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Ranking Big Ten Football Schedules for 2024: Michigan’s Gauntlet to Rutgers’ Breeze

From Michigan’s grueling matchups to Rutgers’ lighter path, we rank the 2024 Big Ten football schedules.

With the expansion of the Big Ten to include new powerhouses from the Pac-12 like Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington, the conference landscape for 2024 is more competitive than ever. Each team is facing a unique set of challenges as they aim for a spot in the newly expanded 12-team College Football Playoff. Bill Bender of The Sporting News recently ranked the Big Ten schedules for 2024 from the most daunting to the most manageable. Here’s a closer look at these rankings.

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Big Ten Football’s Toughest Schedules in 2024

Michigan
Topping the list with the most grueling schedule is Michigan. The defending national champions are in for a rigorous season under head coach Sherrone Moore. Their 2024 campaign includes a formidable lineup with home games against Texas, USC, and Oregon. Additionally, the Wolverines will travel to Washington for a highly anticipated College Football Playoff championship rematch. The season concludes with a high-stakes matchup at Ohio State. Michigan’s opponents have a combined winning percentage of .624, ensuring that there will be few easy games throughout the season.

Purdue
Purdue faces a challenging season, squaring off against top-five teams such as Ohio State, Oregon, and Notre Dame. Among these, only the game against Ohio State is on the road, a venue where Purdue hasn’t secured a win since 2000. Their schedule also includes tough matchups against Penn State and consecutive games against Wisconsin and Nebraska in late September. Ryan Walters, in his second year as head coach, will have a demanding path ahead.

USC
The inaugural Big Ten season for USC is set to be tough. Their schedule features a home game against Penn State and away games against Michigan and Washington. They will also conclude their season with a traditional showdown against Notre Dame. Bill Bender highlighted, “USC reportedly tried to back out of the season opener with LSU, and with good reason,” indicating the difficult road ahead for the Trojans.

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Big Ten Football’s Easiest Schedules in 2024

Rutgers
On the other end of the spectrum, Rutgers enjoys one of the more favorable schedules in 2024. They avoid playing against powerhouses Ohio State and Michigan. Their only games against ranked teams are against USC and Washington, with a non-conference game at Virginia Tech. This is a considerable upgrade for the Scarlet Knights, who have historically struggled with a 1-19 record against Ohio State and Michigan in the Big Ten East.

Iowa
Iowa is set for a relatively smoother journey with only two games against ranked opponents: Ohio State and Washington. A significant challenge will be a road game at Ohio State, a venue where Iowa hasn’t won since 1991. Their rivalry game against Iowa State is set to take place at home, providing some advantage for Kirk Ferentz and his squad as they contend for the Big Ten championship.

Penn State
Penn State also finds itself with a less daunting schedule. They do not have a protected rival and will not face Michigan in 2024. Their primary challenges include a trip to USC and a home game against Washington. The crucial matchup will be against Ohio State. As Bender notes, “James Franklin is 1-9 against the Buckeyes,” making this game pivotal for the Nittany Lions’ season.

The Complete 2024 Big Ten Football Schedule Rankings

Based on Bill Bender’s analysis from The Sporting News, here are the 2024 Big Ten Football schedule rankings from the hardest to the easiest:

  1. Michigan
  2. Purdue
  3. USC
  4. Michigan State
  5. UCLA
  6. Washington
  7. Ohio State
  8. Illinois
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Northwestern
  11. Maryland
  12. Indiana
  13. Oregon
  14. Nebraska
  15. Minnesota
  16. Penn State
  17. Iowa
  18. Rutgers

As the 2024 season approaches, these rankings provide a snapshot of the varying levels of difficulty each team will face. From Michigan’s gauntlet to Rutgers’ breeze, the Big Ten promises a thrilling and competitive year of college football.

Written by W.G. Brady

W.G. Brady is a Detroit-based journalist who has been covering the Detroit sports scene for Detroit Sports Nation for several years. He is in his early 30s and has a wealth of experience in the industry. Throughout his career, W.G. has established himself as a respected and knowledgeable journalist known for his in-depth coverage of the teams and athletes in Detroit. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for sports, W.G. has become a go-to source for fans and readers looking for the latest news and analysis on the Detroit sports scene. He has a good reputation in the sports community and is respected for his unbiased coverage of sports events. W.G. is known for his ability to uncover hidden stories and provide unique perspectives on the teams and athletes he covers. He has a good understanding of the city of Detroit and its sports culture, which he uses to inform his reporting and analysis. He continues to be a respected journalist in the Detroit sports industry.

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