Ranking Big Ten football schedules in 2024, easiest to hardest

Looking forward to what each Big Ten football team has to face on the 2024 schedule.
What every Big Ten football team has waiting on the schedule in 2024.
What every Big Ten football team has waiting on the schedule in 2024. / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

One of the most active conferences in the realignment push that becomes official this summer, the Big Ten will look very different from years past as the 2024 college football season kicks off.

The addition of USC, Oregon, UCLA, and Washington to the league brings the Big Ten to 18 members and will do away with divisional alignments once and for all.

That means we won't see some rivalries this coming season, like for instance the Land Grant Trophy game between Penn State and Michigan State, but we'll get some new and interesting matchups.

Let's preview what Big Ten teams have it the easiest, and the hardest, looking ahead to the 2024 schedule.

Ranking Big Ten football schedules in 2024, easiest to hardest

18. Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights' path to another bowl game looks easier in 2024, with no games against Ohio State, Penn State, or Michigan on the schedule, but there are road games against Nebraska and USC.

17. Indiana

The Hoosiers get back-to-back dates against Michigan and at Ohio State later in the season, but otherwise this is a winnable slate that includes a beatable non-conference slate against FIU, Western Illinois, and Charlotte.

16. Iowa

Breaking in that new offense, the Hawkeyes avoid having to play against Michigan or Penn State or USC, but the Cy-Hawk Game comes in Week 2 and there's a midseason road tilt against the Buckeyes.

15. Nebraska

While the Cornhuskers spend the first month of the season at home, one of those matchups is against a good Colorado offense that got the best of their secondary in last year's matchup. The back-end of the schedule includes road games at Ohio State, USC, and Iowa.

14. Maryland

Week 2 comes against a Michigan State team in transition but that game is at home, and while the Terps avoid Ohio State and Michigan, they have to travel to Oregon and Penn State in the last month of the season.

13. Minnesota

PJ Fleck and the Gophers don't play the Buckeyes or Ducks this fall, but North Carolina comes to town in the opener in an intriguing ACC-Big Ten matchup, and there's a date at Michigan before hosting the USC the following week.

12. Penn State

There's no Michigan or Oregon on the schedule for the Nittany Lions this season, and the Ohio State game comes at home midseason. But the opener is at West Virginia, a team that turned out to be better than we thought, and there are consecutive road dates at USC and Wisconsin.

11. Northwestern

David Braun gets a home game against a good Duke team in transition two weeks into the season, and three of Northwestern's last five are on the road, including to Iowa and Michigan, and those two home games are against Ohio State and in-state rival Illinois.

10. Ohio State

Ryan Day gets Michigan at home to close out the regular season, but there's a midseason stretch that includes a trip to Oregon, which could shape up as a preview of the Big Ten title game.

9. Michigan State

Jonathan Smith steps in to lead Sparty through a tough midseason conference slate that includes home games against the Buckeyes and Iowa and road trips against Oregon and Michigan.

8. Oregon

Oregon has a West Coast feel to start out, including a notable non-conference game against Group of Five darling Boise State followed by a trip to rival Oregon State. Trips to Michigan and Wisconsin highlight the latter half of the schedule for the playoff-contender Ducks.

7. Washington

We'll get a preview of the Big Ten's new cross-country travel arrangements as the Huskies go to Rutgers and then host Michigan the week after that, with trips to Iowa and Indiana in back-to-back games and then a flight back across the country against Penn State a week after hosting USC.

6. Illinois

Things can go off the rails for the Illini early with a home date against a Kansas team that can play serious offense, followed by a Big Ten slate that begins at Nebraska and goes to Penn State the week after, with a trip to Oregon coming after a home tilt against Michigan.

5. Michigan

College football's defending champs undergo major changeover on the sideline and the field, and two weeks into season get to host SEC-bound, defending Big 12 champs Texas to the Big House. If that wasn't enough, there are home dates against USC and Oregon before the finale at Ohio State.

4. Wisconsin

A tough early season test for the Badgers as they host perennial contender Alabama to Camp Randall, albeit a Crimson Tide squad that lost some key personnel and won't have Nick Saban on the sideline. A trip to USC follows and a home date against Oregon is wedged between trips to Iowa and Nebraska.

3. Purdue

Losing important contributors in the transfer portal, the Boilermakers contend with CFP contender Notre Dame in Week 2 and go to Oregon State the week after. Oregon and Penn State are home games, but Purdue also goes on the road against Ohio State and Wisconsin.

2. USC

The first two weeks of USC's life in the Big Ten comes against SEC contender LSU in Las Vegas and a trip to Michigan two weeks later. Penn State and Notre Dame come to the L.A. Coliseum, but the Trojans travel to Washington and UCLA.


Deshaun Foster steps in to lead the Bruins on the road against Hawai'i in the opener and play on the road against LSU two weeks after that, with Oregon at home and Penn State on the road in the two weeks after that.


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James Parks


James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.