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Miss. State retakes No. 1 in college football Power Rankings after Week 9

The field for the College Football Playoff is beginning to thin. Who's got the inside track to finish in the top four? Find out in this week's Power Rankings.

Every neighborhood had one: the house that would give out pencils or raisins or stickers instead of candy on Halloween. You’d still go by their house in the hopes they finally wised up and changed their ways, but without fail there you were, stuck with one of those faded yellow Pencilmates (with the graphite that broke off when you started writing anyway) instead of the good stuff.

It was still something, so you couldn’t put it with the houses that deliberately turned their lights off and ignored the doorbell, pretending not to be home rather than having the courage to face the kids and say, “Nah, we don’t give out anything on Halloween.” The Raisins Lady deserved some praise, but it was never a contender for Top Trick Or Treating Spot.

That’s the part of the season we’ve reached in the Power Rankings. There are teams out there who have rightfully earned a place in the top 25, but they’re not going to make the playoff. They’ve either hurt themselves too much and too early, don’t (or won’t) have the wins to make it count, or in the case of a team like Marshall, just don’t play anybody good enough to prove it. You can’t skip over them because they still might surprise you, but we’ve come to know what to expect.

As for everybody else, they’re going house to house and filling up their pillowcases with all the sugary deliciousness. In just a few weeks, they’ll be dumping out their bags on the coffee table to compare what they got, and some teams are going to end up with a better haul than others.

• STAPLES: Is the SEC West as good as we thought? Punt, Pass & Pork

1. Mississippi State Bulldogs

PREVIOUS: 2

RECORD: 7-0

Next game: Saturday vs. Arkansas

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2. Florida State Seminoles

PREVIOUS: 3

RECORD: 7-0

Next game: Thursday at Louisville

3. Oregon Ducks

PREVIOUS: 4

RECORD: 7-1

Next game: Saturday vs. Stanford

4. Auburn Tigers

PREVIOUS: 5

RECORD: 6-1

Next game: Saturday at Ole Miss 

5. Michigan State Spartans

PREVIOUS: 6

RECORD: 7-1

Next game: Nov. 8 vs. Ohio State

6. Ole Miss Rebels

PREVIOUS: 1

RECORD: 7-1

Next game: Saturday vs. Auburn

7. Alabama Crimson Tide

PREVIOUS: 7

RECORD: 7-1

Next game: Nov. 8 at LSU

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

PREVIOUS: 8

RECORD: 6-1

Next game: Saturday at Navy

9. Georgia Bulldogs

PREVIOUS: 9

RECORD: 6-1

Next game: Saturday vs. Florida (at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.)

10. Baylor Bears

PREVIOUS: 10

RECORD: 6-1

Last game: Lost to West Virginia, 41-27 Next game: Saturday vs. Kansas

11. TCU Horned Frogs

PREVIOUS: 11

RECORD: 6-1

Last game: Beat Texas Tech, 82-27 Next game: Saturday at West Virginia

12. Kansas State Wildcats

PREVIOUS: 12

RECORD: 6-1

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Last game: Beat Texas, 23-0 Next game: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

13. Arizona State Sun Devils

PREVIOUS: 14

RECORD: 6-1

Last game: Beat Washington, 24-10 Next game: Saturday vs. Utah

14. Ohio State Buckeyes

PREVIOUS: 13

RECORD: 6-1

Last game: Beat Penn State, 31-24 (2OT) Next game: Saturday vs. Illinois

15. Nebraska Cornhuskers

PREVIOUS: 16

RECORD: 6-1

Last game: Beat Rutgers, 42-24 Next game: Saturday vs. Purdue

16. Oklahoma Sooners

PREVIOUS: 17

RECORD: 5-2

Last game: Lost to Kansas State, 31-30 Next game: Saturday at Iowa State

17. Arizona Wildcats

PREVIOUS: 19

RECORD: 6-1

Last game: Beat Washington State, 59-37 Next game: Saturday at UCLA

18. LSU Tigers

RECORD: 7-2

Last game: Beat Ole Miss, 10-7 Next game: Nov. 8 vs. Alabama

19. Utah Utes

PREVIOUS: 20

RECORD: 6-1

Last game: Beat USC, 24-21 Next game: Saturday at Arizona State

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20. East Carolina Pirates

PREVIOUS: 15

RECORD: 6-1

Last game: Beat UConn, 31-21 Next game: Saturday at Temple

21. West Virginia Mountaineers

PREVIOUS: 22

RECORD: 6-2

Last game: Beat Oklahoma State, 34-10 Next game: Saturday vs. TCU

22. Clemson Tigers

PREVIOUS: 21

RECORD: 6-2

Last game: Beat Syracuse, 16-6 Next game: Nov. 6 at Wake Forest

23. Marshall Thundering Herd

PREVIOUS: 24

RECORD: 8-0

Last game: Beat Florida Atlantic, 35-16 Next game: Nov. 8 at Southern Miss

24. Duke Blue Devils

PREVIOUS: 25

RECORD: 6-1

Last game: Beat Virginia, 20-13 Next game: Saturday at Pitt

25. Colorado State Rams

RECORD: 7-1

Last game: Beat Wyoming, 45-31 Next game: Saturday at San Jose State

Next five: Wisconsin, UCLA, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Missouri

• ​ELLIS: Marcus Mariota separates from the pack in Heisman Watch