Oregon to host Ohio State, visit Michigan in 1st Big Ten football season

Oregon Ducks vs. Portland State

The first season of an 18-team, bicoastal Big Ten Conference will include Oregon hosting Ohio State, Penn State at Southern California and Michigan going to Washington.

The Big Ten released five seasons’ worth of football opponents for each of its schools on Thursday. The conference adds USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington next year to a league that had all its schools in the Eastern and Central time zones.

Big Ten Chief Operating Officer Kerry Kenny said the conference wants to have game dates for the 2024 season set by the end of October.

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The Big Ten schedule will remain nine league games for each team, and starting in 2024 the conference will scrap its divisional format, which had already been determined before the latest expansion.

The Big Ten had released opponents for the 2024 and 2025 seasons — the first with USC and UCLA — in June, but those needed to be torn up after the conference expanded West again in August with Oregon and Washington also leaving the Pac-12.

“Had to go back to the drawing board and do this rotation again,” Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti said. “We staying with a lot of the principles that were in place when we did the original announcement back with USC and UCLA being integrated. The core concepts: competitive balance, connecting the whole conference, trying to be mindful of travel … protecting the traditional rivalries, all of those things are in this process.”

Oregon 2024 Big Ten home opponents

  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Michigan State
  • Ohio State
  • Washington

Oregon 2024 Big Ten road opponents

  • Michigan
  • Purdue
  • UCLA
  • Wisconsin

The big question for Oregon is what happens with its non-conference schedule and whether its annual rivalry game with Oregon State will survive.

According to FBS Schedules, Oregon already has four scheduled non-conference games — at Hawaii, vs. Idaho, vs. Texas Tech and vs. Boise State. That means they’ll play 13 games while most teams play 12.

It’s not clear if the Ducks might cancel one of those non-conference games to make room for Oregon State, add a 14th game or eliminate the Ducks-Beavers matchup entirely.

The Big Ten calls its scheduling model flex-protect, which locks in important annual rivalry games but doesn’t require every team to have the same number of protected games.

The 18-team model has 12 protected annual matchups: Illinois-Northwestern; Illinois-Purdue; Indiana-Purdue; Iowa-Minnesota; Iowa-Nebraska; Iowa-Wisconsin; Maryland-Rutgers; Michigan-Michigan State; Michigan-Ohio State; Minnesota-Wisconsin; Oregon-Washington; and USC-UCLA.

Teams will play every other conference opponent at least twice – home and away – during a five-year period, but no more than three times.

Notably, the West Coast schools are not guaranteed to face each other every season. In 2024, Oregon and USC do not play each other, but Washington and UCLA play each of the other three former Pac-12 schools,

Washington’s five conference road games in 2024 will include three trips into the Eastern Time zone (Indiana, Rutgers and Penn State) and another to the Central Time Zone at Iowa, along with Oregon.

None of the current schools will be required to make more than one trip to the West Coast in any season.

Building around those foundations, the conference used recent and historical results fed into a computer program to try to balance degree of difficulty of schedules. The goal was for teams that historically contend for the conference to face their peers more often, while not being overburdened with monster schedules .

“Our goal was to try and create those opportunities where we eliminated the outliers,” Kenny said. “So the hardest schedule and the easiest schedule on paper should all be around a consistent equator line as you look across all 18.”

Central Oregon Daily News contributed to this report.


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