The primetime ESPN coverage crew got an up-close-and-personal look at Alabama’s tug-of-war performance with LSU last Saturday, and it seems ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit walked away feeling something was off.

The Crimson Tide were a near 30-point favorite at home against the Tigers, but they trailed after the game’s opening quarter, didn’t hold their first lead of the evening until there were just 48 seconds remaining on the first-half clock, and had to turn away the Tigers on several possessions in the 4th quarter to hang onto a 20-14 win.

The victory move Alabama, currently ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll, to 8-1 on the year and 5-1 in conference play, but they haven’t looked themselves. An early-season, 2-point road win over Florida looks worse by the day as Gator dysfunction continues, and a 3-point loss to what was an unranked Texas A&M squad is lingering in the minds of some.

Herbstreit, on the latest episode of the “ESPN College Football Podcast,” said the Tide just look off.

“This is not the same Alabama team,” Herbstreit said. “They have one first-rounder on defense in Will Anderson, who’s special. The rest of them are good players, but I’m going based on Alabama. You’re used to seeing they had 3 first-rounders in this class, 3 or 4 in that next class, and that class underneath them. I think they may have 3 or 4 all in one defense. They don’t have that. And worse than that, they’re miscommunicating on the back end and so forth.

“They’re vulnerable. That Iron Bowl, do not just say they got the Iron Bowl they’ll win that. If you’re an A&M fan, after A&M won last week, beat Auburn, people forget this: if A&M beats Ole Miss, they keep winning and Auburn pulls off the upset and knocks off Alabama, Texas A&M is going to Atlanta. So don’t just assume that Alabama is gonna go play Georgia in the SEC championship. There’s still a lot of different things that can happen, and A&M is still in a position where they could get there.”

Herbstreit went on to say he felt from the game’s opening kick Saturday LSU was ready to play and playing to win. He didn’t feel the same about the Tide early in the game.

“Bama is a talented team, but they are a beatable team,” Herbstreit said. “We’ll see if they’re able to get through this. But right now it’s hard to imagine them beating Auburn on the road and beating Georgia, if they get there, in Atlanta.”

The Aggies rank No. 11 and sit at 7-2 on the year (4-2 in SEC play); they’ve won 4 straight games. No. 16 Auburn sits at 6-3 on the year, but it just lost to A&M. The Tide get a break from SEC competition this weekend when they host New Mexico State. Kick is set for noon ET Saturday on the SEC Network.