After they captured the 2011 national championship, the Crimson Tide signed a highly rated recruiting class in February 2012 and completed spring practice the following April. With twelve returning starters from the previous season, Alabama entered the 2012 season as the defending national champions, ranked as the number two team in the nation and as a favorite to win the Western Division and compete for both the SEC and national championships. The Crimson Tide opened the season with nine consecutive victories that included one over Michigan at a neutral site and a come-from-behind victory on the road at Louisiana State University (LSU). In their tenth game, Alabama was upset by Texas A&M, and dropped to the number four position in the rankings. However, after a series of upsets and victories in their final three games that included winning the SEC Championship over Georgia, Alabama qualified for the 2013 BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame, where they won 42–14 and captured the 2012 national championship.
At the conclusion of the season, the Alabama defense led the nation in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense and ranked 7th in passing defense. Offensively, the Alabama offense ranked 12th in scoring offense, 16th in rushing offense, 31st in total offense and 75th in passing offense. Starting quarterback AJ McCarron was ranked first nationally in pass efficiency. Additionally, several players were recognized for their individual accomplishments on the field. Starting center Barrett Jones won both the Rimington Trophy and the William V. Campbell Trophy, and was named as the Academic All-America of the Year; defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was named the 2012 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FBS Assistant Coach of the Year. Also, five players were named to various All-America Teams with Jones and C. J. Mosley being consensus selections and Dee Milliner and Chance Warmack being unanimous selections.