Notre Dame has wobbled at times in 2012, but an ultimately perfect record puts them atop the BCS and in the national championship.
Conference championship week could still cause a significant shakeup in the BCS bowl picture. But that won't prevent predictions from how the final lineup of college football's marquee bowls will look after Week 14 is over.
The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide will take on third-ranked Georgia in the SEC championship game, which will have direct national title ramifications—and some may argue it is the de facto national championship itself.
With the Big East, Big 10 and Big 12 also still up for grabs, there is still time for teams to clinch a bid with a conference title or make their own case for an at-large berth.
Here is a look at the latest projections for the BCS bowl games.
Matchup: No. 12 Nebraska vs. No. 8 Stanford
Both of these teams conference championship games are still on tap, but both should take care of business against inferior competition.
The Cardinal just blew out the UCLA Bruins 35-17 on the road, and now get to welcome them to Stanford Stadium this coming weekend. Led by senior RB Stepfan Taylor and new starting quarterback Kevin Hogan, David Shaw's offense has found new life to compliment its stalwart defense.
Expect the Pac-12 showdown to be a bit closer this time around. Still, Stanford will emerge victorious and simply out-muscle the upstart Bruins, who are having a surprisingly good year under new head coach Jim L. Mora.
Credit the Cornhuskers for capitalizing on a bizarre season in the Big 10.
Ohio State and Penn State are both ineligible for the postseason, and Nebraska has taken full advantage of that. They have to face Wisconsin in the conference championship, but managed to handle the Badgers 30-27 back in September, and it's clear who the better team is at this juncture.
The improvement in Taylor Martinez's passing makes the Husker offense very dangerous, but the Cardinal have stood up to every dual-threat QB test all year long.
With the far tougher road Stanford has traveled this year, it's hard to fathom anything other than a convincing win for the Cardinal in this one.
Matchup: No. 12 Florida State vs. No. 17 Kent State
The Golden Flashes have had an outstanding season in Darrel Hazell's second year at the helm. After going 5-7 to miss out on a bowl game in 2011, Hazell has guided Kent State to an 11-1 record and to the brink of a BCS berth.
Should Stanford dispose of UCLA on Saturday—a relatively high probablity—and the Golden Flashes topple Northern Illinois to win the MAC, Kent would slide into the top-16 and demand an Orange Bowl bid.
The bowl could select either Rutgers or Louisville from the Big East, but both would have to somehow leapfrog the Golden Flashes in the BCS. That seems impossible, considering neither are in the Top 25.
An outstanding running back duo of Dri Archer and Trayion Durham—all six feet, 260 pounds of him—have keyed Kent State to this outstanding run of 10 straight victories to jump into the BCS picture. Archer averages nearly 10 yards per carry, while Durham is obviously more of a power runner.
Both have produced 14 rushing touchdowns in 2012, and it would be very interesting to see how they matched up with the Seminoles.
FSU had an embarrassing, five-turnover performance at home in losing to the arch-rival Florida Gators most recently. A somewhat spotty Kent State defense would be a welcome matchup for QB EJ Manuel, but the Seminole defense would have to keep the clock-chewing offense of the Golden Flashes off the field.
Pitting an obvious underdog against one of the most renowned programs in the country would be captivating if Kent State can hang around.
That's a big "if," but who would have thought the Golden Flashes would have even been in this position in the first place?
Matchup: No. 4 Florida vs No. 11 Oklahoma
A report by ESPN's Brett McMurphy earlier this month confirmed that the newly christened "Champions Bowl"—reverting back to its typical title for sponsorship reasons—will undoubtedly pit an SEC team against a Big 12 opponent.
With Kansas State in line to win the Big 12 and Florida just outside of the national championship picture, it's hard to picture any other two teams playing in this game.
Any criticism of the Florida offense should have been laid to rest with their showing at Florida State this past weekend. After allowing the Seminoles to crawl back into the game, the Gators stormed back by outscoring their rival 24-6 in the fourth quarter.
A punishing performance featured five turnovers from the playmaking defense and 244 yards rushing, led by senior RB Mike Gillislee's two touchdowns.
Even if the Sooners lose at TCU this week, they will still find themselves in this game. That's thanks to the Horned Frogs' implosion after QB Casey Pachall left the team and the strange odyssey that is the Texas Longhorns' season.
Once again, a very talented Bob Stoops team will fall short of the ultimate goal, but this will be a nice consolation opportunity to stand up to elite opposition. Two home losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame proved the Sooners weren't quite up to national title snuff in 2012, but a win over the Gators would be a nice way to cap off the year.
Matchup: No. 6 Kansas State vs. No. 5 Oregon
This is the one everyone will be talking about, and it's inevitable—assuming the Wildcats pull out a home victory over Texas on Saturday.
The Ducks bounced back in a big way after their home loss to Stanford by taking it to their in-state foe Oregon State on the road, 48-24. Heisman candidate Kenjon Barner ran for 198 yards and two TDs in yet another Oregon offensive explosion.
Kansas State needed a bye to lick its wounds after a blowout loss to Baylor dashed their national title hopes. Both of these teams could have been meeting on college football's ultimate stage, but they will have to settle for playing second fiddle.
Collin Klein has accounted for 34 touchdowns and should be prominently featured in the Heisman discussion even more so than Barner. Not to be discounted is senior running back John Hubert though, who has helped his QB out by running for 12 touchdowns this season.
It all starts and ends with Klein though, as he is the catalyst for everything Kansas State does.
Considering the high-octane nature of these offenses, explosive plays and points should be in ample supply in what would be an incredibly entertaining game ahead of the national title showdown.
Matchup: No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama
The Crimson Tide will find a way to defeat No. 3 Georgia in their conference title game, and set up an opportunity to repeat as national champions. But this isn't one of the overrated Fighting Irish teams of recent years.
After a high-scoring affair in the Fiesta Bowl, college football fans will have to hunker down for some seriously physical, defensive football in the main event of the 2012 season.
Despite losing so much talent to the NFL, the Alabama defense has remained one of the nation's best. The Irish are led by All-American LB Manti Te'o—who himself will be playing on Sundays soon enough—and their defense has keyed the team's turnaround to a stunning undefeated campaign and No. 1 ranking.
Eddie Lacy and freshman phenom T.J. Yeldon headline the Tide backfield, while Notre Dame has its own three-headed monster of Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III.
What will likely determine the outcome of this one will be quarterback play. AJ McCarron is one of the most efficient, intelligent signal callers in the country, and already has a championship to his credit.
But in Bama's only loss, they struggled to contain dynamic QB Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, who beat the Tide with his arm and his feet.
Although he is not the player Manziel is, Everett Golson brings that similar type of ability to the table for the Irish.
In a game where Notre Dame will likely be severe underdogs despite being the higher-ranked team, Golson will have to limit mistakes and make magic happen on broken plays to push the Irish over the top.