B1G reportedly mulling major change to scheduling requirements
The Big Ten is reportedly considering a change to its scheduling requirements.
According to the Action Network’s Brett McMurphy, the Big Ten is “strongly considering” removing its requirement for programs to play a Power 5 nonconference opponent.
The change would happen in 2024 as USC and UCLA are set to officially join the league. The change will also come as the College Football Playoff expands to a 12-team format.
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Since 2016, the Big Ten has required its members to play at least one Power 5 nonconference game — with some exceptions.
Last season, Michigan faced UConn, Colorado State and Hawaii in nonconference play. This upcoming season, the Wolverines will face East Carolina, UNLV and Bowling Green. The Big Ten has made exceptions for non-Power 5 programs in the past, including with Michigan’s nonconference schedule over the past 2 seasons.
The Big Ten is expected to retain its 9-game conference schedule when USC and UCLA join the league next year, per McMurphy’s report.
Besides Michigan, all Big Ten programs will face a Power 5 nonconference opponent in 2023.
What this means moving forward
The Big Ten making this move would set an interesting precedent as the college football landscape continues to shift. Will other conferences or top programs follow suit in the coming years?
It’s certainly possible, especially with the 12-team playoff looming. Programs may no longer feel the need to expend valuable energy or resources on nonconference opponents early in the season when there’s not as much pressure to build a résumé that stands out from the pack.