750 THE GAME STAFF
Oregon’s pending move to the Big Ten Conference in July of 2024 became more real this week when the conference released the list of opponents for each of its current and soon-to-be member schools for the next five years.
Starting next fall, Oregon Ducks football will navigate the weekly gauntlet of Big Ten football as part of a nine-game conference schedule. In 2024 the Ducks will play host to Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Maryland, and Washington, while going on the road to face Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue, and UCLA.
What does that mean for the future of the rivalry game with Oregon State?
John Canzano (afternoons 3-6 p.m.) discussed that topic on 750 The Game.
“I don’t blame you if you’re a Duck fan being excited about seeing the Ducks going to Ann Arbor,” Canzano said. “Or if you’re a Husky fan, that Michigan is coming to Husky Stadium. You look at Ohio State making that return trip (to Eugene) that Oregon fans hoped it would make in 2024 – that’s going to happen.
“It seems to me that if Oregon is going to play the Civil War rivalry, they’d have to drop a non-conference game, and they’d probably be open to traveling to Corvallis if that happened, given that they already have five conference home games,” Canzano said. “So keep an eye on that as a possibility, although I’m not optimistic that that’s going to happen in 2024. Just seems logistically difficult for Oregon to wiggle out of a non-conference game.”
The Ducks already need to adjust their 2024 non-conference slate that — according to FBSchedules.com — includes a road game at Hawaii and home games with Boise State, Idaho, and Texas Tech. That schedule will almost certainly be altered ahead of Oregon’s debut season in the Big Ten. Beyond that, with non-conference agreements in place for the most part through 2029, Oregon may have to shift more schedules around, and could look to Oregon State as a natural non-conference partner, should the Beavers be interested.
As for Washington and Washington State renewing the Apple Cup rivalry, Canzano said that could happen, but likely under a certain condition.
“The Huskies are in a little different boat. They are looking for a non-conference game. And they’re probably looking for a non-conference home game given that they’re only playing four home games in the Big Ten. So the Apple Cup is possibly on the table for Washington and Washington State if — IF — the Cougars are willing to go to Husky Stadium.”
Canzano also took a look at what Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins are facing with their foray into Big Ten football. A skeptic of the Bruins chances to compete at a high level in their new conference, Canzano said the Big Ten schedule-makers seemed to do Kelly’s program a favor in 2024.
“When the LA schools left, I said, USC is going to be fine, they’ll compete, UCLA is going to have a hard time. That’s a basketball school trying to go play in the Big Ten. I said, they’re going to have a hard time ever thinking about being a playoff team. But look at their schedule: they have Nebraska, Penn State – that’s a tough one – Rutgers, Washington, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, USC.
“Oregon, USC, Washington, are tough, but those are schools they’re playing in the Pac-12 anyway. So they gave them Rutgers, Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, you tell me the schedule-makers in the Big Ten were not trying to say to UCLA, hey we don’t want you to go 3-9.”
Listen to Canzano’s full comments on Oregon’s 2024 Big Ten opponents and future possibilities of scheduling the rivalry with Oregon State in the first segment of the show podcast below.
John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.