Goodbye divisions, hello travel.
Nebraska learned its 2024 and 2025 conference football schedules on Thursday as the Big Ten Conference released its new schedule format in a TV show special. Athletic directors for the 14 member schools worked over long stretches to come to the agreement as USC and UCLA join the conference July 1, 2024.
The Huskers will go on the road to play UCLA, Iowa, Purdue, Penn State and Northwestern. Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Minnesota come to Lincoln in 2024. In 2025, Nebraska travels to Ohio State, USC, Minnesota and Maryland. Home games in 2025 include Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Rutgers and UCLA.
Our @B1Gfootball opponents for the 2024 and 2025 seasons are set‼️🏈
— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) June 8, 2023
Game dates for those games will be announced later. The Big Ten Championship Game will be between the top two teams in the conference standings at the end of the regular season. Tiebreaking procedures will be announced later.
The Big Ten opted to not stick to an organized pod structure and went with the “Flex Protect Plus” model. Each school will still play nine conference games each season. Every school will also play every other conference opponent at least twice, home and away, in a four-year period.
Nebraska’s schedule involves a constant churn of opponents in the division-less structure. However, the Huskers will still play Iowa every year. That is the only guaranteed annual game on Nebraska’s schedule. Nebraska and Iowa have played each other on Black Friday every year since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011. Minnesota and UCLA are Nebraska’s two “flex schools” it will play home and away in 2024 and 2025. Schools like Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota are guaranteed to continue ongoing rivalries with a locked-in game each season. USC and UCLA are each others’ only protected rivalry game. Penn State, on the other hand, has no protected rivalries.
Big Ten schedules were approved by the Big Ten Administrators Council and were based upon numerous criteria. At the top, per an email from the Big Ten, “Maintaining control and flexibility as the college football postseason format evolves, with the goal to create access for programs into an expanded College Football Playoff.” Other rationales include balancing travel, competitiveness and television inventory.
Nebraska is scheduled to play UTEP, Colorado and Northern Iowa in its 2024 non-conference slate. As of now, the Huskers are in line to host Akron and Louisana-Monroe in 2025, and travel to Cincinnati.
Nebraska’s upcoming Big Ten schedule
Home: Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Wisconsin.
Away: Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, UCLA.
Home: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Rutgers, UCLA.
Away: Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State, USC.