Big Ten Conference introduces new football schedule format starting in 2024

(ABC 6 News) – The Big Ten Conference announced changes are coming to the 2024 and 2025 football season schedules with the additions of UCLA and USC.

The Big Ten said 2024 will be the first season with 16 teams and no divisional format. The conference will instead implement the Flex Protect Plus model, which features a combination of protected opponents and rotating opponents for universities.

Each member institution will continue to play nine intraconference games per season, and teams will play every other conference opponent at least twice – once home and once away – in a four-year period.

The conference will include also 11 protected matchups that will continue to be played annually. 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

The 2024 season will still conclude with the annual Big Ten Football Championship Game, which will feature the top two teams in the overall conference standings at the end of the regular season. The winner of that top two matchup will win the Big Ten Championship.

Officials say the goal of this new system is to find the right flexibility and balance between historic competitiveness, competitive trends, and annual travel.

The game dates for the 2024 football schedule will be announced later this year.

To view the 2024 Big 10 Conference opponents for each team, CLICK HERE.