The Big Ten Conference expansion with the additions of UCLA and USC from the Pac-12 are not the only changes to be made ahead of the 2024-25 season.
Beginning in 2024, there will no longer be divisions in the conference, the Big Ten announced Thursday. In 2010, the conference became divided for the first time into Legends and Leaders (2010-14), and since then it’s been the East and West.
Despite this change, each team will still meet three out-of-conference teams and nine in-conference foes in a regular season.
In the new 16-team schedule rotation, every team in the conference will play each other every other year and swap locations in an attempt to give all players the opportunity to play at all 16 stadiums within the typical four-year college career, according to the announcement.
Additionally, Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti said on the Rich Eisen Show Tuesday that rivalries will be protected and those teams will continue to meet every season, which is called “Flex Protect,” according to The Athletic . The “Flex Protect” method can be used to maintain up to three annual opponents, and Ohio State versus Michigan is confirmed as a guaranteed yearly matchup, according to the announcement.
“Those are going to be protected,” Petitti said on the Rich Eisen Show. “I think you get to a format where you’re protecting those core rivalries and at the same time you’re creating a rotation that has members playing each other frequently, so you can provide that same type of connection.”
According to the announcement, the Big Ten Championship game will remain and without divisions, the top-2 teams in the conference will face off for the title.
In the announcement, the Big Ten released a tentative Ohio State football schedule for both 2024 and 2025. No game times and not all dates, opponents or locations have been released.
2024-25 schedule (dates will be announced fall 2023):
Aug. 31 – Southern Mississippi
Sept. 7 – Western Michigan
Sept. 14 – Bye Week
Sept. 21 – Marshall
Big Ten schedule:
Home opponents (in no specific order)
Away opponents (in no specific order)
Aug. 30 – Texas
Oct. 18 – UConn
The final non-conference game is to be added at a later time.
Big Ten schedule:
Home (in no specific order)
Away (in no specific order)
More updates to follow.