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Big Ten reveals new schedule format, protects 11 rivalries

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The Big Ten announced Thursday its new schedule format and matchups for the 2024 and 2025 football seasons.

The conference will feature 16 teams, with USC and UCLA joining the mix in 2024. The Big Ten will no longer have divisions but will debut a "Flex Protect Plus" model, which includes a combination of protected games and rotating opponents for each team. Schools will still play nine league games per season, and every conference pairing will face off at least twice in a four-year period, once at each team's home stadium.

Big Ten teams will also meet certain opponents in both the 2024 and 2025 seasons, which the conference describes as "two-plays." The matchups will change for the 2026-27 cycle, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.

Here are each team's two-play opponents and protected matchups over the next two seasons:

The conference is protecting 11 rivalry matchups, which will continue to be played annually:

The always anticipated meeting between Penn State and Ohio State isn't protected. The rivals will face off at Beaver Stadium in 2024 but won't see each other in 2025. The Nittany Lions don't have any protected games.

"The more protected matchups you've included in the model, the less flexibility you had to create a really balanced model for everybody," Big Ten chief operating officer Kerry Kenny told Rittenberg. "So 11 was where we capped it. Penn State doesn't have any protected matchups, but they see more teams three out of four years, the way that the model will be built moving forward, that might be a little more geographic to them."

USC will host Michigan in 2024 and visit Ohio State in 2025. It'll be the Trojans' first meeting against the two Big Ten powerhouses.

Here are each team's conference opponents in 2024 and 2025 under the new format:

Each Big Ten season will conclude with the annual title game. It will feature the top two teams in the overall standings at the end of the regular season.

The dates for the 2024 games will be announced later this year.

Big Ten reveals new schedule format, protects 11 rivalries
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