So far, Jerry Kill is saying and doing the rights things to set the stage for a turnaround in Minnesota. He has experienced assistants, an established system, and he is methodically filling the holes in the roster with the best available players that he can reasonably recruit within the span of a few months.
While rebuilding a program after a losing season can take time, Kill isn't starting off with a bare cupboard. The Gophers have some talented players.
Looking at the 2011 schedule, Kill could very well have an impressive first season:
USC - I doubt the Gophers will win this one, but it will be fun to watch the new-look team in action. L (0-1)
New Mexico St/Miami (Ohio)/NDSU - If the Gophers don't win at least two of these games, there is cause for concern. Three wins are very possible. (3-1)
Michigan - Two new coaches, two different levels of baseline talent. Michigan will probably win this one. If Kill did pull this one off, Hoke is on the Hot Seat! (3-2)
Purdue - This one could go either way, but Kill has a decent shot at a win. (4-2)
Nebraska/Iowa - At least another year of rebuilding will be needed before a Gopher win would be anything but an upset. (4-4)
Michigan State - An absolute toss-up, Michigan State is undoubtedly the favorite due to their success in 2010. (4-5)
Wisconsin - Bielema's running game gives Bucky the edge. (4-6)
Northwestern/Illinois - Both should be hard-fought games. These games could be the difference between a 4-8 season and a 6-6 season. (5-7)
It's far too early to analyze the 2011 season, but what do you think? Would you be happy with a 5-7 season in 2011?