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Big Ten Football Schedule, Protected Rivalries for 2024 Released: Live Reaction, Analysis

As USC and UCLA join the conference, who will the Big Ten project, and what rivalries will fall by the wayside? Live reactions and analysis:

NCAA Football: Southern California at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Didn’t even make it to the reveal—Rittenberg found out and broke for us who the Big Ten’s annual protected games would be after we speculated recklessly earlier:


Here are the other—LIVE!—updates as they come in on BTN:

USC in 2024:

USC in 2025

UCLA in 2024

  • Home: Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, USC
  • Away: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Rutgers
  • Non-Conference: at Hawai’i, vs. Fresno State, at LSU Tigers

UCLA in 2025

  • Home: Maryland, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin
  • Away: Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State, USCIL, MSU, UNL, PSU, USC
  • Non-Conference: Georgia, at UNLV, New Mexico

Two-Play Opponents for 2024-25

An asterisk (*) denotes protected opponents for that team long-term.

Rapid Reactions:

MNW: I gotta say, one of the early things really pissing me off here is the jeans-creaming at the prospect of Michigan and Ohio State playing back-to-back in the regular season and the championship. We get it, guys.

Thump, you must be thrilled about getting Illibuck BACK TO BACK!

Thumpasaurus: THEY ACKNOWLEDGED ILLIBUCK! Truth be told, I don’t want to reach the end of history without ever getting another crack at that damn turtle. There’s never a particularly good time to play Ohio State, but if this Bielema thing is really happening, there’s now two chances to break what is chronologically our longest conference losing streak.

No Rose Bowl for Illinois though :(

misdreavus79: Damn they took #Unrivaled to heart!

BoilerUp89: When they announced that USC-UCLA would join the conference, I was concerned about two things. 1) That they would shuttle Purdue off to the East division and put USC & UCLA in the West and call it done. 2) That they would embrace a 3+6 format and stick Purdue with Rutgers as their 3rd “rival”. As someone who hates when Purdue plays any team from New Jersey and thinks that the entire state should be disbarred from Division 1 athletics (particularly basketball), I’m really rather pleased that each B1G team only received their appropriate protected rivals.

For Purdue, protecting Indiana and Illinois is perfect.

Minor quibbles: Loss of LAZERS! as an every year thing. I think by not pairing MSU/PSU every year, you miss some potential for Maryland/Rutgers to become an annual end of year rivalry since there will be years they have to get matched up with MSU and PSU that week instead. Of course, I really don’t care about Maryland and Rutgers, so that’s fine. The loss of Illibuck and Spitty as every year trophies is a shame but understandable. I’m not sure why Purdue gets both of their two protected rivals at home on odd years and on the road in even years. I’m also not sure why Purdue gets Ohio State and Michigan in the same year.

Really, the only major complaint that can be made about this scheduling format is the loss of the most hate-filled rivalry in all of college football: Purdue-Iowa. Jim Delany understood that Purdue (the upholders of all that is sacred in this world) should play Iowa (the source of all evil) every year. Why do the current powers that be not understand that?

Kind of...: Every non-Cali team is heading to So Cal at least once in the next two years, so I’m happy about that.

You can’t please everybody, but I actually think this looks pretty good. Would I like to play Nebraska every year? Sure, but you can’t get everything you want. Minnesota and Iowa are protected. I’ll take it.

I also think the schedule was made with the thought “How do we set up a schedule so a traditional power who goes 9-3 might have a shot at an at-large bid in the expanded playoff” not far from mind. Look at ‘25:

  • OSU: @Michigan, @UW
  • USC: @OSU, @UW
  • PSU: @Michigan, @ USC

Any of those teams goes 10-2, and they’re almost a lock (6 P5 teams that didn’t win their conference had 2 or fewer losses last year; there’s your at-large pool). And, given the separation between B1G/SEC and PAC/Big12/ACC, a 9-3 at-large bid isn’t off the table.

It seems the B1G is saying that, regardless of number of protected rivalries, everybody will play everybody else 2x in a four-year span. If that actually happens, I will declare “flex plus” a huge success. And it would let the B1G really come after the SEC for their 8-game schedule and huge gaps of time between some conference opponents playing each other. (Alabama and Georgia have played twice in the regular season from 2009-present, for example. Georgia and LSU once from 2010-present.)

16 teams is a lot. Some sacrifices will have to be made. But I’m fairly impressed.

Buffkomodo: This schedule shakes out pretty well for Indiana to be quite honest. If Tom Allen can’t find a 6-6 season with this schedule, Indiana will have a new coach in 2025.

This is a live story and will be updated, including with writers’ reactions, shortly.