Notre Dame's rise to the top of the college football food chain was swift and unexpected by all but the most diehard Irish fans.
So who has a shot at pulling a Notre Dame in 2013?
The 10 teams on this list sure do.
Not all of them will be as unexpected as the Irish were this season, but all of them are dark-horse national title candidates or have the talent to dominate on defense and become one of the nation's most effective defensive units.
All other potential resemblances aside, there is no team on this list that will have a leprechaun as a mascot in 2013, although it certainly couldn't hurt.