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Illinois will play Northwestern & Purdue forever and ever

The Big Ten is out with its new scheduling format.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I hope you like Hats.

The Big Ten unveiled its new scheduling format Thursday afternoon, and it includes Illinois matchups with Northwestern and Purdue until the end of time (or until the Big Ten inevitably expands again).

The games against the Wildcats and Boilers are “protected” rivalries, meaning it flips every year between home and away, just like the current Big Ten West. The Illini are also lucky enough to get Ohio State in both 2024 and 2025.

Here’s how the rest is built:

Each member institution will continue to play nine conference games per season, and teams will play every other conference opponent at least twice – once home and once away – in a four-year period.

Make sense?

So here’s how it all played out for 2024 and 2025.


  • HOME: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, and Purdue
  • AWAY: Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers, and USC


  • HOME: Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, and UCLA
  • AWAY: Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin

We’ll dig more into this hellish schedule Friday morning. In the meantime, give your Boiler and Northwestern friends a hug — they’re not going anywhere. Forever.