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Volume 24 No. 115
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McCarron, Tide Help CBS To Highest Rating For College Football Game This Season

CBS earned a 7.0 overnight Nielsen rating for the Alabama-LSU matchup on Saturday night, marking the best overnight rating for any college football game on any net this season to date. However, that overnight is down 41% from an 11.9 rating for the same game last year, which also aired in primetime, but was heavily hyped for a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. Last year's game was the second-best overnight for a college football game ever on the net, excluding bowls, since '87 (as far back as records go). Saturday night’s game peaked at a 9.3 rating during both the 11:00pm ET and 11:30pm half-hour windows. Meanwhile, Fox earned a 3.5 overnight for Oregon-USC in primetime, which marks the net's best college football overnight this season to date. Also in primetime on Saturday was ABC's Oklahoma State-Kansas State, which earned a 1.9 overnight (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes this past weekend “shows why you might see more marquee college football -- and perhaps events across the sports spectrum -- moving to Saturday nights.” Saturday is “supposed to be TV’s least-watched night,” but the night is "being transformed.” The combined ratings for Alabama-LSU, Oregon-USC, Oklahoma State-Kansas State and coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU meant “national TV college football drew a total audience that rivals what the NFL draws on Sunday evening, which is TV’s most-watched night” (USA TODAY, 11/5).

DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING: In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes CBS' pair of Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson “remains the best in calling college football,” but they “didn't prepare their viewers for Alabama's late comeback Saturday night.” When Alabama “began its 72-yard touchdown drive with 1:34 remaining, the duo indicated through their comments that undefeated Alabama didn't have much of a chance to score” (DENVER POST, 11/5).'s Richard Deitsch writes the best shot from the game was how CBS "stayed with Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron during the postgame scene on the field, and got a money shot of the quarterback sprinting to the stands to hug family and friends." Deitsch: "Even with an overly chatty Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, it was terrific stuff" (, 11/5). Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht wrote ABC’s Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit “kept a close eye on CBS' Alabama-LSU telecast on one of their monitors, giving regular updates, which probably didn't make their network bosses happy” (OKLAHOMAN, 11/4).

DANCING A JIG: NBC earned a 4.3 overnight for Notre Dame’s triple OT win over Pitt in the Saturday 3:30pm window, marking the net’s best Notre Dame football rating this season to date. The previous best was a 4.0 rating for the Michigan game on Sept. 22, which aired in primetime. The 4.3 overnight is also the best for NBC’s Notre Dame coverage since the game against Michigan last season (Karp).'s Stewart Mandel wrote it apparently is "written into Notre Dame's NBC contract that every home game must be incredibly dramatic, regardless of the opponent." Mandel: "A goal-line stand to beat Stanford? OK, it's Stanford. But a come-from-behind, triple-overtime 29-26 win over 4-4 Pittsburgh? Really, Irish? This is getting ridiculous" (, 11/4).

RULING IS CONFIRMED: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes during ABC's Nebraska-Michigan State broadcast on ABC, Michigan State was “penalized for roughing the passer, and the initial replay appeared to show the call was bad.” Announcer Sean McDonough “even said, ‘That's terrible.'" However, moments later ABC “dialed up two other replays, which showed the quarterback was struck in the head and the referee made the correct call.” McDonough, “to his credit, looked at the replays and said he was wrong and the referee was right.” Jones: “That was a terrific job by ABC to find and show the additional replays, and a great job by McDonough to reverse himself. That's why he is among the most credible announcers in the business” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/5).