Rivalry Weekend: CBS Tops Overnights With Iron Bowl; ABC's Michigan-Ohio State Up
CBS earned an 8.6 overnight rating for Auburn’s last-second win over Alabama on Saturday afternoon, marking the second-best overnight rating for any college football game this season, behind only a 9.0 rating for Alabama-Texas A&M on Sept. 14. The 8.6 rating is also up 291% from the same matchup last year. The Iron Bowl peaked at an 11.8 rating from 7:00-7:30pm ET. Birmingham led all markets with a 57.3 local rating. CBS also earned a 9.6 overnight for the Alabama-Auburn postgame show from 7:30-7:45pm. Meanwhile, ABC earned a 6.4 overnight for Ohio State’s 42-41 win over Michigan in the 12:00pm window on Saturday, up slightly from a 6.3 rating last year. The slate of Saturday night college football games was led by Texas A&M-Missouri on ESPN, which earned a 3.6 overnight. ESPN also earned a 0.8 overnight for Ole Miss-Mississippi State game on Thanksgiving in primetime, down 27% from TCU-Texas in the same window last year (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
HIGH PRAISE: SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote CBS' coverage of the end of the Alabama-Auburn game included a "series of quick cuts that documented the amazing images" being played out around Jordan-Hare Stadium. Viewers saw CBS cameras "travel from Auburn's end zone celebration to a shot of Alabama coach Nick Saban walking toward midfield, to more Auburn players celebrating, to Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron hugging friends and family, to a shot from above the field, to Saban walking off the field, to shots of stunned Alabama fans." CBS showed "nine replays of the play, using many of the 17 cameras they had on the field." Viewers saw Auburn CB Chris Davis' return "from both sidelines as well as gorgeous replays from head on and just above the playing field." The eighth replay "was shown with Auburn radio announcer Rob Bramblett's sensational call playing over it." CBS College Football Coordinating Producer Craig Silver "praised reporter Tracy Wolfson for getting Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and Davis as bedlam hit the field." Deitsch also credited CBS Game Director Steve Milton for "keeping his cameras on the field as fans swarmed Jordan-Hare" (SI.com, 12/1). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes the "decision to stick with the end-zone camera as Davis went on his magical return -- was masterful." All the "postgame work -- from replays of the score to reactions of the players and coaches to shots of fans rushing the field to ... McCarron hugging his family -- was outstanding." CBS chose not to go to commercial and stayed "at the game and made this unforgettable instant classic even more memorable." It was "great, great work." The net's overall game coverage was "superb." Announcers Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson "brought their A-game, and the entire broadcast was worthy of the game that was played" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/2).
TRACKING THE TIGER: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar noted Missouri will be playing in the SEC Championship and has "an outside chance to land" in the BCS Championship game, but unlike during a similar run in '07, excitement in the team has not appeared "in terms of television ratings in the state’s largest market." Local ratings in St. Louis for MU games this season have "lagged behind the numbers they were compiling when they were contending then for the Big 12 title." Seven MU regular-season games at this point in '07 "had been televised and drew an average rating of 7.1 in St. Louis, with five pulling a figure of 7.9 or better." This year, there have been "nine MU games shown on widely-available outlets and just three have had a rating of at least 7.9, with the overall average at 6.0." The reason for the difference "seems to be twofold." There still is "unfamiliarity with SEC foes for a lot of MU fans, who had built-up knowledge of Big 12 teams -- many of which had been rivals for decades." In addition, there is "much more of a hodge-podge of outlets televising the Tigers now than six seasons ago" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/2).
DOUBLE DUTY: SI.com's Deitsch noted FS1 analyst Joel Klatt is the "rare on-air sports television staffer who morphs between college football and the NFL on a weekly basis." Klatt is a studio analyst for "Fox College Saturday" and a game analyst on Fox' college football coverage, and also hosts FS1's "Fox NFL Kickoff." Klatt has "impressed as a reasonable, prepared voice on the sport" (SI.com, 12/1).