Big news for the Big Ten conference as they announced each team’s opponents for the 2024 and ’25 seasons in a 9-game format without divisions. This comes as the league introduces the Flex Protect Model to handle pre-existing rivalries within the new conference structure.
In the Flex Protect Model, select games are designated as protected rivalries and will be played every single season. Iowa leads the way with three protected rivalries against Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Michigan follows with two, facing Michigan State and Ohio State annually. Strangely, Penn State has no protected rivalries in this new system.
One surprising outcome of this new model is that the Ohio State-Penn State series did not survive as a protected rivalry, despite their impactful and highly watched games in recent years.
With this new model, every Big Ten team has a set of three opponents they will play in both the 2024 and ’25 seasons, as well as an unequal number of teams they will play beyond 2025. Teams in white will be played every year, while teams in blue will be played in the 2024-25 seasons before rotating off the schedule in 2026.
There’s no doubt the Flex Protect Model creates an exciting new era for the Big Ten conference, and fans will be eager to see how these changes impact the landscape of college football moving forward.