raise some eyebrows. South Carolina at No. 6 seems a bit high, and Florida at No. 9 means the magazine is buying into Will Muschamp's rebuilding job, but nothing else seems out of the ordina--

What do you mean, Georgia's not in their Top 10? Really? The explanation of that snub, and the ensuing (and largely justified) meltdown that will follow among the Red and Black's fan base, should be delightful. Read: It will sell magazines, which might be part of the idea in the first place.

UPDATE:

Georgia ends up at No. 12 on the magazine's list. Staples explained a bit of his reasoning on Twitter.

Which, okay, but have you looked at South Carolina and Florida's defenses? They're better off than Georgia's, but there are some All-SEC and All-America caliber holes left behind by graduation and the NFL Draft.

LSU is the only other SEC team in the Top 15, clocking in at No. 14, and Vanderbilt checks in at No. 23. Yes, Vanderbilt is ranked in a preseason Top 25. #Mayans, or something.

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