The list of accomplishments for Bear Bryant's best class is long, but here are the high points:
1. Longest winning streak in 'Bama history at 28 games between 1978 and 1980 (tied by the 1991-1993 streak until eight wins were vacated).
2. National Champions in 1978 and 1979 with 11-1 and 12-0 records, respectively.
3. "Master recruiter" Bryant's best recruiting class ever.
As Nick Saban has emerged as something of a "master recruiter" himself, the similarity begins and ends with the fact that 2012 is his best so far.
Dwight Stevenson headlined the 1976 class as the center, and went on to an illustrious NFL career with the Miami Dolphins.
Alabama's 2012 class is heavy on defenders, with Landon Collins currently headlining as the top prospect.
The performance of the 2012 class will be judged by the results of the 2013-2015 seasons (in the event that juniors head to the NFL, 2015 will not be a factor).
The odds are stacked against them for earning the title of "best class in the history of the Crimson Tide," but they are not insurmountable.
Will the class of 2012 emerge as the best in Tide history?
With the positions of DB, LB, WR, OL, TE, RB, PK, QB and DL being filled by this class, it certainly has versatility in its favor.
Can the class of 2012 dethrone the class of 1976? Yes, but whether they actually will is a monumental question mark.
Rest assured, I will be vigilant in evaluating their performance, and I will be honest in the follow-up articles years from now.
*Stats from 2011 Alabama Record Book unless otherwise noted or linked