2024 Battle For The B1G Looks Like a Battle of the Os

Jon Joseph Editorials

2024 B1G football will be competitive. There is no B1G West Division to protect lesser teams which led to B1G West schools winning the Division, and then flaming out in the B1G Championship game. Instead, the top two teams will play for the B1G title in Indianapolis, on December 7, 2024. Hopefully, for the Ducks this will be a Day of Success and not a Day of Infamy.

With the departures at Michigan, which could include head coach Jim Harbaugh, it looks like a consensus is growing for the 2024 B1G Champ Game to be a battle of the Os between The Ohio State Buckeyes and Our Beloved Oregon Ducks.

No team without a Blue Chip Roster, (BCR) a roster of 50% or more 4* and 5* recruits won a BCS Championship or a Playoff Championship. B1G teams with a BCR headed into 2024 are Michigan, Penn State, USC, Oregon, and Ohio State. The Buckeyes and the Ducks, in this order, will have the B1G’s bluest Blue Chip Rosters. So, as is so often the case in college football, which of the O’s schedules provides the easiest path to Indianapolis?

ESPN’s SP+ has ranked the fifteen toughest CFB strength of schedules heading into 2024. Seven B1G teams are on the list. Oregon comes in at No. 13, Ohio State is not ranked in the top 15 toughest schedules. Advantage, Buckeyes.

Neither Ohio State nor Oregon plays a Power 4 opponent out-of-conference in 2024. Ohio State plays MAC Conference opponents Akron and Western Michigan in Columbus. After an Off Week, Ohio State plays Sun Belt Conference member Marshall University also in Columbus. Akron and Western Michigan did not go bowling in 2023. Marshall lost its bowl game against UTSA.

Don’t even think about it, Buckeye! (Photo by Tom Corno)

On August 31, 2024, with the Surfin’ Safari called off, (Hawaii game) Oregon will open the season against Big Sky opponent Idaho at home. The Vandals were the No. 4 seed in the 2023 FCS playoff and received a 1st round bye before losing to Albany in a quarter-final game. Idaho will not be a Portland State pastry.

Next up comes a game versus the 2023 Mountain West champion Boise State. A team that is likely to be led by USC transfer 5* quarterback recruit Malachi Nelson. This will be a chance for Oregon to get off of the embarrassing 0-3 schnide versus the Broncos. Last season, Boise’s game in Seattle against Washington was close for a quarter before Washington took total control. The Broncos had the same experience versus UCLA in this season’s Holiday Bowl.

In its third game of the season, before its 1st Off Week, Oregon trips to Corvallis. The Beavers are now in the Pac-2 conference. Oregon State is paying to play games versus Mountain West opponents without being able to play for a Mountain West Championship. Brilliant! Ducks fans, wear your hard hats to this game.

Ohio State has the easier out-of-conference schedule but it would be surprising if both teams were not undefeated headed into B1G conference play.

Now let’s look at the B1G schedule for both teams. In 2024, Ohio State plays eight home games with old foe Michigan visiting Columbus to conclude the regular season. The Buckeyes 1st Off Week comes in Week 3. The Buckeyes 2nd Off Week comes on October 19th after playing Marshall, Michigan State, and Iowa in Columbus and then playing Oregon in Autzen. Six Big games follow with two of the six games being played on the road, at Penn State and Northwestern.

The Buckeyes will play against seven teams that went bowling in 2023. Four of Ohio State’s opponents finished ranked in the final AP Top 25 poll. Both teams play defending champion Michigan with the Ducks playing the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

CJ Stroud of Ohio State pressured by Brandon Dorlus. (Photo by Tom Corno)

Oregon has seven home games in 2024. Oregon plays B1G opponents UCLA, Purdue, Michigan, and Wisconsin on the road. Oregon’s 2nd Off Week does not arrive until after the game at Wisconsin in the penultimate game of the regular season being played in Madison, Wisconsin on November 16, 2024; likely to be a chilly day in the upper Midwest.

Before playing Washington at home in the season finale in Autzen Stadium on November 30, 2024, Oregon, like Washington, will have its second off week of the season. Eight conference games in a row for Puddles will be a B1G witch. Especially with two of the final four being played in Ann Arbor and Madison. Whew!

Oregon plays nine teams, including Idaho, that went bowling in 2023. Oregon plays three teams that finished in the final AP Poll top 10. No. 1 Michigan, No. 2 Washington, and No. 10 Ohio State. Among Others Receiving Votes, Oregon State was ranked No. 26 and UCLA was ranked 38. Five top 40 teams with three of the games being played on the road.

Yes, Oregon welcomes the Buckeyes to Autzen Stadium in October. But overall, the 2024 schedule, especially when considering the timing of the Off Weeks, favors the Buckeyes as does the 1-10 series history between the two teams. And for those of you who may be geographically B1G-challenged, the site of the B1G champ game, Indianapolis, is 2268.7 miles from Eugene and 175.6 miles from Columbus, Ohio.

How about the schedule be damned! Bring the B1G on! A tougher road for Puddles to fly than for Buckeyes, but I see an O’s rematch in the B1G Championship game and a two-loss at-worst Oregon heading to the 2024 playoff. Agree? Share your thoughts in the only civilized, free, Oregon Football Message Board and forum available to Duck fans.

Go Ducks! Vanquish the Vandals!

Jon Joseph 
Aiken, South Carolina
Top Photo by Tom Corno

New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

During the off-season the FishDuck.com publishing schedule will consist of articles on Mondays and Tuesdays. Do keep checking as new articles could be published during the week when a writer has something to say.

In mid-August of 2024, we will go back to the seven-days-a-week of articles during the football season as we did in the football season of 2023.

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