Ohio State to play at UCLA in 2024, host USC in 2025

On3 imageby:Andy Backstrom06/08/23


UCLA by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
UCLA is penciled in to host Ohio State during the 2024 season for the first time since 2001. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

<p>COLUMBUS — Ohio State is headed to UCLA in 2024 and will host USC in 2025, and the Buckeyes only protected annual opponent is Michigan. That’s the headliner from the Big Ten’s 2024 and 2025 home/away opponent announcement Thursday afternoon.</p> <p>UCLA and USC are leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024, a transformational season for college football that will also include Texas and Oklahoma pivoting from the Big 12 to the SEC and, of course, the College Football Playoff expanding from four to 12 teams.</p> <p>The Big Ten is scrapping divisions next year and debuting a “Flex Protect Plus” scheduling model. Every league team will still play nine conference foes. But schools will have “two-play opponents” that will be played both home and away in 2024 and 2025 before being rotated, in addition to protected annual opponents that will be played yearly, even beyond 2025. </p> <p>In the process, each Big Ten team will face every other conference opponent at least twice — home and away — during a four-year period.</p> <p>The Big Ten announced 11 protected annual matchups Thursday:</p> <ul><li>Illinois vs. Northwestern</li><li>Illinois vs. Purdue</li><li>Indiana vs. Purdue </li><li>Iowa vs. Minnesota </li><li>Iowa vs. Nebraska</li><li>Iowa vs. Wisconsin</li><li>Maryland vs. Rutgers</li><li>Michigan vs. Michigan State </li><li>Ohio State vs. Michigan</li><li>Wisconsin vs. Minnesota</li><li>USC vs. UCLA</li></ul> <p>That means no Ohio State-Penn State every year. The Buckeyes have played the Nittany Lions annually since 1993, the year Penn State football started participating in Big Ten play.</p> <h2 id="h-ohio-state-2024-schedule">Ohio State 2024 schedule</h2> <p><strong>NON-CONFERENCE SLATE</strong></p> <ul><li>Aug. 31 vs. Southern Mississippi</li><li>Sept. 7 vs. Western Michigan</li><li>Sept. 14 OFF</li><li>Sept. 21 vs. Marshall</li></ul> <p><strong>BIG TEN HOME GAMES</strong></p> <ul><li>Illinois</li><li>Iowa</li><li>Michigan</li><li>Northwestern</li><li>Rutgers</li></ul> <p><strong>BIG TEN AWAY GAMES</strong></p> <ul><li>Michigan State</li><li>Minnesota</li><li>Penn State</li><li>UCLA</li></ul> <h2 id="h-ohio-state-2025-schedule">Ohio State 2025 schedule</h2> <p><strong>NON-CONFERENCE SLATE</strong></p> <ul><li>Aug. 30 vs. Texas</li><li>Oct. 18 vs. UConn</li></ul> <p><strong>BIG TEN HOME GAMES</strong></p> <ul><li>Indiana</li><li>Maryland</li><li>Nebraska</li><li>USC</li></ul> <p><strong>BIG TEN AWAY GAMES</strong></p> <ul><li>Illinois</li><li>Michigan</li><li>Northwestern</li><li>Purdue</li><li>Wisconsin</li></ul> <h2 id="h-more-details-what-about-the-big-ten-title-game">More details + what about the Big Ten title game?</h2> <p>The Big Ten Championship will pit the top-two teams in the overall conference standings against each other. Tiebreaking procedures will be announced at a later date, according to the <a href="https://bigten.org/news/2023/6/8/big-ten-conference-announces-exciting-future-football-schedule-formats-for-2024-and-2025.aspx?#Flex%20Protect%20Plus" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">league’s release</a>.</p> <p>The Big Ten Administrators Council approved the 2024 and 2025 conference “two-play opponent” rotations. Here’s what was considered, per the league’s release:</p> <blockquote class="wp-block-quote"><p>(1) “Maintaining control and flexibility as the college football postseason format evolves, with the goal to create access for programs into an expanded College Football Playoff.”</p><p>(2) “Balance of annual travel by distance, regions of the conference, and time zones.”</p><p>(3) “Balance of historic competitiveness and recent competitive trends, including home/away balance of traditionally competitive schools.”</p><p>(4) “Balance and maximization of television inventory each season.”</p><cite>Big Ten “Flex Protect Plus” scheduling model release</cite></blockquote> <p>The dates for the 2024 Big Ten schedule will be announced this fall.</p>