Big Ten Football Calendar: Conference Unveils Matchups and Preserved Rivalries for the 2024-2028 Seasons

October 5, 2023

Todd Hall

The Big Ten Reveals Five-Year Football Schedules with USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington as New Additions

On Thursday, the Big Ten unveiled a five-year football scheduling plan extending through the 2028 season. This new model represents an adjustment to the previously released scheduling framework, accommodating the inclusion of Oregon and Washington, as well as USC and UCLA, joining the conference in 2024.

The schedule highlights a significant concern stemming from the Big Ten’s expansion: the extensive travel required to connect the West Coast and the Midwest. For instance, in 2024, with the exception of Purdue, all 14 existing Big Ten schools will embark on journeys to the West Coast. Among the four former Pac-12 teams, UCLA is set to visit Penn State, Nebraska, and Rutgers. USC will make trips to Minnesota, Michigan, and Maryland, while Washington will be competing in Indiana, Iowa, Penn State, and Rutgers. Oregon’s schedule will include visits to Michigan, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

In terms of lengthy cross-country voyages in 2024, the matchups include Maryland traveling to Oregon (covering 2,390 air miles), Rutgers journeying to USC (covering 2,450 air miles), and Washington heading to Rutgers (covering 2,390 air miles).

Kerry Kenny, the COO of the Big Ten, commented on the situation, stating, “Many of these matchups may have previously occurred as nonconference games. As we assess the overall schedule, there may be a shift from nonconference games to the conference schedule. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, given the unique circumstances of each team and each year.”

This newly introduced model is named “Flex Protect XVIII.” Over the initial five-year span, the 18 Big Ten schools will face each other at least twice, once at home and once away. No rotating opponent will be played more than three times during this five-year period.

Twelve traditional rivalries will receive “protected” status, ensuring they are played annually. These include matchups such as Ohio State vs. Michigan, USC vs. UCLA, Michigan vs. Michigan State, Minnesota vs. Wisconsin, Minnesota vs. Iowa, Nebraska vs. Iowa, Indiana vs. Purdue, Illinois vs. Purdue, Illinois vs. Northwestern, Oregon vs. Washington, Maryland vs. Rutgers.

The number of conference games will remain at nine, and details regarding tiebreaking procedures will be provided at a later date. Additionally, the Big Ten will no longer have divisions, as announced following the release of the Flex Protect Plus Model in June.

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