UGA Football

Georgia reaches No. 2 for first time in years

Georgia is one spot away from being the top team in the nation.

Following Georgia’s 42-7 win over Florida, and Penn State’s stunning 39-38 loss to Ohio State, the Bulldogs are now the No. 2 team in the country in both the AP and coaches polls. With the dominating win, Georgia has now blown out seven of its eight opponents and holds a marquee victory over No. 5 Notre Dame.

For Georgia, this is the first time it has been ranked No. 2 since the third week of the 2008 season. That year, the Bulldogs began the year as the No. 1 team in the nation but fell to No. 2 a week later. It held the second-ranked spot for two weeks before falling to No. 3 for weeks three and four.

In total, Georgia has been the No. 2 ranked team in the AP poll for 10 total weeks in the history of the program. The Bulldogs have actually held the No. 1 spot a total of 15 times since 1941. The only team ahead of Georgia in both polls is No. 1 Alabama.

Shortly after Georgia’s win over Florida, defensive back Tyrique McGhee said the national rankings are something the players try not to concern themselves with.

“We try to avoid it. You can only control what you can control,” McGhee said. “We try not to look at those things like that. I’m not saying that we don’t see what’s going on, but we try to focus on what we got ahead. We have a great schedule coming up.”

While Georgia’s win propelled it into the No. 2 slot, it also helped exorcise some demons from the past three seasons against Florida. In 2014, the Bulldogs were heavily favored only to lose 38-20. In 2015, Georgia was outmatched 27-3.

Last season, the Bulldogs’ defense fought hard but couldn’t get much from an offense that only mustered 21 rushing yards in a 24-10 defeat.

This time, Georgia ran the ball for 292 yards and dominated on the defensive side of the field in a blowout victory.

Up until this game, Georgia’s last win by at least 20 points over Florida came in 1997, when the Bulldogs won 37-17. Saturday’s 35-point drubbing was the largest margin of victory for Georgia in this rivalry since 1982’s 44-0 victory over Florida.

With a stingy defense and powerful rushing attack, Georgia has proven to be the second-best team in the nation at this stage of the season. And this week’s poll gave Georgia a boost when it comes to strength of schedule. In addition to Notre Dame, Mississippi State, a team Georgia beat 31-3, is ranked 21st.

While checking in at No. 2 is a thrill for the fan base, those inside the program have maintained an effort to not buy into the number attached to the name.

“As a team, we’re not worried about that,” defensive back Dominick Sanders. “It’s one game at a time, one play at a time, one week at a time. A lot of people are going to talk and do all that but we don’t focus on that. We’re a unit and we’re sticking as a unit. We don’t worry about anything outside.”

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