2024-25 Big Ten football schedule takeaway: Ohio State protected, Rutgers pressed (2023)

Combing through "protected rivalries" and the Big Ten's new "two-game" schedule in the coming seasons.

Brad Crawford

The Big Tenrevealed his football schedules for each teamthroughout the 2024 and 2025 seasons, including conference selections of protected opponents and "two-game opponents" to play both home and away for the next two years. LimitTraveling to the west coast is another factorHe took into account the Big Ten.

The Big Ten's annual nine-game conference schedule is unchanged, but the division is gone, and the league's "Flex Protect" allows teams to play up to three protected rivalry games per year, while the rest of the roster consists of changing opponents going through .

The new format is designed to make it easier for conferences to balance their schedules on a competitive basis while also trying to make each program happy in terms of balance.However, as expected, not all programs are happy with the way things are going at the conference level.

The media reacts to the release of future Big Ten schedules

Here's more on the next two seasons of TheBig Ten with the addition of USC and UCLA, along with some thoughts on the protected rivalry.

Rutgers faces a daunting 2024

2024-25 Big Ten football schedule takeaway: Ohio State protected, Rutgers pressed (2)

The only program in the Big Ten to face Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State during the 2024 season, Rutgers will also compete against the likes of Iowa, UCLA and Michigan State. Any improvement shown this season under Greg Schiano will likely be halted next fall given this ridiculously challenging Big Ten roster. Maryland is the Crimson Knights' only "protected" opponent, so if you're looking for some semblance of a silver lining, this is it.

Iowa dodges a bullet with a protected rivalry

2024-25 Big Ten football schedule takeaway: Ohio State protected, Rutgers pressed (3)

The Big Ten gave the Hawkeyes a solid showing with their three protected opponents after the 2025 season: Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The league seems to have looked at the history of the West Division and going from there - so why not do it on the other side of the conference? Iowa will get Ohio State and USC in 2024 and face Michigan and Penn State. No team in this expanded conference will have a favorable nine-game list, but Iowa has at least three teams on the annual schedule that the Hawkeyes are familiar with that are unlikely to be in the top 10.

The Big Ten tried to be nice to Illinois

2024-25 Big Ten football schedule takeaway: Ohio State protected, Rutgers pressed (4)

Give the league bureau credit for putting Purdue and Northwestern on the Fighting Illini's schedule as a "protected rivalry." But with Ohio State as a "two-game" opponent along with an absolutely brutal 2024 schedule (including games against USC, Michigan, Iowa and the Buckeyes) means Bret Bielema and Illinois will be patiently waiting for the conference schedule every year after 2025, hoping that at home and on the road are easily set up. Honestly, unless you're one of the handful of the Big Ten's top 15 elites, every season from now on is going to look scary in an extended super conference.

2025 is the first real schedule change in the state of Michigan

2024-25 Big Ten football schedule takeaway: Ohio State protected, Rutgers pressed (5)

The schedule for the following season is similar to what Michigan State is used to playing each year: Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State without either of the two conference newcomers. That will change in 2025 when the Spartans travel to USC and host UCLA, according to the Big Ten. Not a surprise, but Michigan state's only "protected rival" is Michigan. The Spartans also battle Indiana and Penn State in the two-play bracket. So that's a few top 10 opponents guaranteed to be on Mel Tucker's schedule going forward. Michigan State will not play against Ohio State in 2025 for the first time since 2010.

The emergence of Nebraska could occur in 2024

2024-25 Big Ten football schedule takeaway: Ohio State protected, Rutgers pressed (6)

The scheduling advantage means a lot of progress in the expanded Big Ten, and the 2024 Huskers must like how this prepares for Matt Rhule's second season. Only top-10 opponent Nebraska faces is Penn State down the road - Huskers miss Ohio State, MichiganiUSC next fall. Going forward, Iowa is the only "protected" opponent, and Nebraska's "two-game" opponents are Minnesota and UCLA.The "sleeping giant" label has been thrown around outside Lincoln this summerand this schedule for 2024 looks like a yellow brick road.

Daily agenda? There are no protected rivalries for Penn State

2024-25 Big Ten football schedule takeaway: Ohio State protected, Rutgers pressed (7)

You had a feeling that one of the "Big 3" was going to get USC, and the Big Ten gave Penn State that straw. That, in turn, took Ohio State out of the "protected rivalry" equation for the Nittany Lions. We won't see those two teams play every year anymore. James Franklin won't complain about not having to deal with Ryan Day every year, but the fact is Penn State didn't pull the BuckeyesofMichigan as an annual protected rivalry doesn't seem like much use for TV ratings. Penn State will play home league newcomer USC in 2024 and 2025, one of three two-game opponents for the Nittany Lions, along with Michigan State and Rutgers.

Penn State is the only Big Ten teamwithout any protected rivalry.Every other team has at least one, with Iowa leading the pack with three protected rivalries.

It's above my salary. It ispat (power)question,” Franklin said before announcing the Big Ten schedule. "That's a commissioner's question. I'm excited and looking forward to preparing this year this season, for the schedule we have, for West Virginia to open the season. These things are beyond my control and currently beyond my concern. When we have meetings as head coaches and ADs, we give our opinions that are very similar to the opinions I gave when I was also in the SEC as head coach. And at that point the commissioner has to make a decision and move on. ”

The new schedule favors Ohio State

2024-25 Big Ten football schedule takeaway: Ohio State protected, Rutgers pressed (8)

You knew the Big Ten would have college football's most influential late-season rivalry with Ohio State-Michigan, but Penn State's streak -- at least on a year-over-year basis -- is over and the Buckeyes have Illinois and Northwestern as their "two-to -play opponents" over the next two years. The "new" Big Ten looks favorable for Ohio State in terms of the schedule, and looking from the outside, there's a chance the Buckeyes will play just two nationally ranked conference opponents in 2024 (Michigan and Penn State). USC is scheduled for 2025, but it's not a game Ohio State has to worry about every year unless both teams clinch the league title.

Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smithtouchedno longer plays Penn State every yearand of course he likes that.

"Penn State has developed into a competitive rivalry for us, unlike the other 11 protected games in this model where you have some history and tradition around those games," Smith said last week. "Look at the three that protected Iowa or that protected Illinois or the fact that we protected Michigan. Those are historic rivalries, entrenched rivalries. But the Penn State rivalry was a competitive rivalry for us. To make sure every team, every school over a four year period get the chance to play each place at least twice you had to sacrifice some things so the flex protect model allows us to meet those criteria at the same time we had to make sure that we have provided the flexibility to meet these criteria.”

Michigan dat USC-u slini

2024-25 Big Ten football schedule takeaway: Ohio State protected, Rutgers pressed (9)

Michigan at USC is probably the Big Ten's most anticipated non-traditional league game in 2024, but the Wolverines' other conference games are pretty straightforward over the next two years. Michigan State and Ohio State are the two protected annual opponents, with Maryland falling under the league's new "two-game" tier. In 2025, Michigan will play the Spartans, Buckeyes, and Nittany Lions, giving fans a familiar look. Michigan also travels to Nebraska for the second time since 2012 that season.

USC's playoff period comes before the Big Ten

2024-25 Big Ten football schedule takeaway: Ohio State protected, Rutgers pressed (10)

It goes without saying that the road from USC and UCLA to the College Football Playoff just got infinitely more difficult in the Big Ten. Now expansion will help and probably bring the two-loss, year-end non-conference champion into the mix, but the Trojans' biggest schedule in the West will now be week-to-week. grind with similar talent at several other league settings. In 2024, USC will play against Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin, and in 2025, the Trojans will play against Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State.

247Sports provides notes and insight into Stanford's talented defensive tackle from the New Orleans metro area.

Gabe Brooksvip

Metairie (La.) Archbishop Rummel is no stranger to producing talented football players. Stanford picked up one of the New Orleans program's top playmakers on Monday with a commitmentDarrius Davis, a 2024 safety with a high three-star rating on 247Sports. That puts the 5-foo-11 1/2, 190-pounder in the top 25 in the state of Louisiana, which is again disproportionately talented from a per-capita perspective.

Davis excels at playing forward. He's a solid tackler and puts something behind his pads to get the occasional big hit. His functional athletics stand out on tape and his participation in basketball improves his athletic profile. That multi-sport marker is especially valuable in Davis' case, as no verified combination test data or track numbers are available to better measure his athleticism.

A conscious pass defender, Davis seems at home in zone coverage in the short-to-medium passing game. He caught a couple of interceptions in 2022, but dropped a few more tackles and probably needs to improve his ball skills.

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