COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JUL 26 Big Ten Conference Media Days
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The Big Ten is expanding, and the implications of the conference adding Oregon and Washington will have a ripple effect on future scheduling. In June, the Big Ten announced the schedule for the 2024 season, which included new members USC and UCLA. Now, with the Ducks and Huskies departing the Pac-12 after this season, the schedule makers will be forced to rework what they thought was a finalized schedule. 

No other conference in major college football will require certain members to make true cross-country road trips. With four Pac-12 schools joining the fold next summer, it's likely every school will have to make at least one trip out West in 2024. In the original schedule, Maryland, Rutgers, Penn State, Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue all avoided a trip to either USC or UCLA that season.

All six of those schools would've had to travel less than 5,000 miles round trip for conference games. For context, USC was scheduled to travel over 16,000 miles roundtrip in 2024 because of road games against Maryland, Penn State and Purdue. UCLA had conference road games scheduled against Rutgers, Michigan and Indiana, plus nonconference road games against Hawaii and LSU. 

This type of travel is unusual within other Power Five conferences, even with expansion. BYUCincinnatiHouston and UCF debut in the Big 12 this fall. Provo, Utah, to Orlando, Florida, now becomes the furthest distance traveled between two Big 12 members -- at least for now until we see what happens with Arizona, Arizona State and Utah. Still, it's about 1,100 miles less roundtrip than what USC and UCLA will have to endure during conference play.   

The Big Ten in the original schedule introduced the new "Flex Protect Plus" model, which will see a new team get a favorable travel schedule every season. The new format will give most schools to up to three protected annual rivalries (Penn State is the only team with zero protected rivalries) while keeping a nine-game schedule featuring a rotation of conference opponents on a two-year basis. In doing so, each Big Ten team will face every other conference member twice -- one home and one away -- over a four-year period.

Frequent fliers

The distance (one-way in miles) between the Pac-12 schools joining the Big Ten and the rest of the teams in their new conference.

Rutgers 2,423Rutgers 2,425Rutgers 2,460Maryland 2,326
Maryland 2,339Maryland 2,298Maryland 2,387Penn State 2,220
Penn State 2,257Penn State 2,243Penn State 2,286Ohio State 1,999
Ohio State 1,994Indiana 2,178Ohio State 2,049Michigan 1,901
Michigan 1,943Ohio State 1,972Michigan 1,966Indiana 1,870
Michigan State 1,933Michigan 1,946Purdue 1,930Michigan State 1,853
Purdue 1,793MSU 1,912Michigan State 1,922Purdue 1,809
Indiana 1,784Purdue 1,768Indiana 1,901Illinois 1,742
Illinois 1,760Northwestern 1,741Illinois 1,748Rutgers 1,702
Wisconsin 1,691Illinois 1,738Northwestern 1,743Northwestern 1,693
Northwestern 1,624Wisconsin 1,671Wisconsin 1,676Wisconsin 1,616
Minnesota 1,544Iowa 1,544Iowa 1,596Iowa 1,551
Iowa 1,541Minnesota 1,525Minnesota 1,463Minnesota 1,391
Nebraska 1,308Nebraska 1,287Nebraska 1,357Nebraska 1,344
Washington 959Washington 965USC 738USC 965
Oregon 729Oregon 738UCLA 729UCLA 959
USC 17UCLA 17Washington 252Oregon 252