A few months after the Big Ten announced its scheduling format for 2024 and beyond with USC and UCLA added, the conference has announced its revised slate of conference games through 2028 after the additions of Oregon and Washington.
Ohio State still has only Michigan as an annual protected rival, but among others changes, a trip to UCLA in 2024 has been moved and replaced with a trip to Oregon.
With divisions eliminated, here’s a look at the next five years of conference opponents and a few thoughts on what this means for the Buckeyes.
The future is set 🕰️ pic.twitter.com/B2Y5F8Esak
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) October 5, 2023
What does this mean for Ohio State-Penn State?
The Big Ten East is gone and Ohio State’s protected rival is Michigan, but the matchup with Penn State isn’t going away, either, even if it’s not annual.
In the schedule released in the summer, Ohio State was slated to play the Nittany Lions in 2024, but not in 2025. It was expected that the two teams would play at least twice every four years. Now the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions will play three times in the next five years. Ohio State will visit Penn State in 2024 and 2028 and host the matchup in 2025, meaning there will be a two-year absence in 2026-27. The two have met every season since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993.
This is a good middle ground for one of the premier matchups in the Big Ten. Though more big-time matchups will be coming with the additions of UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington, aside from the Michigan game, it’s been hard to find a bigger annual contest in the Big Ten than the Buckeyes vs. Nittany Lions, especially for television.
Years in which Ohio State still plays Penn State will make for some daunting schedules. For example, Ohio State will play Texas, Michigan, UCLA, Penn State, Wisconsin and Washington in 2025.
A change in West Coast trips for the Buckeyes
Originally Ohio State was going to play at UCLA in 2024 and host USC in 2025. The Buckeyes will make a West Coast trip every season now. And they’ll also host a West Coast team every year except 2024. They will travel to Oregon in 2024, Washington in 2025, USC in 2026, Oregon again in 2027 and UCLA in 2028.
The travel logistics might be tough on teams, but this is largely a good thing for the Ohio State brand. This is a program that already has a national name and recruits the West Coast well. It can’t hurt to play in more high-profile games there.
Ohio State can recruit anywhere and has had success pulling players from the West Coast, including C.J. Stroud, JT Tuimoloau and others. Getting a chance to visit the West Coast every year is hard to pass up on to further build the connection to California.
Who else will Ohio State play through 2028?
Here are Ohio State’s Big Ten opponents for the next five years:
- Home: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Purdue
- Away: Michigan State, Northwestern, Oregon, Penn State
- Home: Minnesota, Penn State, Rutgers, UCLA
- Away: Illinois, Michigan, Purdue, Washington, Wisconsin.
- Home: Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Oregon
- Away: Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, USC
- Home: Michigan State, Purdue, Nebraska, USC
- Away: Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Oregon, Rutgers.
- Home: Michigan, Minnesota, Rutgers, Washington, Wisconsin
- Away: Illinois, Maryland, Penn State, UCLA
(Photo of TreVeyon Henderson: Jason Mowry / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)