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Big Ten Going Divisionless, Announces 2024, 2025 Conference Opponents

The Buckeyes will be California Dreamin’ in 2024 and they’ll be doing it at the Rose Bowl against future conference foe UCLA.

That is just one of the marquee games announced by the Big Ten on Thursday as the conference released the home and away opponents for all 16 conference teams. The dates for each of those games will be released later this fall.

The Big Ten also announced that they will be doing away with divisions, and that every school will play at least one home and away game against every other school within a four-year period. This will allow all four-year players to be able to play in all 16 Big Ten stadiums.

The Big Ten Championship Game will be a matchup between the two teams in the conference with the best records.

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The Big Ten also released the protected rivals for each conference school. Protected rivals will play every year. Some schools have more protected rivals than others.

Ohio State’s lone protected rival is Michigan.

Ohio State’s home conference opponents in 2024 will be Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, and Rutgers. The road opponents will be Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State, and UCLA. The Buckeyes already have home non-conference games scheduled against Southern Mississippi, Western Michigan, and Marshall.

The schedules don’t simply flip in 2025, however, as the Buckeyes will host Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, and USC. Their road opponents will be Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin. The non-conference schedule in 2025 currently features home games against Texas and UConn, with one opponent yet to be named.

Full Big Ten Release

ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference today announced opponents for the 2024 and 2025 football seasons. With the additions of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC) into the conference, 2024 will be the first season with 16 teams and no divisional format.

The 2024 Big Ten football season will also debut the Flex Protect Plus model, which features a combination of protected opponents and rotating opponents for universities. Each member institution will continue to play nine intraconference games per season, and teams will play every other conference opponent at least twice – once home and once away – in a four-year period.

Conference schedules will include 11 protected matchups that will continue to be played annually and feature a combination of historic and geographic rivalries, as well as trophy games. These matchups were finalized in conjunction with all 16 member institutions to ensure the traditions of the Big Ten Conference remain strong as the conference evolves. 

The guaranteed annual protected matchups are Illinois-Northwestern, Illinois-Purdue, Indiana-Purdue, Iowa-Minnesota, Iowa-Nebraska, Iowa-Wisconsin, Maryland-Rutgers, Michigan-Michigan State, Michigan-Ohio State, Minnesota-Wisconsin, and UCLA-USC. The other two-play opponents for each member institution will change every two years. 

The 2024 season will conclude with the annual Big Ten Football Championship Game, which will feature the top two teams in the overall conference standings at the end of the regular season, with the winner earning the Big Ten Championship. Tiebreaking procedures will be announced later.  

The 2024 and 2025 opponent rotations were approved by the Big Ten Administrators Council after careful consideration and constructs that included:  

  • Maintaining control and flexibility as the college football postseason format evolves, with the goal to create access for programs into an expanded College Football Playoff.
  • Balance of annual travel by distance, regions of the conference, and time zones.
  • Balance of historic competitiveness and recent competitive trends, including home/away balance of traditionally competitive schools.
  • Balance and maximization of television inventory each season. 

The game dates for the 2024 football schedule will be announced later this year.




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