The Oregon Ducks have their Big Ten opponents set
Let us take you to the future.
There will still be time to feel conflicted about Oregon’s move to the Big Ten, especially as the Ducks careen through their final season here in the Pac-12.
But it’s OK to enjoy some of this. Like today, when the Big Ten finally gave a little glimpse of what the future is going to look like.
Let me take you to a little place I like to call 2024, where Autzen will be filled to the brim with mega matchups against the likes of Ohio State and Michigan State. Road games will be played at the Big House and Rose Bowl. How about some cheese curds in Wisconsin? Did someone say rivalry game with the Huskies?
Ok, maybe this still all hits the fan by the time the final of these scheduled seasons comes around. But for the time being, we’re pretty excited about this —
Home: Illinois, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Washington
Road: Michigan, Purdue, UCLA, Wisconsin
Home: Indiana, Minnesota, USC, Wisconsin
Road: Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State, Rutgers, Washington
Home: Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, UCLA, Washington
Road: Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, USC
Home: Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue
Road: Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska, UCLA, Washington
Home: Illinois, Michigan State, Rutgers, USC, Washington
Road: Indiana, Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin
— and some of the stories these new matchups will provide.
Here are five quick thoughts on today’s release.
A BIG start
If the Big Ten needed to sell itself to Oregon fans, it did a pretty sound job with a loaded debut schedule for the Ducks. Oregon gets Ohio State at home — a game that was scheduled for 2020 but put off by the pandemic — and gets another premier matchup in Eugene with Michigan State, who the Ducks played three times in the 2010s. In 10 years covering Oregon, the 2014 game featuring the Ducks and Spartans ranks as one of the best football environments I’ve ever attended. The 2018 Redbox Bowl, however, was not.
The new opponents on 2024’s road schedule are appealing as well, with trips to the Big House in Ann Arbor and then over to Madison — two of college football’s revered college towns.
For familiarity, the Ducks host Washington and travel to the Rose Bowl to face UCLA.
Consider a mileage plan
Washington, it seems, is Oregon’s only rival here. The Ducks play the Huskies every season, then get a mix of UCLA and USC in alternating years. In some seasons, this means Oregon’s road schedule doesn’t feature an exuberant amount of air time. In others, woof. Let’s take a look at 2028 for example, when Oregon hosts two west coast opponents (Washington and USC) and travels east for each of its road games.
At Indiana: 1,762 miles
At Penn State: 2,200 miles
At Minnesota: 1,474 miles
At Wisconsin: 1,688 miles
Average: 1,781 miles
Those flights probably go by quick after wins. Losses? Not so much.