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2024 & 2025 Big Ten Conference opponents & locations released

2024 features trips to Ohio State and USC but 2025 looks like as easy as it’ll get in the new normal

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NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Southern California vs Iowa Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The trickle-trickle of news earlier today yielded the possibility of the Iowa Hawkeyes protecting their three border trophies by virtue of “flexible rivalry scheduling.”

2024 matchups at USC, at Ohio State and a home game against UCLA were also leaked.

We’ve now got the downpour of the full schedules - where will the other nine Big Ten teams fall on Iowa’s schedule?! - via the pseudo-event of the Big Ten’s release:

Here are Iowa’s other games in those seasons:


August 31 - vs. Illinois State

September 7 - vs. Iowa State

September 14 - vs. Troy Trojans


August 31 - vs. Florida Atlantic

September 7 - at Iowa State

November 15 - vs. UMass

A couple takeaways:

One final gift from Gary Barta. No seriously.

Iowa’s outgoing athletic director has long postured about maintaining the relevance of border games, going so far as including Northwestern in the group of opponents he’d like to see protected. The future setup will allow Iowa football to maintain those rivalries against three fellow mid-tier programs in Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin.

In my opinion, this allows Kirk Ferentz to continue threading the needle they currently do. There’s a greater emphasis placed on these rivalry games, including Iowa State, and by having a third of Iowa’s schedule be for just a little more it allows for success in those games to be used as a barometer for success (and bragging rights among neighbors) in coming years as they do now.

Dating back to 2015, Iowa is 24-7 in those games. This success has papered over the fact that Iowa has made just two conference championship games since the current divisional alignment.

Circle 2025?

Iowa gets their five home games, including the two most storied programs on the docket (Michigan & Penn State). Their four road opponents are games within the historic Big Ten radius.

Looking at other teams’ opponents, it looks like Iowa could sneak their way into second place (behind Ohio State and their relatively soft schedule) with wins over Michigan & Penn State. The fourth team which figures to be in the mix on an annual basis (USC) has OSU on the road & Penn State. They’ll also have a truly cross-country trip to Rutgers which will be something new for these teams to manage.

People are saying 2023 might be Kirk’s swan song but if he can weather the new opponents in 2024, 2025 looks like the type of schedule Iowa will need to challenge for a conference title berth in the new landscape.

Even if they win a bunch of games but lose out on a tiebreaker, it could offer them a playoff chance as it expands to 12 teams in 2024.

Other oddities

  • Protecting Ohio State-Michigan & Ohio State-Illinois range from “no duh” to “the Illibuck is BACK baby” but adding Northwestern to back-to-back play for 2024 & 2025 is a real headscratcher for me.
  • Penn State returns, a bit, to independence as they don’t have any protected rivals going forward. They’re in the same boat as everyone else with having three common opponents between 2024 & 2025, though: Michigan State, USC, & Rutgers.
  • Wisconsin-USC & Nebraska-UCLA is the right way to break up the Quadrangle of Hate. Both teams are the only two who will travel to LA in both seasons, though.