Sources of Halacha 12 – best two out of three?

In his introduction to the Beis Yosef Orech Chaim, Rav Yosef Karo states that he will follow the best two out of three of the Rif, Rambam and Rosh. Why does the Shulchan Aruch not follow his rule of following the majority ruling of Rif, Rambam and Rosh? In times of Shema he seems to go with the Rosh and Rabbeinu Yonah, against Rambam and Rif. Why does the Gra say that it only seems as though the position of the Rif is not like that of the Shulchan Aruch? Is it not explicit?

And when is the earliest time for saying Shema after all is said and done?

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Sources of Halacha 12
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Source of Halacha 12

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