The Big Ten welcomes the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins into the fold in 2024. As such, the conference released the 2024 and 2025 conference football schedules on Thursday to showcase what fans can expect when those two iconic programs join the traditionally Midwestern conference.
For those with great eyesight 👀 pic.twitter.com/JgMrsM8aOK
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) June 8, 2023
Conferences 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,” according to The Athletic. “These matchups were set 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.
Most notably, none of the protected rivalries include the Penn State Nittany Lions.
“The conference is playing nine games, there’s a commitment to continue to do that,” Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti said on The Rich Eisen Show earlier this week. “Everything was studied. I think you’ll see in really short order some information coming out about how we’re going to play and how we’re going to organize around our college football schedule. It’s just days away.”
The CFB world was quick to react to the scheduling, which includes quirks like USC playing at Hawaii and Rutgers in the same season:
They are begging Ryan Day to be a grown man and win a title in 2025 with that schedule. He will decline https://t.co/AzWxEKg2mQ
— B1G_Ryan (@B1G_Ryan) June 8, 2023
So 2025 will be the 1st season since Penn State joined the Big Ten 30 years ago that they aren’t scheduled to play Ohio State https://t.co/dtz1KU1f3A
— Bobby Carpenter (@Bcarp3) June 8, 2023
USC & UCLA traveling some long distances & conversely a number of #BigTen schools making the long trek west to L.A. Still feels a bit surreal that this is reality beginning next year. #Big10 https://t.co/QOy7vfMsf4
— Jake Hatch (Yawk) (@JacobCHatch) June 8, 2023
— Ben Bobick (@BenBobickLocal3) June 8, 2023
Two big takeaways for me:
-USC and UCLA are going to play so many early season road games and so many late season home games
-Not playing Ohio State every year is awesome, but still feels so weird. https://t.co/7FdAEsQRWF
— Kyle Thele (@Thele10) June 8, 2023