Badgers in Trouble? Ranking the Most Difficult Schedules in the Big Ten

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The Big Ten has a brand new look for 2024 and some of the new additions will be very tough opponents. The Badgers will face west coast newcomers Oregon and UCLA to name a few, along with some more familiar midwest foes. So let's take a look at which teams have the toughest schedules in the conference according to College Football Network.

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2024 Schedule: vs. Akron, at Virginia Tech, vs. Washington, at Nebraska, vs. UCLA, at USC, vs. Minnesota, at Maryland, vs. Illinois, at Michigan State

Rutgers toughest matchup will be with USC. Beyond that, they managed to avoid Michigan, Oregon, Penn State and Ohio State in a pretty favorable schedule.

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2024 Schedule: vs. FIU, vs. Western Illinois, at UCLA, vs. Charlotte, vs. Maryland, at Northwestern, vs. Nebraska, vs. Washington, at East Lansing, vs. Michigan, at Ohio State, vs. Purdue

While Indiana plays Michigan and Ohio State, their non-conference schedule features teams that were a combined 7-28 last season.

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2024 Schedule: vs. UTEP, vs. Colorado, vs. Northern Iowa, vs. Illinois, at Purdue, vs. Rutgers, at Indiana, at Ohio State, vs. UCLA, at USC, vs. Wisconsin, at Iowa

Nebraska will have to get through Ohio State, USC and I guess Colorado depending on how you feel about coach Deion's squad. Beyond that they have some pretty favorable matchups and won't have to head out on the road until week 5.

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2024 Schedule: vs. Illinois State, vs. Iowa State, vs. Troy, at Minnesota, at Ohio State, vs. Washington, at Michigan State, vs. Northwestern, vs. Wisconsin, at UCLA, at Maryland, vs. Nebraska

Within the conference schedule, Ohio State looms. Iowa State will be a difficult non-conference test for the Hawkeyes.

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2024 Schedule: vs. UConn, vs. Michigan State, at Virginia, vs. Villanova, at Indiana, vs. Northwestern, vs. USC, at Minnesota, at Oregon, vs. Rutgers, vs. Iowa, at Penn State

USC, Oregon and Penn State will be the biggest hurdles for Maryland.

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2024 Schedule: vs. North Carolina, vs. Rhode Island, vs. Nevada, vs. Iowa, at Michigan, vs. USC, at UCLA, vs. Maryland, at Illinois, at Rutgers, vs. Penn State, at Wisconsin

One positive for Minnesota is getting to face both Penn State and USC at home. Road matchups against Wisconsin and Michigan will certainly be tough and Minnesota might be lucky to win just one of those four.

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2024 Schedule: at West Virginia, vs. Bowling Green, vs. Kent State, vs. Illinois, vs. UCLA, at USC, at Wisconsin, vs. Ohio State, vs. Washington, at Purdue, at Minnesota, vs. Maryland

Penn State will be a team no one wants to face in 2024. They do have problems of their own though with USC, Wisconsin and Ohio State back-to-back-to-back and a tough week 1 matchup against West Virginia.

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2024 Schedule: vs. Akron, vs. Western Michigan, vs. Marshall, at Michigan State, vs. Iowa, at Oregon, vs. Nebraska, at Penn State, vs. Purdue, at Northwestern, vs. Indiana, vs. Michigan

Ohio State should steamroll their first five opponents, but then things start to get interesting. Oregon, Penn State and Michigan is a very tough draw for conference opponents.

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2024 Schedule: vs. Miami (OH), vs. Duke, vs. Eastern Illinois, at Washington, vs. Indiana, at Maryland, vs. Wisconsin, at Iowa, at Purdue, vs. Ohio State, at Michigan, vs. Illinois

Three straight home non-conference games should give Northwestern some confidence to start the year. They'll need it as Ohio State and Michigan wait at the back end of the schedule.

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2024 Schedule: vs. Florida Atlantic, at Maryland, vs. Prairie View A&M, at Boston College, vs. Ohio State, at Oregon, vs. Iowa, at Michigan, vs. Indiana, at Illinois, vs. Purdue, vs. Rutgers

The Spartans have a favorable schedule to begin the year, but schedule makers gave Michigan State the middle finger as they wrote in Ohio State, Oregon and Michigan all within a month.

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2024 Schedule: vs. Idaho, vs. Boise State, at Oregon State, at UCLA, vs. Michigan State, vs. Ohio State, at Purdue, vs. Illinois, at Michigan, vs. Maryland, at Wisconsin, vs. Washington

Our first newcomer to the conference, Oregon has a moderately difficult schedule but the real problems for these west coast schools will the the distance to travel for every away game. Still, Oregon projects to be a playoff team.

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2024 Schedule: vs. Weber State, vs. Eastern Michigan, at Washington State, vs. Northwestern, at Rutgers, vs. Michigan, at Iowa, at Indiana, vs. USC, at Penn State, vs. UCLA, at Oregon

An easy start will help a team who just lost their head coach to Alabama. Things will get tougher down the stretch with powerhouses Michigan, USC, Penn State and Oregon all potential losses.

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2024: Schedule: vs. Eastern Illinois, vs. Kansas, vs. Central Michigan, at Nebraska, at Penn State, vs. Purdue, vs. Michigan, at Oregon, vs. Minnesota, vs. Michigan State, at Rutgers, at Northwestern 

Three straight home games will certainly help the Illini, but at Penn State and Oregon will prove troublesome. Getting Michigan at home only does so much against that wagon.

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2024 Schedule: vs. Fresno State, vs. Texas, vs. Arkansas State, vs. USC, vs. Minnesota, at Washington, at Illinois, vs. Michigan State, vs. Oregon, at Indiana, vs. Northwestern, at Ohio State

The defending champs will not have an easy go of it in 2024. Between Texas, Ohio State and Oregon, Michigan may be playing three of the top five teams in the country.

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2024 Schedule: vs. Western Michigan, vs. South Dakota, vs. Alabama, at USC, vs. Purdue, at Rutgers, at Northwestern, vs. Penn State, at Iowa, vs. Oregon, at Nebraska, vs. Minnesota

Your Badgers have the fourth toughest schedule in the Big Ten and that may not exactly bode well for a fanbase looking to see more from Head Coach Luke Fickell. Alabama could get ugly and Penn State and Oregon are probably top 10 teams in the country. USC could give the team fits as well. If Fickell isn't careful he could be staring down another .500 season.

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2024 Schedule: at Hawai’i, vs. Indiana, at LSU, vs. Oregon, at Penn State, vs. Minnesota, at Rutgers, at Nebraska, vs. Iowa, at Washington, vs. USC, vs. Fresno State

UCLA will face the same travel issues as their other west coast counterparts, but this team doesn't have the same firepower as a USC or Oregon. LSU, Oregon and Penn State could be three straight losses.

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2024 Schedule: vs. Indiana State, vs. Notre Dame, at Oregon State, vs. Nebraska, at Wisconsin, at Illinois, vs. Oregon, vs. Northwestern, at Ohio State, vs. Penn State, at Michigan State, at Indiana

Purdue has a moderately tough schedule and much like UCLA, just won't have the juice to overcome it. Notre Dame is a non-conference cherry on top of an already tough conference schedule to doom the Boilermakers.

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2024 Schedule: vs. LSU, vs. Utah State, at Michigan, vs. Wisconsin, at Minnesota, vs. Penn State, at Maryland, vs. Rutgers, at Washington, vs. Nebraska, at UCLA, vs. Notre Dame

Hopefully the Trojans enjoy pain because not only do they face Michigan and Penn State in conference, they also have dates with LSU and Notre Dame.