- Travis Haney, ESPN Insider
Alabama isn’t a top-10 team. It isn’t a playoff contender. Let’s face it: Alabama just isn’t Alabama in 2014.
We pondered this through the first month of the season. We suspected it after Alabama's 23-17 loss at Ole Miss. Now we know it after a sluggish showing at Arkansas in which the Crimson Tide eked out a 14-13 victory Saturday.
The defense has holes in the secondary and is lacking a dominant pass-rusher. The offense has been turnover-prone and has lost its ability to go vertical. Things have been so bad on special teams that coordinator Bobby Williams might soon be a candidate for reassignment.
With each elapsing week, we learn -- and really wrap our minds around the fact -- that the SEC race goes through Mississippi. Not Alabama.
Anticipation of the Egg Bowl (Mississippi vs. Mississippi State) has passed, and is lapping, the Iron Bowl (Alabama vs. Auburn).
That’s where the Week 7 Takeaways begin. Later: the wait for the rankings that matter, Todd Gurley's admirable understudy, our weekly look at breakout players and thoughts on Michigan and Florida.
Next week now
So how did this happen? How did Alabama slip?
It starts with the offense.
Travis Haney writes that the road to the SEC title now goes through Mississippi, not Alabama, and recaps the rest of Week 7.