In the spirit of the season, it's only appropriate to include the undefeated Fighting Irish in the Christmas festivities.
Before head coach Brian Kelly and Co. return to campus for one week of practices prior to boarding their flight to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game, they are the blessed recipients of gifts from yours truly.
I have no shame in admitting that my gift-wrapping skills are not the best, so please do not judge.
Let's see what's beneath the grotesque wrapping paper.
I'm certain that Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who probably watched film on Christmas Day, has noticed Notre Dame's single glaring weakness: its punt return game.
For the second consecutive season, the Irish finished in the cellar of the FBS (115th) in average punt return yards at 2.44 yards per return.
A season ago, former special teams coordinator Mike Elston simply couldn't find a solution for the Irish's punt return woes, so he inserted John Goodman as a glorified fair catch caller.
However, Notre Dame was blessed with an electrifying playmaker—Davonte' Neal—in its 2012 recruiting class. Surely, Neal would be the savior of the Irish's punt return unit this season. Well, concisely, he hasn't been.
Neal has had virtually no available space to work with, as the cover unit has let opposing gunners beat it down the field consistently.
Alabama defensive end Damion Square must be licking his chops while envisioning his matchup with Mike Golic, Jr. that will transpire in less than two weeks at Miami's Sun Life Stadium.
Square, perhaps Alabama's most fearsome defensive end, knows that he has the upper hand against the less athletic Golic Jr.
The son of ESPN personality and former Notre Dame defensive end Mike Golic has struggled mightily against faster, more athletic defensive linemen this season. If he is beaten at the point of attack, Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson will be found scrambling in the backfield.
That may turn out to be a common theme during the BCS National Championship Game.
As was written by my colleague, Michael Felder, the key matchup of the BCS National Championship Game will be Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix vs. Alabama center Barrett Jones.
Nix, a mammoth 6'3", 326-pounder, is a space eater who allows the Irish front seven a variety of different looks.
However, without Nix, the Irish defense simply isn't the same.
When Nix arrived as an overweight freshman in 2010—he checked in at more than 340 pounds—Brian Kelly demanded that he cut weight in order to become an every-down player.
Since then, Nix has lowered his weight to 326 pounds and has evolved into the consistent, dominant player Kelly envisioned he would be.
Yet a player of Nix's size is physically incapable of playing every single down through the duration of a 60-minute game. Because of that, the Irish will turn to Kona Schwenke and Tony Springmann at times, two players who don't present matchup problems to Alabama.
While the Notre Dame offense hasn't missed Michael Floyd nearly as much as I thought it would this season, having the current Arizona Cardinal and former Irish receiver back for the BCS National Championship Game would be quite a blessing.
No, I haven't forgotten about Irish tight end Tyler Eifert, a matchup nightmare for any opposing defense, and likely the first tight end selected in the 2013 NFL draft.
Some may say that Floyd's absence has been the reason for Notre Dame's meager passing statistics, but any knowledgeable fan knows that it's a direct result of a dominant rushing attack.
But imagine Floyd and Eifert lining up against the Crimson Tide defense. Nick Saban wouldn't get any sleep between now and Jan. 7, for the play-action possibilities with those two players would be endless.
The difference between last season's Notre Dame squad, and this season's version can be described with one word: turnovers.
The Irish ended their 2011 season with a repugnant turnover margin of -1.15, which can be blamed for each of their five losses.
The current season has been the polar opposite, as the Irish are tied for 21st nationally in turnover margin at .75. Quarterback Everett Golson has protected the football better than most expected he would, as the redshirt freshman has only thrown five interceptions.
Against Alabama, even one turnover could prove lethal.
Golson must be meticulous in his preparation and patient while progressing through his reads during the play.
Careless throws down the field and lazy handling of the football—Golson enjoys carrying the ball with one hand a la Michael Vick—are a formula for disaster against the team ranked first nationally in points off turnovers, as the Tide has converted 160 points from opposing teams' miscues.