The all new B16 Ten comes to life in 2024. The conference will fully bring in UCLA and USC to make it a 16 team conference. It’s worth pausing a moment to take that in because I’m not that old, I’m 37, and yet my first true memories of the Big Ten were when they had 11 teams. Penn State joined the conference in 1993 to make the Big Ten the Big...umm actually 11. After that there was a quite period before the addition of Nebraska, Maryland, and Rutgers. Then, just as we thought we were calmed down and this was the new normal news broke that USC and UCLA, two powerhouse programs from the opposite end of the country would be joining what had traditionally been a Midwestern conference.
With the release today of these 2024 and 2025 conference schedules it means this is real. It wasn’t all some fever dream and two schools from California will actually be joining the Big Ten. The conference will retain 9 conference games and in an interesting move has a varied number of protected rivalry games depending on the team. Purdue for instance has two (Illinois and IU) while Penn State has 0. Let’s take a look at the schedule for 2024 and then 2025.
Prior to the announcement today we already knew Purdue’s non-conference schedule so let’s not forget about that.
vs. Indiana State
vs. Notre Dame
@ Oregon State
Other than Indiana State that seems like a pretty tough non-conference. Notre Dame is Notre Dame so we all know that’s going to be tough. It might be especially strange since former Purdue assistance Marcus Freeman is now their head coach and let’s just admit it, he’s likeable. We like him. We hate him of course, but really we like him. A 2-1 non-conference would be great. Then we head to the conference slate that was announced today. Date’s and times are of course still to come. Keep in mind we don’t even know the order of these games so these are simply listed as away games first followed by home games.
@ Michigan State
vs. Penn State
So there we have it, the entire 2024 Big Ten schedule which would look like a normal conference schedule until you get to the last one on the list. Purdue won’t have to wait long to face one of the newcomers. The last time USC and Purdue played it was in 1998 and it was the start of the Drew Brees era. This game was part of the Pigskin Classic and saw USC walk away with a 27-17 victory. I don’t think this is a terrible slate for Purdue. Going on the road to IU is good, Purdue has done well against Michigan State of late and just beat Maryland on the road this past season. Getting Nebraska, USC, and Penn State at home makes those games just that much easier. Northwestern, who knows since it is an even numbered year.
Now, let’s take a look at 2025.
Again, the non-conference season was already known.
vs. Ball State
@ Notre Dame
That’s a 2-1 non-conference at the absolute worst. No way should Purdue lose to either Ball State (High school!) or UCONN in football. Notre Dame again will be a tough game regardless. Now onto the conference games announced earlier today. Important to again remind everyone that we don’t know the dates, times, or order of these games at this point. We just know the opponents.
vs. Ohio State
A mix of good and bad here for the Boilermakers. I’m excited to see Purdue go out to UCLA and play in California. In the first two seasons Purdue will get to play each of the newcomers so that’s honestly pretty cool. Being guaranteed games against Illinois and IU is a godsend for this squad. Sure, Illinois is on the rise and IU has the occassional run in them but overall I think you’ve gotta be pleased about that. Michigan on the road is obviously incredibly tough. Northwestern at this point seems completely lost so I’ll take that road game. Then Iowa may still struggle to score offensive points if Brian Ferentz is still there so that’s good. Purdue and Minnesota will likely continue to put on good games so it’ll be one to watch. Getting Ohio State to come into Ross-Ade will be good for ticket sales and good for the atmosphere.
Overall, I’m very pleased with these two slates of games. It’s going to be incredibly tough for the athletes from USC and UCLA to go all over the country like this I’m sure. If I’m Purdue I’m pushing hard for a noon kickoff when USC comes to town. Knock that internal clock all the way around.
So, what do you think? Any early record predictions for 2024 and 2025? Let us know in the comments.