'Bama-Georgia Helps CBS To Best Regular-Season CFB Rating Since '11
Alabama’s thrilling come-from-behind win over Georgia in the SEC Championship on Saturday led CBS to the highest-rated regular season college football game on any network in seven years. The game from 4:00-7:45pm ET drew a 10.5 overnight rating, up 25% from last year’s Georgia-Auburn game, and marks the second-highest rated SEC Championship game ever, behind the ’09 Alabama-Florida matchup (11.8). Alabama-Georgia peaked at a 14.4 rating from 7:30-7:45pm. Birmingham led all local markets for the game with a 56.7 rating, followed by Atlanta with a 33.9. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s 39-27 win over Texas in the Big 12 Championship on Saturday afternoon -- which helped land the Sooners in the CFP -- earned a 6.8 overnight on ABC, up 58% from last year’s Oklahoma-TCU game (4.3 overnight). OU-Texas peaked at an 8.7 overnight in the game’s fourth quarter. For the Big Ten title game, Ohio State’s win over Northwestern drew a 5.6 overnight on Fox, down 31% from an 8.0 last year for Ohio State’s win over Wisconsin. While down from last year, OSU-Northwestern was up slightly from a 5.5 for Penn State-Wisconsin in ’16 and did give Fox a win among all networks in primetime Saturday. The Pac-12 title game’s rating was aided by a move from cable to broadcast this year, as the Friday night game between Washington and Utah earned a 3.1 rating, up from a 2.7 last year on ESPN (USC-Stanford). Two years ago, Washington-Colorado aired on Fox and drew a 3.9 overnight. The Clemson-Pitt ACC Championship on Saturday night drew a 2.8 overnight on ABC from 8:00-11:45pm, down from a 3.7 last year for Clemson-Miami. On Saturday afternoon, ABC drew a 2.7 rating for UCF's come-from-behind win over Memphis in the AAC title game, up from a 2.5 last year.
GAME AWAY FROM THE GAME: THE ATHLETIC's John Walters noted there was "compelling drama in the final moments of the Fresno State-Boise State game." Late in the fourth quarter, ESPN’s cameras caught Boise State RB Alexander Mattison being "tackled hard, his helmet bouncing violently off the frozen playing surface." Mattison "struggled to stand up afterward, clearly in a daze." ESPN’s cameras "remained on Mattison as he argued with Boise State’s training staff on the sideline." He clearly "wanted to return to the game and clearly they wanted him to head to the medical tent." ESPN sideline reporter Todd McShay "kept viewers abreast of the developing situation." At one point in-booth analyst Brian Griese suggested Boise State coach Bryan Harsin needed "to take control of this situation" (THEATHLETIC.com, 12/2).