One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (2024)

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (1)

Ben Kenney

July 7, 2024 8:30 am CT

The Big Ten’s expansion to 18 programs creates a challenging conference landscape for every member team. Programs such as Wisconsin now have more competition to beat to rise into the conference’s top tiers, while a national title contender such as Ohio State now has more roadblocks on its way to the title game.

One simple fallout of expansion is a recalibration of expectations. A 6-3 or 7-2 conference record now means what an 8-1 mark meant back in 2017 and 2018. Another clear fallout: The conference’s inventory of games has improved drastically. There is not a Saturday this fall without a marquee, big-time Big Ten football game.

Related: Big Ten football 2024 Las Vegas win totals, picks: Record predictions for the entire 18-team conference

That is what the top television networks had in mind when they combined to pay more than $8 billion for the Big Ten’s rights. Fox gets a marquee game at noon, CBS follows at 3:30 p.m. and NBC gets a nightcap at 7:30. The networks have NFL-ified the Big Ten, at least when it comes to the game inventory and broadcast schedule.

As we begin to make plans for the fall and look for Saturdays that can be spent away from the television, here is a full rundown of the best Big Ten game for every week during the season. It may inform which Saturday is best to spend outdoors:

Week 1: USC at LSU

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (2)

Nov. 11, 2023; Eugene, Oregon; USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley signals to the offense during the second half against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of the season will remind everybody that USC is now in the Big Ten.

The Trojans will battle the highly ranked LSU Tigers in the penultimate national game in an exciting Week 1. Both programs enter with top offenses, but both have significant questions on the defensive side of the football. This contest should provide an early answer whether USC can contend in the new-look Big Ten.

Early Prediction: LSU wins big

Honorable Mention: Penn State at West Virginia, North Carolina at Minnesota

Get more (USC) news, analysis and opinions onTrojans Wire

Get more (LSU) news, analysis and opinions onLSU Wire

Week 2: Texas at Michigan

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (3)

Michigan head coach Sherrone Moore watches a play during the second half of the spring game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Junfu Han-USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2024 Big Ten schedule is perfectly complemented by massive out-of-conference games. None is bigger than Texas at Michigan: a big-brand program with legitimate national title expectations on the road against the defending national champions.

Big nonconference games were meant to be played inside a home arena and not at a neutral site. This contest is what college football is all about.

Early Prediction: Texas wins

Honorable Mention: Iowa State at Iowa, Colorado at Nebraska

Get more (Texas) news, analysis and opinions on Longhorns Wire

Get more (Michigan) news, analysis and opinions on Wolverines Wire

Week 3: Alabama at Wisconsin

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (4)

Oct. 14, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Three weeks, three gigantic Big Ten vs. SEC contests.

Luke Fickell gets a shot at a statement win and signature moment of his young Wisconsin tenure against a new-look Alabama program in the post-Nick Saban era. The problem for Badgers fans: Kalen DeBoer is a fantastic head coach and Wisconsin may struggle to find an answer for Jalen Milroe’s legs.

Alabama visiting Wisconsin is what college football is all about. This should be a fantastic viewing experience.

Early Prediction: Alabama wins big

Honorable Mention: Oregon at Oregon State, Washington State at Washington, Notre Dame at Purdue

Get more (Alabama) news, analysis and opinions on Roll Tide Wire

Week 4: USC at Michigan

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (5)

Michigan head coach Sherrone Moore watches a play during the second half of the spring game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Junfu Han-USA TODAY NETWORK

USC faces a gauntlet with LSU in Week 1, Michigan in Week 4 and Wisconsin in Week 5. The Trojans will have to prove they belong in the new-look conference. A road trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan, will test that, especially in the toughness category.

Sherrone Moore’s Michigan program shouldn’t miss a beat once its inexperienced youth get deeper into the season. This has the makings of a signature win.

Early Prediction: Michigan wins

Honorable Mention: Iowa at Minnesota, UCLA at LSU, Illinois at Nebraska

Get more (USC) news, analysis and opinions onTrojans Wire

Get more (Michigan) news, analysis and opinions on Wolverines Wire

Week 5: Wisconsin at USC

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (6)

Nov. 18, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell looks on during the second quarter against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall Stadium. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten play begins without a championship-deciding matchup, but with several interesting contests for the overall conference standing.

Wisconsin at USC is one of those games. It is the Badgers’ air raid against a similar offensive system. The big question is will either program get a stop on defense. A Wisconsin win here could mean a 2-3 start to the Trojans in a pivotal year for Lincoln Riley’s tenure.

Early Prediction: Wisconsin wins

Honorable Mention: Oregon at UCLA, Minnesota at Michigan

Get more (USC) news, analysis and opinions onTrojans Wire

Week 6: Michigan at Washington

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (7)

Dec. 1, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada; Washington Huskies mascot Harry the Husky and cheerleaders pose after the Pac-12 Championship game against the Oregon Ducks at Allegiant Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to ignore a national title rematch — even if both teams have new head coaches and look drastically different than they did in January 2024.

Early Prediction: Michigan wins

Honorable Mention: Iowa at Ohio State, USC at Minnesota

Get more (Michigan) news, analysis and opinions on Wolverines Wire

Get more (Washington) news, analysis and opinions on Huskies Wire

Week 7: Ohio State at Oregon

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (8)

Nov. 18, 2023; Tempe, Arizona; Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning (center) leads quarterback Bo Nix (10) and Ty Thompson (13) onto the field for the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Mountain America Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t only the game of the week, it could be the game of the year in the Big Ten. This contest may be a preview of the Big Ten Championship and an early round College Football Playoff game if everything falls right. Both teams have legitimate national title aspirations, and both are well-equipped to reach that bar.

Early Prediction: Oregon wins

Honorable Mention: Penn State at USC, Washington at Iowa

Get more (Ohio State) news, analysis and opinions on Buckeyes Wire

Get more (Oregon) news, analysis and opinions on Ducks Wire

Week 8: Oregon at Purdue

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (9)

Nov. 18, 2023; Evanston, Illinois; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Ryan Walters watches his team play against the Northwestern Wildcats in the fourth quarter at Ryan Field. Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Week 8 is the quietest week on the Big Ten schedule. That’s the weekend to plan other activities, if it’s entirely necessary.

The most interesting game may be the Friday night contest between Oregon and Purdue. The Ducks will be fresh off a season-defining game against Ohio State and will travel to where many programs suffer backbreaking upsets. At times, college football is about avoiding upsets as much as winning big games. This is a big test for Oregon in that regard.

Early Prediction: Oregon wins

Honorable Mention: Iowa at Michigan State, Michigan at Illinois, Wisconsin at Northwestern (if you like bad football)

Get more (Oregon) news, analysis and opinions on Ducks Wire

Week 9: Penn State at Wisconsin

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (10)

Oct. 7, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin; Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell is shown during the second quarter against Rutgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

This is another golden chance for Fickell to notch a season-defining win. The Badgers will hope to follow their blueprint from the 2021 matchup between these two teams with a strong defensive effort and physical dominance. The team will need to avoid fumbling in the red zone several times.

Penn State can’t ascend to a playoff-level team without winning games like this one. It should be a fascinating matchup.

Early Prediction: Penn State wins

Honorable Mention: Michigan State at Michigan, Northwestern at Iowa (if you like bad football), Rutgers at USC

Get more (Penn State) news, analysis and opinions on Nittany Lions Wire

Week 10: Oregon at Michigan

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (11)

Blue Team defensive lineman Mason Graham (55) walks up the tunnel for halftime during the spring game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Junfu Han-USA TODAY NETWORK

Sherrone Moore will have months to get his team into form before a closing stretch of games against Oregon and Ohio State. The Wolverines should get better as the season moves along, which could lead to this being one of the games of the year.

Oregon needs to win big-time road games to be a true conference contender. This trip to Michigan is exactly that.

Early Prediction: Michigan wins

Honorable Mention: Wisconsin at Iowa (my personal game of the year), Ohio State at Penn State, USC at Washington

Get more (Oregon) news, analysis and opinions on Ducks Wire

Get more (Michigan) news, analysis and opinions on Wolverines Wire

Week 11: Washington at Penn State

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (12)

Dec. 30, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin on the sidelines against the Mississippi Rebels during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State faces a five-week stretch of at USC, bye week, at Wisconsin, vs. Ohio State and vs. Washington. The last game is the easiest on paper, but it also could be an opportunity for Washington head coach Jedd Fisch to pull a big-time upset.

This week in the Big Ten is light after Week 10’s incredible slate.

Early Prediction: Penn State wins

Honorable Mention: Maryland at Oregon, Iowa at UCLA

Get more (Penn State) news, analysis and opinions on Nittany Lions Wire

Get more (Washington) news, analysis and opinions on Huskies Wire

Week 12: Oregon at Wisconsin

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (13)

Oct. 28, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell watches from the sideline during the second half of the NCAA football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State won 24-10.

Fickell’s third opportunity for a program-defining win will likely be the most difficult. Oregon has all the makings of a national title contender and could enter this week after recent wins over Ohio State and Michigan.

Badgers fans hope that more time sees Phil Longo’s offense improve. Otherwise, the team will not pose much of a threat to the loaded Ducks.

Early Prediction: Oregon wins

Honorable Mention: Nebraska at USC, UCLA at Washington

Get more (Oregon) news, analysis and opinions on Ducks Wire

Week 13: Wisconsin at Nebraska

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (14)

Oct. 7, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell looks on during the fourth quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Camp Randall Stadium. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This is a Wisconsin website, so there is a bit of bias here. But this game is a meeting between two programs with second-year head coaches looking to establish their identity and standing in the new conference landscape.

It will be hard to ignore the Matt Rhule vs. Luke Fickell argument if the Badgers struggle and the Cornhuskers ascend this year. That’s why this game will be so important to everybody involved.

Early Prediction: Nebraska wins

Honorable Mention: USC at UCLA, Penn State at Minnesota

Get more (Nebraska) news, analysis and opinions on Cornhuskers Wire

Week 14: Ohio State vs. Michigan

One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (15)

Dec. 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day walks off the field after losing 14-3 to Missouri Tigers in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch-USA TODAY NETWORK

This one can be written in pen every season.

The 2024 edition of The Game will see the desperate Buckeyes in search of their first win over the Wolverines since 2019. If Michigan wins even while transitioning to a new coach and new program, it might be the end for Ryan Day at Ohio State.

Early Prediction: Ohio State wins big

Honorable Mention: Wisconsin at Minnesota, Nebraska at Iowa, Notre Dame at USC, Washington at Oregon

Get more (Ohio State) news, analysis and opinions on Buckeyes Wire

Get more (Michigan) news, analysis and opinions on Wolverines Wire

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One Big Ten game to watch each week of the 2024 football season (2024)
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