In late 1989, the new athletic director at the University of Wisconsin made a discreet visit to South Bend, Ind., to talk to Notre Dame's defensive coordinator about becoming the next head football coach at UW.
At some point in the interview, Pat Richter asked Barry Alvarez the standard interview question.
"Where," Richter said, "do you see yourself in the future?"
Always regarded for his high level of preparedness, Alvarez was virtually born to answer that one.
"I laid it out like this," Alvarez recalled this week. "My vision is to do what my college coach did. Build a program, sustain it and after 10 or 15 years, do it like Bob Devaney. Pick my successor and keep it going."
So all those similarities you might notice Saturday night between Wisconsin and Nebraska in one of the biggest college football games in state history are far from coincidental.
Alvarez saw them coming - somewhere, somehow - not long after he left the Pittsburgh suburbs about 45 years ago to play linebacker at the powerful University of Nebraska for the soon-to-be legendary Devaney.