If Notre Dame plays to its potential, it should be in every game, but the team is still set to face a handful of very difficult opponents.
The three games that make Irish fans the most anxious are versus USC, Navy and at Stanford.
In order for the Irish to get the luxury of a trip to a BCS bowl and finish in the Top 8, the team will likely have to win out.
USC always has a lot of talent. The Irish pass defense will have to play lights out against USC quarterback Matt Barkley, but USC lost to Arizona State and the team is certainly not the threat to Notre Dame that it once was.
Navy has had Notre Dame's number the past two seasons. Its running game has given the Irish fits, but with Notre Dame's improvement against the run, Navy shouldn't be able to dominant this time. Navy has already lost two games to the University of South Carolina and Air Force.
The biggest and toughest game of the year will be at Palo Alto.
Stanford has the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, a shoo-in as the first NFL draft pick and an all-around playmaker in Andrew Luck. The Stanford quarterback leads the 32nd-ranked passing offense, one spot ahead of Notre Dame, and has thrown 11 touchdowns to just a single interception.
And Stanford isn't a one-dimensional offensive attack. The team also has the 31st rushing offense in the FBS.
The Stanford defense is no pushover either. The team ranks 26th in total defense and fourth in rushing defense.
Notre Dame will need to will all of its game in order to make a BCS appearance, but it seems all roads lead to Palo Alto.
If Notre Dame can do the difficult but not impossible, the team will prove all the doubters wrong and head to a BCS bowl this season.