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Miles Oregon football travels in the first Big Ten season

EUGENE – One of the main criticisms of conference realignment in college athletics is the travel requirements it places on teams that now play in conferences far away from where the schools are located. Oregon is one of the teams most affected by this change, as the West Coast power will primarily play teams from the central United States in 2024 and beyond.

The Big Ten Conference will expand to 18 teams in 2024, including Oregon, the Washington Huskies, USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins.

The Oregon Ducks will travel an astonishing 24,222 miles for the 2024 football season (including the preseason trip to Oregon State), compared to the 9,172 miles they traveled for the 2023 regular season. Oregon’s travel needs are facing a nearly 40 percent increase.

The Duck listens to the crowd as the Oregon Ducks host the Oregon State Beavers on Tuesday, April 30.

The Duck listens to the crowd as the Oregon Ducks host the Oregon State Beavers on Tuesday, April 30. / Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA

While flights will inevitably be much more expensive, there is also the toll this takes on staff and players, especially as it often changes time zones. While in the Pac-12 Conference the vast majority of Oregon’s games were played in Pacific or Mountain Time, the move to the Big Ten Conference means many more games will be played in the Central and Eastern time zones.

While the Ducks won’t have to make the trip to the Eastern Time Zone for 2024 as they avoid schools like Rutgers and Penn State this year, this won’t be the case every year. It’s not hard to imagine how this travel distance could increase in the coming years and be an even bigger factor in the team’s performance in road games.

It’s worth noting that some teams will fare worse than Oregon, like Washington. The Huskies have to fly even further northwest than the Ducks. Additionally, California and Stanford will face even tougher travel requirements as they move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, which is made up of teams that live almost exclusively in the Eastern time zone.

While programs have more resources than ever to aid in recovery from these grueling journeys, one can only imagine the effect this will have on the daily lives of athletes and coaches alike.

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