The 2013 BCS National Championship finds two coaches searching for their place in college football history.
On one side, a coach wearing the prestigious ND on his Adidas jacket is looking to win his first national championship. The opposing coach wearing crimson is looking to become the greatest coach in college football history.
How's that for high stakes?
A national championship victory undoubtedly means everything to both coaches, but who needs this win more in terms of their legacies?
The easy answer is Kelly. Kelly, who has brought Notre Dame back into the spotlight (where it belongs, Notre Dame enthusiasts might add), would join a fraternity of college football coaches who have won the "big one."
Raising that crystal ball in an era dominated by the SEC is a feat worthy of all the accolades and attention that will soon follow.
But what about becoming one of the greatest coaches of all time in this era? Carrying the tagline of best in the world is something truly remarkable, but carrying the tagline of greatest of all time is something completely different.
Think about it for a second. Who's the king of college football right now? This one shouldn't take you that long. You should just think back to all of those Forbes articles proclaiming that Saban is the most powerful coach in sports.
Saban is king because he brought Alabama back. Like Kelly did with Notre Dame in 2012, Saban rebuilt one of college football's most storied schools in 2008 with a 12-0 regular-season record. The Crimson Tide failed to win the big one that year (lost to Florida in the SEC Championship Game and Utah in the Sugar Bowl).
Fast forward to 2012, and the Tide have won two of the past three national championships. A Saban-led Alabama squad is playing for a chance to win its third national championship in four seasons.
Greatest coach of all time? Should Saban win this championship, he can certainly make the case.
Just reaching the national championship three out of four years is an amazing accomplishment, and he has won all three national championship games he's served as a head coach in (LSU in 2003).
That's why this game means more for Kelly and the Irish.
Notre Dame is back. The Irish are playing for the national championship against the mighty SEC, and with a perfectly executed game plan, Notre Dame can win its 12th national championship (first since 1988). Do you feel the magnitude of this game?
With a victory against Alabama, Notre Dame is on top of the college football world again, dethrones the SEC and, even better yet, takes out one of the greatest coaches to ever pick up a clipboard.
It's all on Kelly's shoulders. No pressure, right?