How Does the Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Suspension Affect the Crimson Tide's Season?

Marc Torrence@marctorrenceAlabama Lead WriterOctober 2, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban announced today that junior safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would be suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

Saban gave no timetable for his return and wouldn't comment on what happened, per team policy. He said Landon Collins and Geno Smith have been getting first-team reps at his position and are prime candidates to replace him.

And that's about it.

On the surface, this suspension seems pretty harmless. Alabama plays lowly Georgia State this Saturday and then goes to Kentucky before hosting Arkansas and Tennessee to finish October—not exactly murderer's row.

But for Alabama, this news is continuing a concerning trend of off-field distractions.

Saban has never shied away from disciplining his players, but the high volume of misconduct this season jumps out at you.

According to Marq Burnett of The Anniston Star, Clinton-Dix is the fourth announced Alabama suspension since the start of fall camp. Trey Depriest and Malcolm Faciane were suspended in the preseason, while Geno Smith missed the season opener in Atlanta.

Sep 28, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban watches his team from the sidelines against the Mississippi Rebels during the fourth quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Mississippi Rebels 25
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

Alabama is also dealing with the D.J. Fluker-agent saga that has yet to be resolved.

The Crimson Tide won't lose any of their four upcoming games because of this suspension. They should head into their bye week and subsequent showdown with LSU undefeated, setting up a massive game in Tuscaloosa for the SEC West and the right to go to Atlanta.

The last thing Alabama needs heading into that game is off-field distractions.

Alabama was off to a shaky start this season before looking like its dominant self against Top 25 Ole Miss. It appeared to be rolling into October full speed ahead. But now, there's something else to deal with.

The secondary had also just begun to really click well together, after a start to the season which included getting torched by Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.

Clinton-Dix may be back before the LSU game, but the Alabama defense will need to be at its absolute best when the Tigers come to town in a game that will essentially decide Alabama's season.

LSU racked up 449 yards of offense against Georgia on Saturday, including 372 through the air. Zach Mettenberger is proving himself to be one of the elite quarterbacks not just in the SEC but in the country.

Needless to say, Alabama can't afford a shoddy performance on November 9.

This may turn out to be just another bump in the road in the middle of a historic season. Or it could be yet another distraction that contributed to a disappointing season.

Whatever the case, it's not what Alabama needed right now.