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Ohio St At Oregon, Penn St At USC Highlight Big Ten’s First Football Season As Bicoastal Conference – News18

Last Updated: October 06, 2023, 00:04 IST

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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 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 seasonsโ€™ 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.

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 โ€” the first with USC and UCLA โ€” 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.

โ€œHad to go back to the drawing board and do this rotation again,โ€ Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti said. โ€œWe 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 โ€ฆ protecting the traditional rivalries, all of those things are in this process.โ€

The Big Ten calls its scheduling model flex-protect, which locks in important annual rivalry games but doesnโ€™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 โ€“ home and away โ€“ 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,

Washingtonโ€™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 .

โ€œOur goal was to try and create those opportunities where we eliminated the outliers,โ€ Kenny said. โ€œSo the hardest schedule and the easiest schedule on paper should all be around a consistent equator line as you look across all 18.โ€


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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Associated Press)

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