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Big Ten reveals protected rivals for 2024, 2025 seasons and beyond

As USC and UCLA join the Big Ten in 2024, the conference has announced their scheduling model and protected rivalries for every team.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2019, file photo, the Big Ten logo is displayed on the field before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Miami of Ohio in Iowa City, Iowa. The Big Ten released its 10-game conference-only football schedule beginning as early as Labor Day weekend but cautioned there is no certainty games will be played. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

ROSEMONT, Ill. — With USC and UCLA slated to join the Big Ten for the 2024 season, the conference has revealed its scheduling model and protected rivalries that are guaranteed games moving forward.

The conference announced the new "Flex Protect Plus" scheduling model on Thursday, alongside the schedules for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

The new model includes "Protected Opponents," which are guaranteed to be played annually beyond the 2025 season, and "Two-Play Opponents" which will be played both home and away in the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

The Big Ten also eliminated its divisions, which were created in 2011 and were named "Leaders" and "Legends."

Now, the conference schedule will include nine intraconference games per season, with teams playing every other conference opponent at least twice over a four-year period. The matchups will include both a home and away game over the four-year period.

Below is a list of the guaranteed games that will be played in the 2024 and 2025 seasons, as well as the school's protected opponents.

Big Ten Football Protected and Two-Play Opponents

Illinois: Northwestern*, Ohio State, Purdue*
Indiana: Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue*
Iowa: Minnesota*, Nebraska*, Wisconsin*
Maryland: Indiana, Michigan, Rutgers*
Michigan: Maryland, Michigan State*, Ohio State*
Michigan State: Indiana, Michigan*, Penn State
Minnesota: Iowa, Nebraska*, Wisconsin
Nebraska: Iowa*, Minnesota, UCLA
Northwestern: Illinois*, Ohio State, Purdue
Ohio State: Illinois, Michigan*, Northwestern
Penn State: Michigan State, Rutgers, USC
Purdue: Illinois*, Indiana*, Northwestern
Rutgers: Maryland*, Penn State, UCLA
UCLA: Nebraska, Rutgers, USC*
USC: Penn State, UCLA*, Wisconsin
Wisconsin: Iowa*, Minnesota*, USC

*Protected opponents that will be played every year.

The decision to make 11 matchups guaranteed was based on a combination of historic and geographic rivalries, as well as trophy games.

The Big Ten also released their 2024 and 2025 conference schedules.

Credit: Big Ten Football
Credit: Big Ten Football

The dates and times of the games will be announced in the future.

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