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Changes coming to Big Ten football scheduling requirements?

What changes could be coming?

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Big Ten football
© Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Could changes be coming to Big Ten football scheduling requirements? The conference may be making some changes.

Brett McMurphy, a college football insider with Action Network HQ, took to Twitter today to announce that Big Ten football is considering removing the requirement for each team to play one Power Five non-conference opponent each season.

This change would go into effect for the 2024 season which coincides with USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten as well as the College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams.

Why is the Big Ten considering this change? For starters, the Big Ten already plays nine Power Five conference opponents during league play whereas other conferences like the SEC only play eight. Based on this fact alone, Big Ten schedules are more difficult on paper than the SEC, especially after adding the now-required Power Five non-conference opponent. Doing this will allow Big Ten schedules to match in difficulty compared to the conference’s biggest rival, the SEC.

I, for one, am tired of seeing SEC schools get away with playing teams like The Citadel in Week 12, so it’ll be nice to make schedules more level when compared to the SEC.

I see a fair amount of pros to this change beginning with the obvious of easier schedules for everyone, especially at the start of the season. It is always nice having a couple of easy games to start your schedule so your team can figure itself out before Big Ten play begins, and this change gives each team more chances to prepare for the conference season. Easier schedules also mean fewer losses which then results in more Big Ten teams making the playoff. This is the main goal for the conference, and with the playoff expanding to 12 teams in 2024, it’s likely this change would help get at least three Big Ten teams in the playoff each season. Disregarding the CFP altogether, more Big Ten teams will now likely qualify for regular bowl games meaning even more national exposure for the conference as a whole.

This scheduling change, however, isn’t perfect. No requirement for non-conference Power Five opponents means fewer marquee matchups to start the season. As a fan of the sport who loves watching big games, it will be tough to give up some of these massive matchups we are used to seeing like Ohio State vs. Notre Dame last year. This means we will be reliant on bowl matchups to play quality non-conference opponents instead of being able to schedule opponents in September that we would never usually play.

How does this impact MSU? That is yet to be seen because MSU could still choose to schedule major non-conference opponents if they still want to. However, it likely will mean fewer marquee matchups such as Oregon, Washington, and Notre Dame like we’ve gotten used to in the past.

On a positive note, an easier schedule means a better chance for MSU to make the 12-team College Football Playoff. The ultimate goal is to win a national championship, and this change will help us get to the playoff to have a chance at winning it all.

I still hope we occasionally see Power Five non-conference opponents, especially teams like rival Notre Dame. If I had to bet on it, I think Michigan State will still schedule big non-conference opponents, just not as often as we’re used to.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.

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