Notre Dame has played well recently and reeled off four straight wins, but not everyone on the team has reached the zenith of their talent level.
There are a few players that need to give more in order for the team to make a run at winning the rest of its games.
If the Irish want to beat Stanford, the team will have to go into its last game playing its best football of the season, and every player needs to be at the top of their game.
So, although everyone can play better, who are the five guys that need to step up in the second half of the season?
Gary Gray was on his way to following former Notre Dame cornerback, Darrin Walls, to the NFL next year.
Numerous scouts had Gray on their radars, but after his sub-par start to the season, Gray's NFL aspirations might have been sidetracked.
Gray and Robert Blanton both lead the team in interceptions with two, but it has been Gray's inability to find the ball in the air that has devastated his stock.
No game highlighted his flaws more than Notre Dame versus Michigan. When Denard Robinson lobbed the football up for grabs, Gray was beaten repeatedly.
Gray has all the tools to become a dominant corner. He has good footwork, is a solid tackler and he can stay with wide receivers (he rarely allows receivers much separation).
Gray will be up against two prolific quarterbacks in the weeks to come, Matt Barkley and Andrew Luck, and if he doesn't get his mojo back, the Irish could be in for some serious trouble.
But if Gray can pick up his game in the second half of the season, he might just be the spark the Irish secondary needs.
Coaches and fans had high hopes for Prince Shembo this season, but he hasn't quite lived up to the hype.
Through six games (although Shembo missed one), Shembo has 12 tackles, two for a loss and one sack.
Shembo is a good pass rusher, and he needs to use his skills to get in the opponents' backfield more often as the season progresses. If he can play up to his potential, the sky is the limit for the 250-pound sophomore linebacker.
Freshman Troy Niklas has proven himself to be a capable backup. He even started in Shembo's absence against Michigan State, and the Irish are still waiting to see what Danny Spond can do at the position as well (he recorded his first two tackles of the season versus Air Force due to injury).
But it's vital for a Notre Dame BCS run that Shembo, who has the greatest ability as a playmaker at outside linebacker, starts to make some serious noise on the field.
Although winning the field position battle is rarely the primary point of discussion in a win or a loss, after Notre Dame's first two games of the season, Ben Turk became a form of profanity.
Saying Turk, and the rest of the special teams unit in general (other than punt and kickoff coverage), has been less than spectacular is an understatemet
Since averaging just 33.85 yards on nine punts in the Irish's first two games, Turk has played much better though, raising his average to 37.29 yards per punt (not a great average but considering the poor start it's respectable).
Turk will have to continue to raise his average in the weeks ahead.
The Irish can't afford for the kicking game to put the defense in a bad position, and if Turk can't provide consistency at the punter, he might be watching the games from the sidelines.
Ethan Johnson's versatility on the defensive line makes him a handful for any offense. He has the power to fight through the interior and the speed to rush off the edge, but Johnson has yet to truly put his footprint on a game.
At the halfway point of the season, Johnson hasn't recorded a single sack and has only one tackle for loss (against South Florida). Last year, Johnson had five sacks and six tackles for loss.
Defensive end, Kapron Lewis-Moore, has 1.5 sacks, four tackles for loss and 26 tackles on the season. Freshman Aaron Lynch has 12 tackles with three sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. Both Lynch and Lewis-Moore have outproduced Johnson, and Lynch has seen the field much less than Johnson has.
Johnson and his nine tackles have contributed to Notre Dame's stout run defense, but in order to help the struggling secondary he needs to get after the quarterback.
After missing the game against Air Force with an ankle sprain, Johnson will look to start the second half of the season off in the right way—putting Matt Barkley on the ground early and often.
While T.J. Jones has been a touchdown threat this season for the Irish (he has three), at times he seems to disappear from games. It's not all his fault, as Tommy Rees focuses much of his attention on getting the ball to Michael Floyd.
Jones is averaging only 38.2 receiving yards per game, but that really isn't any worse than Theo Riddick's 39.3 yard average.
Brian Kelly and Rees need to do their part in finding a way to get Jones the ball more (and Riddick for that matter).
The offense can't keep depending on Floyd to shoulder the load, and with Jones and a host of other talented options, the team shouldn't have to.
The more Notre Dame spreads the ball around on offense, the more difficult of a time opposing defenses will have stopping the Irish passing attack.
And when opposing defenses can't double team Floyd because of the other players' contributors, I feel sorry for whoever is playing Floyd man-to-man.