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“That 60-3 stretch, it’s not going to happen,” Grala said. “It’s happening for Alabama right now, but how many teams is that happening for? We don’t have everything cornered anymore like we did in the Big Eight when it was just us with Oklahoma. We’re a Big Ten school now. The Rose Bowl is what we need to focus on. It’s going to have to get accepted now. It’s hard to win those games. The competition is big right now, I think.”

Otte and his friend, Ryan Watts, said they like Pelini’s fiery coaching style but reserve judgment on his recruiting ability.

Otte said his only knock against Pelini is that he doesn’t sign a lot of homegrown high school players, the heart-and-soul kind who were the backbone of Osborne’s teams.

Speaking of Osborne, Watts, 33, pointed out that it took time for Osborne to elevate the program. Osborne lost his first five games against Oklahoma and, feeling the pressure, almost left to take the Colorado job in 1978.

“We have a team that is better than a lot of others, like Iowa and Kansas,” Watts said. “We should be feeling fortunate with what we have.”

That said, what would be an acceptable outcome this season to Otte and Watts?

“Conference championship with a Rose Bowl,” Otte said.