While most daily Irish writers, ardent fans, and national media see no fewer than three or four losses for Notre Dame, and as many as five for next fall, at least one established college football entity disagrees with the amateurs' prevailing sentiment.
Las Vegas. That's right, the place that builds big buildings due to the betting misfortunes of people such as you and me has determined that only 10 teams --- 10!! -- should be given better odds of winning the BCS national title than Notre Dame. With two others, South Carolina and Clemson, joining Brian Kelly's Irish at 30-1.
It's true that a team's relative popularity has some impact on the pre-season odds. That is, Notre Dame (30-1) and Texas (18-1) might not be better than Wisconsin (60-1), but a touch more fans will bet in favor of two national, traditional powers such as the Irish and Longhorns than they would the defending Big 10 champions, a team much more poplar in its home state than anywhere else.
And unlike Notre Dame and now Texas, Wisconsin (for example) must play a league championship game to qualify as well.
A team's schedule also weighs heavily in the equation, and two of Notre Dame's 10 foes come in near, or at the top of the 2013 chart:
Vegas Odds to win the BCS Championship
Florida State: 10-1
Virginia Tech: 25-1
South Carolina: 30-1
Notre Dame: 30-1
Field (any team not among the 49 listed): 30-1. A field bet (remaining, unlisted teams) at 30-1 won't hurt Vegas because teams not on its list (Miami is an example) won't receive enough support or wagering power to damage a Casino's Sports Book should it somehow rise up and win the crown.
Worst Odds given to the 49 teams listed on Sportsbook.com 200-1, with 21 teams designated as such including Irish foes BYU, Stanford, Boston College and Wake Forest. (Stanford is a far better team than its counterparts listed here, and likely the best value on the entire board.)
Of note, Irish opponents Navy, Purdue, Miami, and Pittsburgh did not receive odds (putting their official odds today at 30-1 as a member of "The Field").
Both Michigan and Michigan State sit behind the Irish at 40-1 to win the 2013 BCS Title.
If you're wondering if Notre Dame is ever listed much worse than 30-1, I can verify that Tyrone Willingham's first Irish squad entered the season at 100-1 to win the BCS Title. That team reached 8-0 and #3 in the BCS rankings to kick-off November before finishing the regular season at 10-2.
(On a related note, Brian Kelly's third Cincinnati team was officially a 90-1 bet to win the 2010 BCS Title. They finished 12-0 and one spot in the rankings from the opportunity.)
The 2012 Irish are viewed as underdogs with a daunting slate to navigate. I'd concur with that sentiment, and don't think the squad can find a way to win 'em all or lose just one.
Then again, I haven't built any 110,000 square-foot casinos based on my betting prowess, either.