ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit unveiled his college football predictions Wednesday and made the Gophers his surprise pick to win the Big Ten West. Minnesota went 6-7 last year, with six losses coming against 10-win teams. This year's schedule is considerably easier with no TCU, Ohio State or Michigan. But there are plenty of skeptics outside Dinkytown. The Gophers were picked to finish fifth in the West in the Big Ten preseason media poll. Las Vegas puts their over-under at 6.5 wins. Athlon picked the Gophers to go 6-6. Even Gophers coach Tracy Claeys has tempered the easy schedule talk. "We don't have as many so-called big names on the schedule, but we do have five conference road games," he said. "Having to go on the road and win in the Big Ten isn't easy." With the season starting one week from Thursday, we take a game-by-game look. Page 8C