ESPN drew an 11.2 overnight for Michigan State’s 24-20 win over Stanford in the Rose Bowl yesterday afternoon, up 16.7% from a 9.6 overnight for last year’s Stanford-Wisconsin matchup. Last year's game had the lowest rating for the Rose Bowl since at least ‘85. Yesterday's 11.2 rating also is up 13.1% from a 9.9 overnight for the Oregon-Wisconsin matchup in ’12, but down 4.3% from an 11.7 for TCU-Wisconsin in '11, which was the first year the game moved from ABC to ESPN. The '14 Rose Bowl drew a 27.9 local rating in Detroit, marking the net’s best bowl rating ever in the market (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
LET'S HUG IT OUT: Blogger Larry Brown wrote ESPN's Tom Rinaldi "displayed some questionable journalistic ethics" when he hugged Mark Dantonio after "completing an interview with the Michigan State coach following the Rose Bowl." After a five-question interview, Rinaldi was seen "on camera going in to give Dantonio a hug." The hug was "not included in the video shared on ESPN’s website" (LARRYBROWNSPORTS.com, 1/1). The Baltimore Sun's Ron Fritz wrote, "Did I really see ESPN's Tom Rinaldi hug Sparty coach Mark Dantonio after interview? Dantonio abused ESPN sideline reporters during season." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Michael Carvell wrote, "That was kinda awkward seeing ESPN's Tom Rinaldi hugging the Michigan State coach after interviewing him." Sportswriter Joey Kaufman wrote, "Imagine the Internet response if it was Heather Cox, not Tom Rinaldi, who hugged Mark Dantonio."
CHIPS & SALSA: ESPN earned a 7.1 overnight for UCF’s 52-42 win over Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl last night. That figure is up 9.2% from a 6.5 overnight for the Florida State-Northern Illinois Discover Orange Bowl last season, which aired in the same time slot. The UCF-Baylor overnight is down from a 7.7 rating for the Oregon-Kansas State Fiesta Bowl last year, which aired on Jan. 3 (Karp). ESPN's Sean McDonough and Chris Spielman called the game, and NESN's Gerry Callahan wrote on his Twitter account, "The sport doesn't matter. Never has. Sean McDonough is as good as any play by play guy out there. He should get the Musburger gig." Fox' Troy Aikman wrote, "Always enjoy @chris_spielman analyzing games. One of the game's great competitors and a real pro" (TWITTER.com, 1/2). Meanwhile, DEADSPIN's Sean Newell noted ESPN previewed the Fiesta Bowl broadcast during halftime of the Rose Bowl with McDonough and Spielman standing in front of a green screen that showed them at field level. Newell wrote, "We're coming to you live from somewhere near the field before tonight's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. As you can clearly see by the various shots of the stadium as well as lovely Glendale, we are probably here, somewhere, but not on the field, where we'd really prefer you to think we are coming to you live" (DEADSPIN.com, 1/1). Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey wrote on his Twitter feed, "The whole green screen thing going on behind the Fiesta Bowl announcers is jarring and unnecessary." FS1's Rob Stone wrote, "Baffled by the green screen in the Fiesta Bowl announce booth. Wanting @chris_spielman to talk about a low pressure system."
JOHNNY ON THE SPOT: Texas A&M's comeback win over Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve drew a 5.3 overnight for ESPN, marking the net’s best overnight on record for a non-BCS bowl game. The overnight is up 17.8% from a 4.5 for the Clemson-LSU matchup last year (Karp).