It took 2 weeks, but the Georgia Bulldogs are right back where they finished last season.

The No. 1 team in the land.

In a rankings shakeup on Sunday, Georgia leapfrogged Alabama in the Associated Press poll, taking over the top spot for the 1st time this season. The Bulldogs began the season ranked No. 3 behind Alabama and Ohio State before taking over No. 2 after a lackluster Buckeyes win over Notre Dame in Week 1. The Crimson Tide bested Texas this week, but it did so with a field goal in the closing seconds after committing 15 penalties and struggling on offense all game.

The fact that Georgia moved to No. 1 isn’t all that surprising. Some had predicted it based on team performances. Personally, I thought the gap would close, but I couldn’t see Georgia moving that far in one week.

Boy was I wrong.

It’s not just that Georgia moved up to No. 1, it’s how many voters actually made the switch. The 1st-place voting split in last week’s poll was 44 for Alabama, 17 for Georgia, 2 for Ohio State. This week: 53 for Georgia, 9 for Alabama and 1 for Ohio State. In other words, not even close.

Now that Georgia has once again emerged as the nation’s top-ranked team, I have a few questions:

Are the Bulldogs actually the best team? Can any among the field challenge their supremacy in the near future? Is this just discretely packaged rat poison that could take down the defending champions (and motivate their biggest rivals)?

My thoughts below.

Is Georgia really the best team?

Let’s get the easy question out of the way. Right now, as we sit on Sept. 12, 2022, the answer is yes.

Even the most persistent purveyors of pessimism have to admit that, while other teams have struggled to locate consistency in their first 2 games of the season, Georgia seems to have picked up where it left off a season ago.

Defensively, there has been little dropoff despite losing the majority of its defense to the NFL. In Week 1, it allowed just a field goal to Oregon. This week, it recorded a shutout of visiting Samford. It’s entirely possible that the Bulldogs haven’t faced a real competent offense yet, but you still can’t get much better than perfect. And Georgia has been pretty darn close.

Offensively, the Bulldogs have taken it up a notch. They are efficient and versatile. They’re better in both the passing and running game. The offensive line is dominant. They have been incredibly efficient, and the thought here is that they haven’t even begun to reach their full potential. Immensely talented players like Dominick Blaylock, out for most of the past 2 years due to injury, and Arik Gilbert, still struggling to find consistency in Georgia’s offense, could add new dimensions that take this group to another level.

On just about every team throughout the current top 10, you can pick out a specific area in which it has struggled or offered some signs of inconsistency. For Georgia, through 2 weeks, that’s not an easy task.

So as of this moment, yes, Georgia is the best team in the country.

How wide is the gap between Georgia and the rest of the field?

This question is a little more complicated.

On paper, the gap isn’t nearly as big as the voting split this week’s AP poll might indicate. Is Georgia really that far ahead of No. 2 Alabama? Probably not.

There was a reason that most considered the Crimson Tide to be the frontrunners for the national title this year. No, it’s not Alabama bias. It’s the fact that it returned a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback on offense and the best player in America on defense. It’s because it has recruited among the best in the nation for more than a decade. It’s because its head coach continues to be the best at his job in the country and will go down as the greatest to ever do it.

Fifteen penalties against Texas? Watch the Crimson Tide next week. They’ll be the most disciplined team in the country.

Likewise, there was a reason Ohio State was close on Alabama’s heels in championship odds before the season. And while the Buckeyes haven’t looked quite as explosive as they were billed, there’s still very little reason to doubt them.

Ohio State’s offense is packed to the brim with talent like Georgia’s defense was a season ago. To sleep on it because of 1 game against Notre Dame — no matter what the latter did against a Sun Belt opponent this week — would be foolish.

Behind these 2, it’s hard to say.

Michigan has been solid, but we don’t even know who its starting quarterback is yet. Clemson has taken care of business, but its offense still looked like it was stuck in 2nd gear for much of its 1st 2 games. Games against UTEP and Kent State don’t exactly answer many questions about Oklahoma. On down the list, teams like USC, Kentucky and Arkansas are all intriguing.

All of that is to say, we’re probably where we were 2 weeks ago: Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State are all close, and a handful of teams in the field are vying for the 4th spot.

Want to be like Alabama? Learn to recognize the rat poison

We all know what Georgia is trying to emulate. Neither Kirby Smart nor the rest of the program nor any of the fans have made any effort to hide the fact that they want to build Tuscaloosa East in the Classic City.

To go from a one-time champion to a once-in-a-generation dynasty, however, you have to recognize what Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban so often called “rat poison.”

If ever there was rat poison, this is it.

Everyone and their dogs are back on the Georgia bandwagon. Apologies, Coach Smart, for ever doubting that 15 personnel losses to the NFL Draft could ever hinder your team’s success. Pardon us for thinking it might take a couple weeks to settle in. We now see that yours truly is the best program in America. Saban, we now see, has clearly lost a step. His program is clearly not disciplined enough to compete for a title with Georgia.

Don’t buy it.

The gist of everything is this: Georgia may be No. 1 right now. But there’s a lot of football left to be played this season. If you think Alabama or Ohio State or Michigan or USC isn’t going to keep improving, you’re crazy. And if you don’t think the Bulldogs need to keep improving, you’re crazy for that, too.