Best case/worst case: Notre Dame

The stakes are fairly evident for the Discover BCS National Championship on Jan. 7.

Best case: Notre Dame beats Alabama, winning its first national title in 24 years, ending the SEC's reign of six straight crystal football trophies and eventually setting up the building of an on-campus statue of Brian Kelly, who follows in his Irish predecessors' footsteps by winning it all in his third year. Everett Golson emerges on the national radar as one of many upcoming quarterbacks to watch next season, Manti Te'o and Tyler Eifert close their careers with a bang and Louis Nix elects to return to South Bend for another season. Pretty sweet, huh?

Worst case: Golson underperforms under the bright lights, leading to another offseason of quarterback uncertainty, as Gunner Kiel and company await their chance. Alabama wins its third national title in four years going away, Nick Saban wins his fourth overall and the SEC's stretch of dominance continues for at least one more year, leaving many to wonder just how, or when, Notre Dame and the rest of the college football world can ever put an end to the conference's reign. Oh, and Nix elects to go pro afterward, too, leaving Notre Dame's defense without three of its best players after Te'o and Zeke Motta graduate.