The first season of an 18-team, bicoastal Big Ten Conference will include Oregon hosting Ohio State, Penn State at Southern California and Michigan going to Washington.
The Big Ten released five seasons’ worth of football opponents for each of its schools on Thursday. The conference adds USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington next year to a league that had all its schools in the Eastern and Central time zones.
Game dates will be released later.
The Big Ten schedule will remain nine games, and starting in 2024 the conference will scrap its divisional format, which had already been determined before the latest expansion.
The Big Ten had released opponents for the 2024 and 2025 seasons — the first with USC and UCLA — in June, but those needed to be torn up after the conference expanded West again in August with Oregon and Washington also leaving the Pac-12.
“Had to go back to the drawing board and do this rotation again,” Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti said. “We staying with a lot of the principles that were in place when we did the original announcement back with USC and UCLA being integrated. The core concepts: competitive balance, connecting the whole conference, trying to be mindful of travel … protecting the traditional rivalries, all of those things are in this process.”
The Big Ten calls its scheduling model flex-protect, which locks in important annual rivalry games but doesn’t require every team to have the same number of protected games.
The 18-team model has 12 protected annual matchups: Illinois-Northwestern; Illinois-Purdue; Indiana-Purdue; Iowa-Minnesota; Iowa-Nebraska; Iowa-Wisconsin; Maryland-Rutgers; Michigan-Michigan State; Michigan-Ohio State; Minnesota-Wisconsin; Oregon-Washington; and USC-UCLA.
Teams will play every other conference opponent at least twice – home and away – during a five-year period, but no more than three times.
Notably, the West Coast schools are not guaranteed to face each other every season. In 2024, Oregon and USC do not play each other, but Washington and UCLA play each of the other three former Pac-12 schools,
Washington’s five conference road games in 2024 will include three trips into the Eastern Time zone (Indiana, Rutgers and Penn State) and another to the Central Time Zone at Iowa, along with Oregon.
None of the current schools will be required to make more than one trip to the West Coast in any season.
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