The Old Oaken Bucket game will remain a staple of the Big Ten football schedule for IU and Purdue.
Beyond that, much will change starting with the 2024 season. The Big Ten conference unveiled an extended look at its new division-less format, necessitated by the arrivals of USC, UCLA, Washington and Oregon to the conference.
The schools all left the Pac-12 in favor of the Big Ten, creating a gigantic schedule puzzle for the expanded conference to piece together.
New scheduling model
Starting with the 2024 season, the Big Ten will employ what it calls the “Flex Protect XVIII” model, a schedule intended to accommodate a conference that will swell to 18 teams from coast to coast.
It’s based on the “Flex Protect+” model outlined earlier in 2023. Back then, however, Oregon and Washington hadn’t yet joined the conference.
As it has since the 2016 season, the Big Ten will feature a nine-game conference schedule. Teams will have either four or five home games in alternating years.
Twelve matchups are protected, keeping traditional rivalries alive: Illinois-Northwestern, Illinois-Purdue, Indiana-Purdue, Iowa-Minnesota, Iowa-Nebraska, Iowa-Wisconsin, Maryland-Rutgers, Michigan-Michigan State, Michigan-Ohio State, Minnesota-Wisconsin, Oregon-Washington and UCLA-USC.
That’s good news for IU and Purdue fans, who look forward to the annual Old Oaken Bucket game that traditionally closes out the football season.
Balancing travel, no more divisions
The Big Ten said it tried to balance travel distance, regional concerns and time zones as it formulated the schedule. Schools will play other members at least twice during a five-year cycle (and no more than three times), with one home game and one road game during that span.
Starting in 2024, the Big Ten will scrap its East and West divisions. In past years, the winner of each division met in the conference championship game.
Going forward, the title game will feature the top two teams in the overall conference standings. Tiebreaking measures have yet to be announced.
IU’s 2024 through 2028 opponents
2024 Home: Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Purdue, Washington
2024 Away: Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, UCLA
2025 Home: Illinois, Michigan State, UCLA, Wisconsin
2025 Away: Iowa, Maryland, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue
2026 Home: Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, USC
2026 Away: Michigan, Nebraska, Rutgers, Washington
2027 Home: Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers
2027 Away: Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue, USC
2028 Home: Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Purdue, Washington
2028 Away: Northwestern, Penn State, UCLA, Wisconsin
Purdue’s 2024 through 2028 opponents
2024 Home: Nebraska, Northwestern, Oregon, Penn State
2024 Away: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin
2025 Home: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Rutgers, USC
2025 Away: Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Washington
2026 Home: Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin
2026 Away: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Penn State, UCLA
2027 Home: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Penn State, UCLA
2027 Away: Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon
2028 Home: Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern
2028: Away: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Rutgers, USC