New-look Big Ten to open 2024 football season on Sept. 7: Marquee games, schedule takeaways

By Antonio Morales, Audrey Snyder, Austin Meek, Jesse Temple, Mitch Sherman and Scott Dochterman

The schedule is officially set for the Big Ten’s 2024 football season. The 18-team conference — which will include USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington, and will no longer feature two divisions — will begin play on Sept. 7 with Maryland hosting Michigan State.

While each school’s opponents for 2024 and beyond were revealed in October, the Big Ten announced the corresponding game dates for the 2024 season on Thursday. As usual, start times and TV designations will come much closer to the start of the 2024 season.

Here’s what else to know about the 2024 Big Ten football schedule:

  • UCLA will open conference play against Indiana on Sept. 14, Washington against Northwestern on Sept. 21, USC at Michigan on Sept. 21 and Oregon at UCLA on Sept. 28. Among the four newcomers, every road trip to the Central or Eastern time zones is followed with a home game or a bye.
  • The Big Ten grid does not list Friday games other than Black Friday, but the Big Ten Network said there will be Friday games throughout the year that are to be determined. Labor Day weekend games will also be announced at a later date.
  • Penn State will play host to Maryland, and Michigan State will host Rutgers on Thanksgiving weekend. The remaining traditional rivalry games remain intact, joined by Washington at Oregon. USC will host Notre Dame while Fresno State travels to UCLA that weekend.

Full 2024 Big Ten football schedule

How does the schedule play out for USC?

The Trojans kick off Big Ten play with a high-profile matchup at Michigan on Sept. 21. It won’t be an easy opening stretch with games at Michigan, versus Wisconsin, at Minnesota and versus Penn State to kick off league play. Notably, there are no Midwest road trips late in the season. USC’s final two away games are at Washington and at crosstown rival UCLA. It’s an even year, so the season ends with a home game against Notre Dame over Thanksgiving weekend. It’s a brutal slate overall. Remember, USC opens with LSU in Las Vegas. — Antonio Morales, USC staff writer

What to make of Huskers’ backloaded schedule

Nebraska, in coach Matt Rhule’s second year, opens against a manageable lineup that includes Colorado in Lincoln. The second half of the season gets hairy in a hurry with an Oct. 26 visit to Ohio State. November brings trips to USC and Iowa, an open date on the second Saturday of the month and home meetings against UCLA and Wisconsin.
That’s arguably the five toughest games on the schedule in a six-week stretch. Whatever kinks remain to be worked out after Rhule’s first year must be addressed before the autumn air turns cold. — Mitch Sherman, Nebraska staff writer

Nittany Lions’ cross-country trek set

Penn State’s longest trip of the season comes on Oct. 12 when it plays USC. The good news for the Nittany Lions is the team’s idle week follows the cross-country trek. That sets up perfectly considering the turnaround time for the team and equipment staff was something Penn State and other teams have expressed concerns with. Penn State won’t always have an idle week after every cross-country trip, but the conference did the team a favor with one in 2024. However, after the idle week, the Nittany Lions play Wisconsin, Ohio State and Washington in three consecutive weeks. That’s a difficult stretch that will determine the season. — Audrey Snyder, Penn State staff writer



The complicated logistics behind Penn State’s cross-country treks to USC, UCLA

USC at Michigan on Sept. 21 will be the first marquee matchup between a traditional Big Ten blue blood and one of the West Coast schools. With a trip to Washington happening two weeks later, Michigan gets an early taste of life in the new coast-to-coast conference.

With Texas coming to Ann Arbor on Sept. 7, the early season schedule won’t be forgiving for a team that is likely to be reloading. The second half looks more manageable, with a November visit from Oregon adding some sizzle. — Austin Meek, Michigan staff writer

Hawkeyes begin season against well-known foe

Iowa opens its Big Ten campaign at its most-played rival, Minnesota, in an effort to win back the Floyd of Rosedale after a 12-10 loss this year. After a bye, the Hawkeyes travel to Ohio State before playing Washington at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa plays at Michigan State for the first time since 2017, travels to the Rose Bowl to play UCLA on Nov. 9 and gets a bye before flying to Maryland on Nov. 23. For the 14th consecutive season, the Hawkeyes face Nebraska on Black Friday. The Hawkeyes have three protected rivals: Minnesota (Sept. 21), Wisconsin (Nov. 2) and Nebraska (Nov. 29). — Scott Dochterman, Iowa staff writer

What does this mean for Wisconsin?

Wisconsin opens its Big Ten slate next season with a difficult road game against USC on Sept. 28, marking the first time the Badgers will play at the Coliseum since 1966. There are what appear to be a few manageable games at home against Purdue and on the road against Rutgers and Northwestern. But Wisconsin will have to play Penn State, Iowa and Oregon over a three-game stretch late in the season before closing at Nebraska and home against Minnesota. Throw in the fact that Wisconsin’s final nonconference game before Big Ten play comes at home against Alabama, and this is a schedule that will truly test where Wisconsin is headed as a program. — Jesse Temple, Wisconsin staff writer

Marquee games each week

  • Sept. 7: Michigan State at Maryland
  • Sept. 14: Indiana at UCLA
  • Sept. 21: USC at Michigan, Iowa at Minnesota
  • Sept. 28: Wisconsin at USC, Ohio State at Michigan State
  • Oct. 5: Michigan at Washington, Michigan State at Oregon, Iowa at Ohio State, UCLA at Penn State
  • Oct. 12: Ohio State at Oregon, Penn State at USC, Washington at Iowa
  • Oct. 19: Iowa at Michigan State, Michigan at Illinois, USC at Maryland
  • Oct 26: Michigan State at Michigan, Penn State at Wisconsin, Nebraska at Ohio State
  • Nov. 2: Oregon at Michigan, Ohio State at Penn State, USC at Washington, Wisconsin at Iowa, UCLA at Nebraska
  • Nov. 9: Washington at Penn State, Iowa at UCLA, Maryland at Oregon
  • Nov. 16: Nebraska at USC, Oregon at Wisconsin, UCLA at Washington, Rutgers at Maryland
  • Nov. 23: Nebraska at Wisconsin, USC at UCLA, Indiana at Ohio State
  • Nov. 29/30: Nebraska at Iowa, Michigan at Ohio State, Maryland at Penn State, Purdue at Indiana, Minnesota at Wisconsin, Washington at Oregon, Illinois at Northwestern, Rutgers at Michigan State, Notre Dame at USC (nonconference), Fresno State at UCLA (nonconference)

Required reading

(Photo: Jeff Hanisch / USA Today)

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