With the downfall of BCS powerhouses Kansas State and Oregon this past weekend, Notre Dame has the ability to control its own destiny in the BCS and cap off what's been an eye-opening season for the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame remains unbeaten after a 38-0 win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, setting up the possibility of a 12-0 season if the Irish can get past the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Nov. 24.
Assuming that Notre Dame does become the new No. 1 in the BCS, the remaining spot in the championship game is said to be up for grabs in the SEC. The winner of the SEC conference championship, presumably Georgia or Alabama, will join Notre Dame for the Jan. 7 matchup in Miami, FL.
That being said, the Irish wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for the inspiring play of LB Manti Te'o, a player that exudes the meaning of perseverance and truly encompasses what being the heart and soul of a team really stands for.
Te'o's play on the field has been nothing short of heroic as he's managed to come up with big plays week-in and week-out, leading his team to victory as a member of one of the nation's top defenses. In addition to his stellar play, Te'o has managed to cope with the tragedy of losing two people very close to him during this season, his grandmother and girlfriend.
Instead of completely shutting down and taking the time to deal with his losses, Te'o has used them for motivation during the season while also motivating his teammates in the process.
To put it all in perspective, Notre Dame's season has been nothing short of a feel-good sports drama. It really feels like the script in a movie. All that's left to do is get past that one team that could ruin everything.
With how poorly USC has played this season, it's pretty safe to say that the Irish have this one in the bag, but you never know in college football. Take this past Saturday for example. Who would have predicted Baylor knocking off Kansas State or Stanford pulling off the upset against Oregon?
Assuming that the Irish do roll over Matt Barkley and the Trojans next week, I find it hard to believe that Notre Dame won't be in the BCS championship game or that Te'o won't be the favorite for the Heisman.
Kansas State QB Collin Klein was originally a top contender for the coveted trophy, but a sloppy three-interception performance in a 55-24 loss to Baylor put that dream to sleep. Kenjon Barner of Oregon was another contender, but his 66 yards in the 17-14 OT loss to Stanford was hardly Heisman-worthy.
The only other real candidate in the running is Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel. While Johnny Football has certainly wowed spectators this season, his freshman status could put a damper on that acknowledgment.
The stage couldn't be more perfectly set for Notre Dame to capture a Heisman Trophy and a BCS title. All the pieces are in place. The final path to glory is near.