The Big Ten Conference has released new football schedules for the 2024-28 seasons

The Big Ten announced the latest edition of its future football schedules for the 2024 to 2028 seasons on Thursday, after adding Oregon and Washington to its ranks.

The conference had released a schedule format in June, but with the addition of Oregon and Washington, another release was required.

The most recent schedule will be constructed under the conference’s “Flex Protect XVII” paradigm, which will feature a combination of protected opponents and rotating opponents for the colleges.

“We added two additional [teams], but that changes everything.” “We have to start over,” Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti said during a conference call. “We’re sticking to a lot of the principles that were in place when we first announced the merger of USC and UCLA, such as core concepts, competitive balance, and connecting the entire conference.” Trying to be aware of travel, all of those things are still in force here, defending traditional rivalries, all of those things are in play.”

Within the new system, there are 12 guaranteed protected matchups that will be contested annually: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 UCLA-USC are among the teams that will compete.

Distance and travel have been an important part of the process for Petitti and Big Ten chief operations officer Kerry Kenny, as adding four West Coast schools brought logistical issues that needed to be balanced for student-athletes and budgets. The conference collaborated with athletic directors to establish that balance and ensure that things ran as smoothly as possible for everyone involved.

“There’s an overarching narrative that every Big Ten competition will be a midweek game between a team from Eugene and a team from Piscataway.” “That’s not what we’re looking at here,” Kenny clarified. “We’ve taken a really thoughtful approach, not just to football, but to each sport that will be impacted by the addition of these four schools.” And what is the most efficient approach to construct schedules, opponent rotations in forms that strive to minimize time away from campus to the greatest extent possible?”

Kenny stated that the mental and physical well-being of the athletes was prioritized in the scheduling, such as ensuring that if a team is playing an away game two time zones away, it will not also be playing a midday away game at a Central time zone school the following week. The conference considered the weekly ups and downs of a season, as well as bye weeks and Friday night games that could effect travel.

The new teams will play multiple away games in the 2024 season, with Oregon visiting Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, and UCLA. The Trojans’ opponents will be Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, UCLA, and Washington. UCLA is scheduled to visit Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers, and Washington. The Huskies will visit Indiana, Iowa, Penn State, Rutgers, and Oregon this season.

Each team will play nine conference games per season, with teams only playing rotating opponents three times in a five-year period.

The 2024 season will be the first without divisions, with 18 teams from throughout the conference competing. Because there will be no divisions, the Big Ten championship game will feature the top two teams in the regular season standings.