Minnesota is in the driver’s seat. Or maybe it’s the captain’s seat? Whatever it is, the Golden Gophers are in first place of the B1G West heading into the ninth week of the season.

Thanks to Wisconsin’s loss to Illinois on Saturday, Minnesota sits all alone in the division, as the only unbeaten remaining in the West. The Gophers are a perfect 7-0 on the year with a 4-0 mark in B1G play. They have a chance to go 5-0 this weekend, hosting Maryland at TCF Bank Stadium.

Big Ten Network analyst J Leman had some thoughts on Minnesota controlling it’s own destiny the rest of the way, and he seems to really like how the team has come along later in the season. While there are still some tough games on the schedule, Minnesota is in great position.

“You’ve got to feel good about Minnesota,” Leman said. “Especially the way they’ve run the ball the last three or four weeks. That changes their game. They can control the ball, they get the play-action going. Minnesota has the West in its grip, it’s theirs to lose.”

If Minnesota defeats Maryland, it will improve to 8-0 on the year with another off week coming in the first week of November. Then, the Gophers hit the hardest part of their schedule.

In the final four weeks, Minnesota has games against No. 7 Penn State, No. 20 Iowa, Northwestern and No. 13 Wisconsin. It’s going to have its work cut out for it.

Still, the Gophers are sitting pretty as the month of October comes to an end.