It’s not yet October, but I’ve already seen enough of the Big Ten West for a full season.

If the Big Ten wants its championship game to be remotely competitive and at all worth watching, Kevin Warren better hope Minnesota is in Indianapolis to meet Ohio State in December.

The rest of the West is not merely as bad as advertised. It’s worse.

Wisconsin, ostensibly Minnesota’s chief contender for the West title, proved it is no match for Ohio State in a Saturday night massacre on the banks of the Olentangy.

The Badgers scored 2 late trash-time touchdowns to make the game look as “close” as 52-21. Jim Leonhard’s young defense played its age, allowing a pair of 100-yard rushers and 539 total yards to the Buckeye juggernaut.

But even on a night where the defense allowed half-a-thousand yards, quarterback remains the bigger problem for the Badgers. Graham Mertz, who was deceptively competent for the majority of Wisconsin’s first 3 games, turned out to be exactly what we suspected he is: bad.

Mertz threw an interception on his first throw of the game, and only improved by the metric of not throwing another. He was 11-of-20 for 94 yards — a paltry 4.7 yards per attempt.

Outside of Braelon Allen’s 75-yard touchdown run against the No. 2 defense, this game didn’t feature a single play that made one believe Wisconsin could bridge the gap in a rematch. Or make its way to Indy in the first place.

Only 1 team in the B1G West looks worthy of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Minnesota: West Stars

Minnesota entered the weekend unranked despite its 3-0 record, because that’s how it is when you haven’t won the Big Ten in 55 years and plow through 3 patsies.

On Saturday, the Golden Gophers grabbed their deserved attention.

PJ Fleck’s team went to Michigan State and embarrassed the team that finished 9th in the country last year. The 34-7 margin was Minnesota’s widest over the Spartans since 1958. And much like the Ohio State-Wisconsin game, only a late touchdown made it look that respectable.

Things were going so poorly for Michigan State that Mel Tucker’s $95 million contract was trending on Twitter by the end of the third quarter.

From the looks of it, that won’t be the last time Tucker’s contract trends this season. The Spartans are ragged on defense.

But Michigan State still has weapons on offense. Receiver Jayden Reed was back after missing last week’s game at Washington with a back injury. Minnesota limited Reed to 4 catches for 21 yards in his return. The Gophers also stuffed the Spartans for 38 yards on 14 carries.

Minnesota is now allowing 6 points per game, and has given up fewer than 40 rushing yards in 3 of its games. But Minnesota’s defense was expected to be stout. The question was whether the Gophers could throw the ball.

Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan was viewed by many in the same lens as Mertz this offseason: the reason his team didn’t win the West a year ago.

But Morgan, a sixth-year senior, has elevated his game this season. He was 23-of-26 for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns the same week he lost his best receiver to a season-ending injury. Morgan made up for Chris Autman-Bell’s absence by connecting with 10 different targets.

Minnesota is the best team in the Big Ten West, and might be the best team in the entire league behind the Buckeyes. Only Michigan and Penn State also belong in that conversation, and we’ll get a direct answer when the Gophers visit Happy Valley on Oct. 22.

Will anything stop an Ohio State-Minnesota collision?

The state of the West can best be summed up by the fact Minnesota is in a 3-way tie for first in the division with Iowa and Northwestern.

Northwestern dropped to 1-3 overall after losing to Miami (Ohio) Saturday night. Iowa pulled off a 27-10 win at Rutgers, but its offense remains a giant question mark. Iowa’s defense scored 2 of its 3 touchdowns.

Minnesota is the clear-cut best in the West, but Fleck’s team will need to slay some demons to win the division. Fleck is 0-5 against Kirk Ferentz and Iowa. And Minnesota’s program is 0-9 against Bret Bielema, who beat the Gophers yet again in his maiden voyage at Illinois last season.

There are also rocks to dodge for Ohio State, which must navigate past Penn State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions and Wolverines can’t be discounted from the race in the East. But neither team feels as complete as the Buckeyes.

Ohio State’s offense is back to operating at full-throttle. And the Buckeyes have been doing so without the benefit of their most potent weapon — wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

Ohio State has 1,302 yards and 133 points in its past 2 games without its most game-changing player. So yes, Penn State and Michigan could grow over the next 2 months. But the same is true of Ohio State. Perhaps even more so.

Right now, all signs point to Ohio State and Minnesota meeting in Indianapolis.