Nebraska has just one protected/annual opponent, Iowa, Northwestern has just Illinois, but Iowa has 3: Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Not sure about this “two play” crap and having OSU on our list instead of either California school. Ugh. Just add the Bay Area 2, UDub, Ducks, UNC & Miami and get back to divisions already .
STEPHEN J. TRUOG
I believe the Two Play thing only has to do with 2024 and 2025 schedules, it may mean we won’t see OSU in either 2026 or 2027 since the plan is to see schools other than designated annual opponents twice (home/home) in a 4 year period. (Assuming they don’t change the structure for 2026 and beyond, and I wouldn’t bet a lot on it staying stable beyond then.)
I suspect there was a lot of horse-trading setting up this deal, Penn State didn’t get ANY guaranteed opponents, Iowa got THREE of them!
We all knew the schedule was gonna get harder once two frequent Top 10/25 teams got added to the mix.
I see they still plan to play a championship game between the top two teams. That’s going to imply a number of layered tiebreakers. Also, at least IMO, that could make the regular season virtually meaningless, except for 3-4 teams.
I would have liked to have been a mouse in the corner for the conference meetings where they came up with the 2024/2025 schedules.
Maybe a 4 division setup would work, that way each team would have 3 annual opponents, which would still allow seeing the other 12 teams twice in a four year period. It would mean conference semi-final and final games, which might be in conflict with the playoffs.
They may not stop at just 12 teams in the playoffs. (I’d bet money on THAT one happening by about 2035.)
But no matter what, NU can just have to cash the $80M check every year and be satisfied with their success in other sports. It’s not like the number of Big Ten teams in the playoff universe has been that great. Even Penn State couldn’t get their foot in the door.
ESPN on the 2024/25 schedules:
Look ,all sorts of permutations can occur down the road. I’m guessing that the conference will try a few variations and see how they play out. Keep some that works; throw some out that doesn’t. Predicting what they will choose I think is next to impossible.
In addition other wrinkles will need to be dealt with such as how the CFP plays out. And it’s not inconceivable between now and Mikes year of 2035 the conference expands or contracts from the 16 current ( meaning 2024) teams
And while I think it won’t happen, I wouldn’t be shocked if the NCAA allowed a part time enrollment of student athletes during their primary playing semester/ quarter so long as they are on some kind of total credit requirement before each season This could help offset the additional travel times for these bi coastal conferences
I wonder how many Homecoming Games NU will get as the visitor under the new schedule.
Somebody would have to do the research, but I’ve always thought that NU has played more homecoming games as the visitor than any other B1G Team. Last few years it wasn’t an easy win for the homecoming team, but lately… its back to the old Mildcats.
Here is an article from 2016 with our downstate rival complaining about it.
What’s the 2-play thing you mention and what’s “our list” that Ohio State is on?
My understanding is that under the new system, we will play every team at least every other year. So a team we don’t play one year, we will play the next year. We play both USC and UCLA in 2024 and neither in 2025, so we’ll have to play both again in 2026. And we could play one or more again in 2027, it’s just that you can’t go 2 years without playing any team.
It’s a lot more flexible than previous systems. We’ll play every time at least twice (home and away) in every 4-year span, and on average, slightly more frequently.
The two-play thing is a nothingburger, if we play every non-rival team twice in a four-year period (home/home barring any neutral site games), all it really tells you is if there are back-to-back years.
The possible patterns are:
2/3 of these feature back-to-back games at some point in the 4 year cycle. And depending on if the pattern repeats from one cycle to the next, 3 or even 4 back-to-back years are possible, though that would break the ‘twice in four years’ requirement.
But that all assumes this scheduling model survives beyond 2026, and I wouldn’t bet the farm on that one.
My understanding is that some of those scenarios you listed wouldn’t be possible because you can’t have back to back no-play years. You can’t skip any team two years in a row.
Also, this is the minimum. We will play every team slightly more often than every other year. Every year we will have 8 rotating slots to fill, and there will be 14 possible teams to fill those slots (16 minus ourselves and minus Illinois). So we’ll play every team 4 times every 7 years on average (not counting Illinois; we’ll play them every year).
I’m still figuring it out, but that’s my current understanding from what I’ve read.
I think until we see 2026/27 (and beyond) we won’t really understand what the model is.
Iowa, with 3 protected teams, will essentially be on the 3-6-6 schedule, so the 12 teams they don’t face annually would flip-flop, presumably in alternating years, but we’ll have to see how they transition from one cycle to the next.
Remember the old schedules would switch every few years so that teams didn’t play the same configuration of home vs road teams all the time, which meant some back-to-back home or road games against another team.
And what will the schedules be like for other sports?
Agree with you Mike on scheduling beyond a few years out. Too many moving parts. CFP probably biggest wildcard. Will there be a lot of negative feedback after certain realizations come to fruition ? One example might be if UCLA plays USC for the title. I’m sure that wont go over too well with a mid west centered conference. An MD / Rutgers wouldn’t either ; but that’s about 500-1 on occurring
I’ve seen a lot of speculation that Michigan and Ohio State would have played for the title several times if divisions hadn’t existed, but I’m not sure that’s gonna be the case when you throw USC and UCLA into the non-divisional pool.
For teams that face each other during the season to make the Big Ten Championship game, whether that’s UCLA/USC, OSU/Michigan or any other combination, it would mean at least one one-loss team in that game, more likely two. I think the odds are against having two teams in the title game with no in-conference losses. Until we see the tiebreak rules, who knows how a logjam in the standings would be broken.
Michigan gets both USC and UCLA in 2024, while MSU plays neither of them, then the reverse happens in 2025. Everyone else gets at least one game against the West Coast duo both years. Figuring out which team has the best/worst conference schedules for those years will be an ongoing donnybrook.
I like the way the Big Ten is racking up the big games rather than the SEC’s cowardice in sticking with an 8 game conference schedule. But will the playoff committee like it? In a 12-team field there will be multiple 1-loss teams and most likely a few 2-loss teams, but no 3-loss teams.
This Lincoln Journal-Star article quotes UNL AD Trev Alberts as saying that initially all schools were given the option to protect 3 annual games, which would have been a 3-6-6- schedule with 24 protected games, but after a lot of gamesmanship the conference wound up protecting only 11 games, at least for now.
I agree with you that a UCLA-USC match up for the title would be unlikely. I was just suggesting there could be various outcomes from the initial schedule module that would cause a re -working . That was one immediate example that I thought of
Interesting tidbit there … would love to have been a fly on the wall there! My guess is NU probably asked for more protected games but were rebuffed as Wisconsin or Purdue sought other “rivals.” I would consider Ill-noise, Wisky and Io_a our three biggest rivals, but Io_a already has three trophy games, Minnesota has about 50 and Wisky was probably looking for bigger games. I guess PSU is really committed to that “unrivaled” marketing gimmick because I can’t believe they wouldn’t protect OSU/PSU.
What they came up with has to be a scheduling nightmare. A 3-6-6 format would have been far easier. I still think they’re not done with expansion and need some more west-coast teams. Not just for football, but for the other sports, where pod scheduling makes so much more sense than having Maryland go to LA on a Tuesday or SC to State College on a Thursday for men’s tennis or women’s soccer.
STEPHEN J. TRUOG
GO CATS!!! GEAUX SAINTS!!!
Until we know what years 3 and 4 are, I don’t know how the two-play thing will work out, it seems it might conflict with the stated goal of having every team face every other team twice (home/home) in a 4 year period.