It’s official. The Northwestern Wildcats are the 2020 B1G West champions.

Plenty of people deserve credit, including a defense that ranks among the best in the country and head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who generally puts out a solid team year after year. However, the biggest difference-maker has to be Indiana transfer quarterback Peyton Ramsey. After what the Wildcats dealt with at the position in 2019, Ramsey singlehandedly fixed the problem when he enrolled at Northwestern, and he should be given a ton of credit.

Northwestern did not take the field this weekend, as scheduled opponent Minnesota is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak within the program. There are still questions regarding how many games are needed to be eligible to compete for the B1G title. But that is only an East Division issue. No matter what happens in next week’s final slate of B1G regular-season games, the Wildcats are headed to Indianapolis to compete for a conference title for the 2nd time in 3 years.

It has been a heck of a 3-year run for Northwestern. The Wildcats appeared in the B1G title game for the 1st time in 2018 after going 8-1 in conference play, though they lost to Ohio State. However, Northwestern’s stay atop the B1G West was short-lived.

Northwestern has long been one of the constants in college football under Fitzgerald, so it was a surprise to see how bad the Wildcats were in 2019. Northwestern won just 1 of their 1st 9 games, finishing 1-8 in B1G play for dead last in the West and 3-9 overall. It was the Wildcats’ worst record with Fitzgerald running the show, which he has been doing since 2006.

So what happened? It all comes down to quarterback, which is why Ramsey’s arrival was so crucial to the Wildcats’ success this fall. Northwestern enters the final game of the regular season with a 5-1 record and a B1G West division title, and they check in at No. 14 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.

Ramsey appeared in 31 games over 3 seasons with the Hoosiers. He started 4 games in his freshman year and every game with Indiana in 2018. He lost the starting spot to Michael Penix Jr. last season, but he filled in when Penix was injured early. Ramsey proved to be a solid B1G quarterback, completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 6,581 yards, 42 touchdowns and 23 interceptions with the Hoosiers. After the season, realizing Penix might return to being the starter, Ramsey decided to find a new program as a graduate transfer.

Ramsey came at a perfect time for Northwestern, which had all sorts of issues at quarterback last season. Four players lined up at quarterback — Aidan Smith, Hunter Johnson, Andrew Marty and T.J. Green. None of them found any success, as they combined to complete 50 percent of their passes for 1,404 yards with 15 interceptions and 6 touchdowns. Northwestern’s passing game ranked near the bottom among all 130 FBS teams in a variety of categories.

Ramsey joined Northwestern in the same offseason as new offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, and we’ve seen a major difference with this offense. Through 6 games, Ramsey, the starter in all of them, is completing 59.1 percent of his passes for 1,136 yards with 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.

While the numbers do not jump off the page, Ramsey’s presence puts Northwestern in position to win games, which the Wildcats’ quarterbacks were unable to do in 2019. Northwestern wants to play good defense and asks their quarterbacks to do just enough to put some points on the board and keep opposing defenses honest.

The Wildcats actually had a fairly solid defense for a team that finished 3-9, but they were unable to get much help at all on the other side of the ball. That has changed in 2020, and for that reason, Northwestern has surpassed expectations for many college football fans in the B1G and around the country.

Without Ramsey’s arrival in Evanston, I don’t think we’re talking about Northwestern returning to Indianapolis for the 2nd time in the past 3 seasons as they have their eyes on a B1G title.