Monday, June 24, 2024

Big Ten announces new football schedule: how does affect MSU?

June 9, 2023
Redshirt senior center Nick Samac (59) lines up for a drill during the MSU football spring open practice, held at Spartan Stadium on April 15, 2023.
Redshirt senior center Nick Samac (59) lines up for a drill during the MSU football spring open practice, held at Spartan Stadium on April 15, 2023.

The Big Ten Conference announced its new scheduling model for football Thursday, June 8. The changes will take place beginning in the 2024 season

One significant change is the abolition of East and West Divisions. Instead, the new format, called the Flex Protect Model, will feature “a combination of protected opponents and rotating opponents for universities.” Each team will play nine intraconference games per season, and each team will play every conference team twice in a four-year period, one game at home and one away

However, the Flex Protect Model ensures that there are protected match-ups that will occur annually. These match-ups are historic and geographic rivalries and trophy games. According to the Big Ten’s press release, all 16 conference institutions helped finalize which games were deemed protected.  

Each school will also have two-play opponents in the 2024 and 2025 seasons, who the teams will play both at home and away

USC and UCLA will also be added to the Big Ten Conference for the 2024 season, opening the teams up to be contenders in the Big Ten Football Championship Game

The Big Ten Football Championship Game will still conclude the 2024 season. The top two teams will be selected based on conference standings at the end of the regular season. The tie-breaking policy has not yet been announced

According to the press release, the 2024 and 2025 opponent rotations were chosen with careful consideration to historic and recent competitiveness, balance and maximization of TV inventory, annual travel and the postseason format

How does this affect MSU? 

Of the 11 protected games in the conference, the Michigan State Spartans are featured in one: Michigan State v. Michigan. The Spartan’s two-play teams are Indiana and Penn State

In the 2024 season, MSU will play Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State at home. The away games will be at Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue and Rutgers

In the 2025 season, MSU’s home games will be against Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, USC and Wisconsin. The away games will be at Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and UCLA

This means the Spartans will not face off against the new Californian teams until the 2025 season. The 2024 football game dates will be announced later this year.

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