Murakami is still getting penalized for UR's, Tukt and Sotnikova have become horribly inconsistent, Zijun had an amazing free skate at Worlds but couldn't replicate it at WTT (and, in any case, should be striving for higher TES), Osmond avoids the hardest combos and skated just one clean FS this season (and really bombs when she bombs), and Korpi lacks the technical goods to qualify for a second GPF.
I doubt Carolina Kostner will be at Worlds 2014. This coming season will be rough enough, with two GPs and the GPF followed quickly by Euros and then Sochi (a team event first, then singles). At 27, she will have nothing to gain after a long, exhausting season by doing another Worlds. She is already a World Champion, and the only medal she would love to add is an Olympic medal. Whether she does medal at Sochi or not, I don't see her continuing to Worlds.
Regarding Alissa, I think that the US having a 3rd spot will motivate her to return. It's pretty clear she would have a tough time beating Gracie or Ashley at this point, but everyone after them has problems with underrotations, falls, or PCS. If Alissa comes back I think she is right in the mix for bronze. The OP was right; Alissa can finish top 5 or outside the top 20 in the world, but even at 80% she would win the bronze.
As far as Mirai goes, I am a big fan but I think her days of competing for the podium at Nationals are finished. Her body type does not seem conducive to rotating triple jumps but everything else about her skating is world class. I think her worst problem is that she doesn't have a recognized coach to lobby for higher scores, as she gets marks internationally that none of her peers (outside the top 2) earn. Had she played the political game I have no doubt she could have finished a few spots higher this year.
I have my doubts about whether Czisny will be competitive. With her two surgeries, she will have been away from competition for a year and a half when the season starts in October, and at 26, getting fully back to where she was pre-injury is a tough proposition.
Czsiny, AFAIR, only had 1 surgery for her hip. The second injury sustained in Appleton, WI require a doctor to pop her dislocation back into place, but no surgery was required. There WAS a 6 week recovery time from that, however.
Sorry, but Alissa DID have surgery to fix her hip after she dislocated it.
We don't know what Alissa is capable of until we've seen her skate. If she is still slow, has no 3/3, struggles with lutz and flip, and can no longer do hyperextended spin positions, she's not going to be competitive.
There's an on-going photo shoot for the USOC/NBC Olympics crew, and the US ladies invited are Ashley, Gracie, Agnes and Christina.
No mention yet of Courtney Hicks, Mirai Nagasu, or Alissa Czisny.
I'd be quite surprised if the third member of the Olympic team wasn't someone who was at this shoot.
I think Czisny has stated her intention to compete next season (though I can't cite a source -- I just remember reading this somewhere). I hope she does, and I hope she makes the Olympic team. I think she deserves it as long as she is decent at Nationals, as a reward for contributing some bright (very bright) spots to US ladies' figure skating in hard times. I think desert is relevant when one is talking about third, and even second, spots for the Olympic team. We're not talking about medals at that point, spots at competitions in the future, or "national glory."
(Let me clarify that I think Czisny, if she lands her jumps*, is a darkhorse medal contender at the 2014 Olympics and, even more so, Worlds -- i.e., giving her a spot on the team would not simply be a "gift" on the part of USFS. I think Czisny is the only US female skater about which one can plausibly say that, besides Wagner and Gold.)
*No one needs to tell me how unlikely (they think) this is.
ETA: drivingmissdaisy, I hate to say it, but I have to agree about Mirai. Her PB (190.15, set at the 2010 Olympics -- possibly the highest point of her career), has already been surpassed by Ashley and is just two points higher than Gracie's WTT score. Mirai's SP best (70.40) plus her FS best (129.68) would set her above the 200 mark, but she's not showing performances of that caliber on a consistent basis. I'm going to hold onto the tiniest sliver of hope for a comeback on the GP...but a total overhaul of her jumping technique and an evaporation of her UR issue seems, at this point, little more than a wish.
Alissa's personal best is 182.25, which would have placed her eighth at the 2010 Olympics, fifth at 2011 Worlds (which she was), third at 2012 Worlds, and eighth at 2013 Worlds. Both Ashley and Gracie (a debut senior!) have higher PB's and SB's, and are stronger competitors all-around.
It's hard to say if Alissa will be in shape in time for US Nationals, but as it stands right now, her chances of medaling at the Olympics are effectively zero. You have the Big Three, Wagner and Gold, the Russians, Zijun Li, Suzuki, and Murakami all in the race. And where does that leave Alissa? She has nice spins and artistry, but mediocre jumps (even when she's on). I suppose that, if she were to qualify for and have the SOHL in Sochi, she could be in the top five or six there...but even that would require bad to disastrous performances from several others. Right now, I daresay that even Agnes and Christina could outskate Alissa.