What will the Big Ten divisions look like now that UCLA and USC are joining the conference in 2024? There are several options to consider.
The Big Ten just underwent a huge change with the addition of UCLA and USC beginning in 2024.
The biggest western powers in both football and basketball are trading in their Pac-12 membership for a taste of the Big Ten, increasing the conference’s size from 14 to 16 teams.
Don’t expect the B1G to make the numerically accurate name change now but it will have to make some changes when it comes to divisions and scheduling.
In the simplest adjustment, USC and UCLA could be integrated into the West Division with Purdue shifting east to accommodate the lopsided numbers to form two eight-team divisions.
Here’s how it might look, but don’t get too attached, it’s not the only or even the most likely option.
Big Ten divisions with UCLA and USC
- Michigan State
- Ohio State
- Penn State
Even before the USC-UCLA bombshell hit, there was talk of the B1G doing away with divisions altogether.
Instead, a rotating schedule could be adopted with protected rivalries ensuring at least one (and perhaps more) annual matchup.
If it was limited to one protected rivalry, this set up would make the most sense with the rest of the opponents in a nine- or eight-game schedule cycling through.
Big Ten with no divisions but protected rivalries and a rotating schedule
- Michigan+Ohio State
- Michigan State+Penn State
Having two or even three protected rivalries is also possible, though that’s a lot tougher to predict.
The conference has just a couple of years to sort this all out before the Trojans and Bruins debut. Who knows, by then even more teams may have joined.