Coming off their second BCS title in just three seasons, not too many people were expecting the Crimson Tide to get back to the title game once again. Not this season, anyway.
Alabama lost four players to the first round of April's NFL draft, and its defense had been gutted by departures.
If the Tide were to make a serious run at a successful title defense, they were going to have to rely on some young and inexperienced talent.
The 2012 recruiting class provided the talent needed and, lo and behold, the Tide is currently preparing to play Notre Dame for yet another BCS championship.
Alabama did return quite a lot of proven talent and was able to replace most of the missing pieces with similarly talented kids who had been patiently waiting their turn.
But it is the newcomers who have really pushed the Tide to the top of the national ranks and put them in place to compete for the crystal football once again.
Here is a look at some of the key components of the 2012 recruiting class that have impacted the Tide's title quest.