Will 2011 be a Killer year for the Gophers?

While Gopher fans are learning what to expect from their new coach, expectations are tempered but hopeful. With the addition of Nebraska, a trip west to Pasadena and the Little Brown Jug on the schedule, 2011 is sure to be as difficult as 2010.

Jerry Kill was hired this week as the 32nd head football coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Kill will bring his multi-faceted offense and stingy defense to TCF Bank stadium next fall. Kill was quick to temper expectations for what might be a building year for the Gopher, but also raved about his new multi-faceted quarterback, Marquies Gray.

Kill and his Gophers will be thrown into the flames early next season with the opener at the Roe Bowl against Lane Kiffen and the Trojans. But Kill will have something to start the year that Brewster never did, a winning streak (not to mention a trophy in the trophy case). The Gophers gave fans, and perhaps Kill, a glimpse into the capabilities of a well-coached Gopher team with victories against two bowl bound teams, Illinois and Iowa, to finish the season.

Whether or not Horton, or any of the previous staff will be retained, is not apparent. Kill has a staff that has won together and knows his system, so the coming days will tell how his staff shakes out.

As Kill feels out his staff and his new players and implements his system, the 2011 season will be easier to handicap. Kill and the Gophers will have the chance to settle some scores next year. The Gophers will face the Bison of North Dakota State, a team that beat the Gophers in 2007.

Miami of Ohio will also be visiting TCF, giving Kill the chance to avenge his loss in the MAC championship while at the helm at NIU. Kill will also have the chance to pull the trifecta. With Michigan back on the schedule on an annual basis, the Gopher will be vying for all three of the Gophers historic trophies. The addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten will also renew the most played series between Nebraska and a Big Ten team.

After completing his rise from division II Pittsburgh State, Kill will begin his first season of BCS football coming off a 10-3 season and vowing to put in the work and the time necessary to build a competitive Big Ten program. There will be no magic bullet for rebuilding the Minnesota program, but Kill's track record seems to indicate that he might be the coach that can do it.

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