ATHENS — Georgia has earned its No. 1 ranking by what it has done on the field through the first three games, but it’s what is happening in the football building that’s setting the program apart.

The team culture that led the Bulldogs to their first national championship in 41 years last season has carried over, even though this is a very new football team in many respects.

RELATED: SEC Power Rankings, Georgia is the new Georgia -- not the new or old Alabama

“I think the standard that was created last year and the legacy was left, that was a really special group,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after Georgia’s 48-7 demolition of South Carolina last Saturday.

“And that still lingers around our building, not the championship, but the fact of the way they practiced and the way they carried themselves.

“And there’s a lot of kids that try to emulate those guys that are gone. And they’re good kids to emulate.”

Former Tennessee coach and Alabama, Georgia and Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt explained how it starts with Smart.

“Being around (Smart) over the years and the way he’s kind of wired, I think every day he wakes up, he sees his opponent is in the mirror,” said, who worked with Smart for six years at Alabama.

Georgia plays host to Kent State at noon on Saturday, but Pruitt said Smart has elevated the program to the point that it doesn’t matter who the Bulldogs are playing.

“I believe that’s a mindset when you go in the building in Athens, how they are going to play the expectations, the standard,” Pruitt said on the Monday On The Beat show.

“When you walk on the field and you see Georgia on the other sideline, you better expect a team that’s going to play hard and they are going to hit you and they are going to be well-coached.

“It’s something that I believe everyone in that program takes a lot of pride in. You can see it and you can hear it when the players talk in the media it’s something that’s driven in and it’s an expectation.”