Jerry Kill's football teams have traditionally taken a big step forward in Year 3 of his tenure. It happened at Southern Illinois. It happened at Northern Illinois.
Whether he can make that translate into the Big Ten, however, is another question -- one which Las Vegas, at least, is guessing the answer is "no."
As noted by R.J. Bell of Pregame.com, the first over-under totals for BCS teams have been released, and the Gophers are sitting at 5.5. The numbers do not include bowl games or championship games, but still: the number is lower than the 6 regular-season victories the Gophers achieved in Year 2 under Kill.
The Gophers should walk through their first three non-conference games against UNLV, New Mexico State and Western Illinois. The fourth, against a tougher San Jose State team, should still be a victory.
So in essence, Vegas is making you decide whether the Gophers can win TWO games in the Big Ten. The Gophers have a daunting conference slate. But if they can't win all their non-conference games and at least a pair of games in the Big Ten to match what they did last year, well, that would be pretty rough.
We would take the over, for sure. Then again, the big casinos in Vegas weren't built because smart guys like us are good at making educated guesses.