UCLA’s first season in the Big Ten will include games against Michigan and Ohio State.
The Big Ten revealed its schedule format for 2024 and 2025 on Thursday afternoon as it adjusts its scheduling model to accommodate the addition of UCLA and USC from the Pac-12. The conference is dropping its divisions after the 2023 season, and teams will rotate opponents throughout the conference except for certain annual rivalry games.
The Bruins will face Ohio State at home and Michigan on the road in 2024 while USC will face Michigan at home. The Trojans are also attracting Penn State while UCLA does not have the Nittany Lions on its schedule.
A game against Maryland will be the longest road trip for the Trojans while UCLA’s longest road trip will be at Rutgers. The shortest road trip for USC is a game against Purdue while UCLA’s shortest road trip is to Iowa.
USC will play four home games and five away games in 2024, while USC has five home games and four away games. These totals reverse in 2025, as USC has Ohio State on the road and UCLA has neither of the two Big Ten teams that made the college football playoffs after the 2022 season.
Every team has at least one annual rival except Penn State
Under the current Big Ten format, each team plays its six division opponents and one team from the other division on a yearly basis and the remaining two games rotate between the other six non-division opponents.
With the divisions gone after 2023, the Big Ten decided to protect some rivalry games for the foreseeable future like Ohio State vs. Michigan and UCLA vs. USC. And some schools have more rivals than others.
Iowa, for example, has three protected rivalry games on its schedule starting in 2024. The Hawkeyes will face Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nebraska every year until the Big Ten decides to change its format again. calendar. Penn State, meanwhile, has no protected rival at all.
Five teams have two protected rivalry games each year while nine teams have one. Below is the list of matches that will be played each year.
Illinois vs. Northwest
Illinois vs. Purdue
Indiana vs. Purdue
Iowa vs Minnesota
Iowa vs. Nebraska
Iowa vs. Wisconsin
Maryland vs. Rutgers
Michigan vs Michigan State
Michigan vs. Ohio State
Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
UCLA vs. USC
The Big Ten made it clear in its release that the new format was set in stone for only 2024 and 2025 in case it needed to be changed. He listed the factors below as the main reasons for coming up with the format.
Maintain control and flexibility as the college football playoff format evolves, with the goal of creating program access in an expanded college football playoff.
Annual travel balance by distance, conference regions and time zones.
Balance between historical competitiveness and recent competitive trends, including the home/away balance of traditionally competitive schools.
Balancing and maximizing television inventory in each season.
Additionally, the conference has declared that each team will have three opponents that are guaranteed to play in consecutive seasons. Since Iowa has three rivalry games on its schedule, it won’t face any of the other 12 conference teams in consecutive seasons.
All other teams will see their non-rivals rotate in their group of three every two seasons. That means Penn State will have homes with Michigan State, Rutgers, and USC in 2024 and 2025 before likely having three new consecutive opponents in 2026 and 2027. A team like Michigan State, meanwhile, will continue to have Michigan on its schedule every year and has two new home opponents in 2026 and 2027 after playing Indiana and Penn State in 2024 and 2025 assuming the current format remains.
USC has Wisconsin in its pool of home opponents in 2024 and 2025 along with Penn State and UCLA while the Bruins will face Nebraska and Rutgers in each of their first two seasons in the conference.