If the Gophers are going to improve on their six-win season and bowl trip in 2012, it is going to be an uphill climb -- at least according to Football Outsiders. The troubling thing is that this isn't just a guy picking names out of a hat. The methodology, which FBO used to predict finishes for all 12 teams in 2013 goes like this:
For this series, we first ran preliminary projections for team, offensive and defensive efficiency. Then we calculated win likelihoods in each scheduled game, producing a projected record and win total range. Running the win likelihoods through 1,000 simulated seasons, we calculated the frequency with which each team claimed a conference crown.
The win range for the Gophers was between 3 and 7 based on that, with 5 being the projected number. That would leave the Gophers short of bowl eligibility. It should be noted that Minnesota's schedule is tougher than it was a year ago. Gone are Purdue and Illinois -- the two teams Minnesota beat in conference play. Per Football Outsiders:
The projection model gives Minnesota an outside shot at bowl eligibility, but the Golden Gophers don't have better than a 31 percent chance of winning any individual Big Ten game.
Jerry Kill's teams have a history of making a big jump in Year 3. Can he pull it off in 2013?