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Mark Zerof/US Presswire

23. Mississippi State

Dan Mullen's early success has the Bulldogs as a popular dark horse pick in the SEC West, and there is a lot of confidence in Starkville after a nine-win season that ended with a blowout victory over Michigan in the Gator Bowl. Mississippi State returns a high-powered offense, led by senior Chris Relf, who might be one of the nation's most exciting dual-threat quarterbacks, and running back Vick Ballard, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2010. Mullen also thinks he has the quality in numbers to rotate 10 receivers a game. Chris Wilson takes over at defensive coordinator for Manny Diaz, who left for Texas, and while he has to replace three starting linebackers, he's working with one of the SEC's strongest defensive backfields. -- Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com's SEC blogger