June is unofficially Big Ten month at Trojans Wire. We decided to do this because the late spring and early summer provide the best time to learn about the Big Ten before we get into full football coverage mode in August. When USC’s season gets going, our attention will focus primarily on the Pac-12 season. There will be Big Ten updates and check-ins, to be sure, but June and July give us a chance to provide you, the reader, a more expansive look at the schools and football programs USC will soon join in the Big Ten.
We did a podcast with Cornhuskers Wire.
We will make sure you get to learn and discover more about the Big Ten schools USC will join next year. That’s why June is Big Ten month.
We decided on that course weeks ago when we planned our summer content menu.
We did not know that the Big Ten football schedule model would be unveiled in June, specifically on Thursday, June 8. What a fortuitous coincidence that our Big Ten month flows right into a football schedule release, USC’s first football schedule reveal of its new Big Ten era.
There’s a lot to share with you on USC’s Big Ten football schedules for 2024 and 2025, including but not limited to the Trojans’ opponents.
One big note: The Big Ten scheduling structure means USC will play every Big Ten school at least once in a two-year span.
Here are the details below:
2024 BIG TEN HOME OPPONENTS
USC’s 2024 Big Ten home opponents:
2024 BIG TEN ROAD OPPONENTS
USC’s 2024 Big Ten road opponents
2025 BIG TEN HOME OPPONENTS
USC’s 2025 Big Ten home opponents:
2025 BIG TEN ROAD OPPONENTS
USC’s 2025 Big Ten road opponents:
BIG TEN TEAMS USC WILL PLAY IN BOTH 2024 AND 2025
The three Big Ten teams USC will play in 2024 and 2025:
USC'S ONE "PROTECTED" BIG TEN OPPONENT: UCLA
The Big Ten’s scheduling plan is layered. Some teams have two or three protected opponents, but USC has only one: UCLA. That’s the only team USC is guaranteed to play on a long-term annual basis.
IOWA HAS THREE PROTECTED GAMES
We talked to Hawkeyes Wire about this topic before the Big Ten schedule was released. Iowa fans wanted three protected games: Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. They got exactly that. Iowa will play each of those three opponents every year. USC will play only UCLA every year. It is unbalanced in one sense, but in another sense, it’s an attempt to give each Big Ten school what it wants instead of having an artificially locked-in structure. This imbalance in protected games is meant to give Big Ten teams flexibility with travel.
USC HAVING ONLY ONE PROTECTED GAME SERVES A PURPOSE
This scheduling plan from the Big Ten — called “flex protect plus” — gave USC only one protected game and Iowa three so that the Midwest schools aren’t traveling to Los Angeles any more than necessary.
If Nebraska or Illinois were “protected games” for USC, that would mean the Trojans would play those two schools every year. That means those schools would be flying to Los Angeles every other year. Giving USC only UCLA as a protected game does not lock in Nebraska or Illinois (or anyone else) to a schedule in which it has to make the flight west on a regular basis.
PROTECTED RIVALRIES IN THE NEW BIG TEN FORMAT: MICHIGAN-OHIO STATE
In addition to USC-UCLA, this is the other protected rivalry in the Big Ten which makes obvious sense. This game was always going to remain protected.
PROTECTED RIVALRY: MICHIGAN-MICHIGAN STATE
This in-state rivalry will be protected as well.
PROTECTED RIVALRY: MINNESOTA-WISCONSIN
Paul Bunyan's Axe is staying with the Gophers! pic.twitter.com/SMxZy4gIUH
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 27, 2022
This is the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.
PROTECTED RIVALRY: MINNESOTA-IOWA
Let’s take a moment to recognize the best rivalry trophy in college football, Floyd of Rosedale:
• A bronze pig
• First awarded in 1935
• That first year, it was a live prize hog
• Weighs 98 lbs
We are all lucky to witness Iowa and Minnesota play for this beauty. pic.twitter.com/mQAFMy7P99
— Ben Stevens (@BenScottStevens) November 16, 2022
This is the Floyd of Rosedale game.
PROTECTED RIVALRY: IOWA-WISCONSIN
This is another game Iowa fans really wanted to have on an annual basis. They asked, they will receive.
PROTECTED RIVALRY: IOWA-NEBRASKA
Iowa and Nebraska fans both want to keep this game on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
PROTECTED RIVALRY: INDIANA-PURDUE
time for the old oaken bucket game pic.twitter.com/HMhrZS0WAz
— kyle robbins (@kylerrobbins) November 27, 2021
This game is for the Old Oaken Bucket. Yes, the Big Ten has a lot of trophy games.
PROTECTED RIVALRY: ILLINOIS-PURDUE
Former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema now coaches for Illinois. He and Purdue will meet this year. Purdue coach Ryan Walters was Bielema’s defensive coordinator at Illinois last year.
PROTECTED RIVALRY: ILLINOIS-NORTHWESTERN
The Chicagoland Big Ten rivalry game.
PROTECTED RIVALRY: MARYLAND-RUTGERS
This is because Maryland and Rutgers have to have at least one protected game.
Michigan’s Big Ten opponents in both 2024 and 2025:
OHIO STATE COMMON OPPONENTS IN 2024 AND 2025
Ohio State’s Big Ten opponents in 2024 and 2025:
PENN STATE COMMON OPPONENTS IN 2024 AND 2025
Penn State’s Big Ten opponents in 2024 and 2025:
WISCONSIN COMMON OPPONENTS IN 2024 AND 2025
Wisconsin’s Big Ten opponents in 2024 and 2025:
Nebraska in 2025 will be the only Big Ten team in the first two seasons of the new division-free, flex scheduling format to play USC, UCLA, Ohio State and Michigan in the same year.
Don’t complain, though. Matt Rhule isn’t. https://t.co/9CMWYYZYWb
— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) June 8, 2023
PENN STATE GAINS
Penn State schedule takeaways: Lions lose Ohio State as an annual opponent
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) June 8, 2023
UCLA'S FIRST BIG TEN SCHEDULE
UCLA football schedule for 2024:
vs. Fresno State
Big Ten Conference opponents:
— James H. Williams covers UCLA football (@JHWreporter) June 8, 2023
STAY WITH TROJANS WIRE FOR CONTINUING COVERAGE
— USC Trojans Wire (@TrojansWire) June 8, 2023