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ESPN's FPI Names The Top Team In The SEC

Football's with South Carolina's logo on them.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Here's the team to beat in the SEC according to ESPN.

ESPN released its initial Football Power Index for the 2018 college football season earlier this morning.

The FPI has Clemson as its No. 1 team in the country, which is slightly surprising. The Tigers should be elite once again, but most probably expected to see Alabama or Georgia in the No. 1 spot.

If you're unfamiliar with how the FPI works, you can read more about it here. In short, it is a computer ranking that relies on a myriad of factors, including returning starters, team performance over the last four seasons and recent recruiting rankings.

In the SEC, Alabama is the team to beat, as usual. But Georgia is right behind them and there are several other SEC schools in the FPI's top 25.

Here is how the SEC shakes out, 1 to 14, according to ESPN's preseason FPI. The numbers in parentheses are the team's national ranks:

  1. Alabama (2)
  2. Georgia (3)
  3. Auburn (7)
  4. Mississippi State (16)
  5. Texas A&M (20)
  6. Florida (22)
  7. LSU (26)
  8. South Carolina (28)
  9. Missouri (29)
  10. Ole Miss (45)
  11. Tennessee (52)
  12. Arkansas (54)
  13. Kentucky (56)
  14. Vanderbilt (76)

The most notable takeaways from these rankings? The FPI likes Mississippi State as the No. 3 team in the SEC West behind 'Bama and Auburn and expects major improvement out of Florida. Also, LSU is viewed as a middle-of-the-pack SEC team, fifth-best in its own division.

Keep in mind these rankings will change as the season goes on.

What do you think about these early ones?