They’ll be right back after this word from your commercial sponsor.

The college football national championship game continues to go from one ratings success to the next… er, not exactly.


The Clemson/Alabama College Football Playoff National Championship had a 15.3 overnight rating on the ESPN family of networks Monday night, down 4% from the same matchup last year (16.0) and down 19% from Ohio State/Oregon in 2014 (18.9). The 15.3 is the lowest for college football’s national championship in five years, since Alabama/LSU scored a 13.8.

Going back further, the 15.3 is the second-lowest for the title game since 2005 and the fifth-lowest since the formation of the Bowl Championship Series in the 1998-99 season.

You ungrateful wretches!  Don’t you fans recognize improvement when you see it?  Aren’t they doing it just for you?

Birmingham was the top market with a 53.6 rating, down 9% from last year (59.2) and easily the market’s lowest rating for a national championship involving Alabama or Auburn since the formation of the BCS.

Maybe we’ve overdosed on the Tide. Sad!

I’m sure it’s nothing a sixteen-team playoff couldn’t fix.  Everybody loves a good Cinderella story, after all.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

52 responses to “They’ll be right back after this word from your commercial sponsor.

  1. David K

    Two Southern schools from small markets. Not a surprise that USC v. Texas or a game featuring Ohio State would attract more eyeballs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charles

      You beat me to it. A Pearson correlation beats an eyeball test every time, but it looks like ratings are correlated with the size of the corresponding geographical market of each fanbase (Texas, Ohio State, USC…).

      One outlier, though… Alabama/Notre Dame. Would have thought ND commanded a larger following than the ratings indicate. Strange.

      At any rate, set aside the fact that the two iterations of Bama/Clemson were friggin’ riveting. As were FSU/Auburn and Oregon/Auburn.

      But, sure, let’s keep optimizing the sport for the casual fan (“The Taco Bell Student Section!!!!”). What could possibly go wrong?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      I was gonna say that teams from multiple regions equals higher ratings, but I think there’s a few exceptions to that too.


  2. HVL Dawg

    I enjoyed watching the broadcast version with the 6 coaches commenting.

    For those of you who haven’t seen it, they showed a big view of the field with the entire defensive formation in view. As soon as a player was tackled, they immediately showed the play backward and forward (film room style) over and over again until the teams broke huddle for the next play. No fan reaction shots, no coaches reactions.


  3. Go Dawgs!

    Then again, perhaps we should be impressed that it did a 15.3. After all, it’s on pay television now. I think games like the last two title games might have been able to do a bigger number on ABC.

    Liked by 1 person

    • W Cobb Dawg

      What if we held a national championship game and nobody came? Pay TV, a later-than-necessary start, and a work day/school day to boot. I’m no TV exec, but that doesn’t make sense.

      How many people, bars, or restaurants had superbowl-like parties yesterday? Ah, that would be nobody.


  4. I continue to believe that if Mickey had his way, the ESPN Invitational otherwise known as the College Football Playoff would have Ohio State, the real USC, Texas and Florida every year. All others with the exception of Bama and Notre Dame need not apply.


  5. Chopdawg

    Maybe viewers–especially those not in Southern markets, where college football is religion–are just tired of the mind-numbing, meaningless bowl season.

    My view is that an expanded playoff system would generate more interest from the end of the regular season up to the climax of the Nat’l Champ game. As it is, we’ve all had five weeks since the conference championships to get over college football…now, out of the blue, comes our Nat’l Champ game, after the regular CFB season has petered out and the NFL has entered the climactic part of its season.


    • My view is that an expanded playoff system would generate more interest from the end of the regular season up to the climax of the Nat’l Champ game.

      I know I’m wasting my time asking this, but if your premise is valid, shouldn’t the CFP numbers be better than the BCS numbers?


      • CB

        I believe it’s noteworthy that the first CFP Championship Game has the highest rating on the board outside of Texas USC which was quite literally the game of the century.


    • paul

      It’s not the game so much that are mind numbing. At least not to me. It’s all the commercials.


  6. Otto

    Controversy creates interest, interest creates viewers, BCS created controversy.

    Bring back the BCS.


  7. Macallanlover

    Two teams from one region is certainly a factor. Bama’s legendary invincibility is another (nothing to see here, move on along.) But the Number one reason is: the knowledge that Herbie would provide 3,476 Blinding Glimpses of the Obvious, some dozens of times each, and most laced with his attempts to sway people to his special biases. If the WWL wants to improve their ratings, putting a better product on during the broadcast and not relegating their best color analyst (Todd Blackledge) to broadcast channels other than their best way to reach the most people. Just a thought.

    Keep Herbie on Gameday where the audience is more interested in fluff and silliness. Palmer or Stinchcomb are better then Kirk, who seems to think we don’t have line of sight to our TVs. All he does is tell us what we just saw, after it happens. Thanks, man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • HVL Dawg

      Palmer? OMFG


      • Macallanlover

        Uh, it is a low bar to be better than Herbie. I used him to show where he ranks, could have named several more that don’t add much. Yes, Palmer is more insightful, and honest, than Herbie.


    • The Dawg abides

      The no commentary broadcast on ESPN Classic was how I watched it. Only the PA system and game sounds. Had every shot and replay the traditional broadcast had. I’ve been watching football long enough that I don’t need an arrogant talking head explain everything to me. It would be great if every game had this option.


    • Linda

      That is how it is done in Radio. It’s great to listen. That is what attracted all us Ole Timers to CF.


    • 92 grad

      Yea, my thoughts are similar. It’s a tv show with the Seinfeld cast, but the writers suck. Great people but a terrible production. Bad tv is bad tv, no matter who’s on the screen. They need to allow football to be the draw and make the broadcast pleasant to watch, the commercials and commentary make the experience unpleasant enough that a casual CFB fan would rather go to bed at 22:00 than sit through it.


  8. Bright Idea

    If you care there’s lots of ways to record the game or watch a replay rather than stay up until 12:38am on a work night.


  9. How about playing the game on a Saturday night when I am allowed to drink beer and stay up late without worry of feeling tired and hung over at work the next day. I missed this epic 4th quarter because I turned it off and went to sleep about midway through the 3rd.


    • Otto

      I would argue Friday night, no NFL competition and what else is there to compete with it on a cold night after the holidays?


    • Or, you know, kick off at 7:30 ET


    • Will (The Other One)

      Exactly this. Plus, it felt like it was likely over to me after Bama went up 14-0 early in the second qtr (when it was already 10 pm ET) and I can’t imagine “Bama slow strangles the life out of a team” is much fun to watch for most folks. Didn’t turn out that way, but the game didn’t really get fun until after a lot of folks had written it off as another Bama win and gone to bed.


      • Dawg Vegas

        Agreed. I watched it all (my wife is a Clemson alum), but many if my friends and co-workers tuned out after it looked like ‘Bama was going to slowly smother the Tigers. I wondered last night during the 4th quarter how many people tuned out early and missed a classic. It would interesting to see the breakdown of viewership over time


  10. CB

    I must say all the play stoppage reviews and ads made last nights game unbearable toward the end. If it had gone to OT I was going to be done with it, I can’t say I’ve ever felt that way ab a Championship game, but I don’t think it had anything to do with the nature of the playoff.


  11. Will Trane

    And UGA folks questioned Chaney’s play calling. Drop a game with one play under four seconds on the board. Give up over 95 plays and 21 points in the 4th quarter. Hello, Pruitt and Saban.
    For me and I said in the second quarter Bama will lose to Clemson. The play calling by their newly hired short timer OC was bad! Very hard to understand why they ran the ball to the short side of the field so much. Was that a Clemson weakness in their one lose season. Hard to understand that second quarter offensive play calling.
    We have heard of a throw away season, but for Bama the second quarter was a throw away quarter. Wasted plays and field position.
    Plus have you ever seen a team with so many completions that were simply not very clean. All the stars aligned for Clemson in their passing game.
    From 2012 to 2017 Bama has not progressed much in pass defense. No doubt Dawgs should have used a pick play in the SECCG. Bet Notre Dame was fuming watching those two TDs and thinking back on the call against them in FSU game. And mirror Smart’s defense against UT and GT this past season. Chaney and Smart would be stupid not to make that play a key play inside the 10 going in. That game changed forever that pick plays will not be called.
    Easy to move the ball thru the air on Bama, more so, when you have a three starter at QB and those very experienced receivers.
    After watching that game I am not sure if Hurts is better than Eason. Convinced Eason is the best passer in the conference going into 2017.
    Plus the Rebs QB is better than Hurts.
    What that game proved to me again is that offense wins championship games.
    So if I was Smart I’d be looking to get my offense rolling for 2017, and looking to play at least 75 plays per game.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. sUGArdaddy

    The Monday night games kind of stink, and I’m a CFB junkie. It was just a bummer knowing you have life to do on Tuesday. I just don’t understand why they don’t work some kind of deal w/ the NFL to get the game Saturday somehow. Heck, why not play that thing Friday night, especially if we’re backing the semis up a little.


  13. Ken Dorfman

    simple. have the committee chose teams from texas and cali tv markets next year. damn, ratings problem solved.


  14. TN Dawg

    I love the CFP.

    If there was a CFP in 2007/2008, UGA wins the NC.


    • JCDAWG83

      Not without winning the SEC they wouldn’t.


      • TN Dawg

        Yeah they would have. Just like OSU didn’t win Big Ten this year, Alabama didn’t win SEC when they beat LSU, etc.

        That rule only applied when bullshit voters were finding excuses.


        • PTC DAWG

          Two losses would have kept us out. OSU only had one loss and beat another power 5 Champ on the road.


        • Macallanlover

          Exactly TN Dawg, with a four team playoff it would not have required Herbie’s ridiculous rant that led to a change of voting opinions. Still cannot believe the confluence of weirdness that kept us from playing LSU that year. Vols had three very weird games that defy the odds for all of them to go their way. Just pre-ordained I guess.


  15. 2 teams from the south, the same 2 teams as last year, and I think people are tired of Alabama.


  16. Dawgfan Will

    As many others here have stated, I’m not staying up to watch a game featuring two teams I couldn’t care less about when it’s played on Monday freaking night. College football. Saturdays. How is the most prestigious game of the year not played on the day that is most associated with the sport?


  17. Bulldog Joe

    The almighty NFL dictates the time slots now.

    College football has to settle for leftover scraps.


  18. dawgfan

    Michigan vs Miami next year will make up for the crappy ratings this year.


  19. PTC DAWG

    Not sure why you continue to have this “take” on this subject. I fully expected a rematch to have lower ratings.


  20. Dawg Vegas

    Irrespective of football, though the NFL is also affected, but aren’t TV ratings in general down? Maybe it’s more than just bad scheduling decisions by those who run the CFB, though I’m sure they contribute.

    Along with too many commercials, too many booth reviews, and being on a pay network(s), I think all broadcasting is getting used to lowered viewership numbers for anything outside of political debates.

    How did the Final Four do last year?


  21. Nashville West

    It looks to me like the five highest rated games had either ohio state or texas as one of the participants.


  22. Squatchdawg

    8 pm kickoff on a weeknight is bullshit. Don’t that realize that the people that can afford cable and widescreen TVs actually have to work for a living?


  23. Debby Balcer

    We had ice in the upstate so Clemson and Greenville school were closed. I am suprised ratings were not up here. My husband went to bed before the fourth quarter because he had to work this morning. They need to play the game on Friday or Saturday.


  24. UGA'13

    The rematch effect causing a 4% decrease in viewership is nothing unexpected. For casul fans who care more about the pageantry than the individual matchups and skill on display, the prospect of watching the same two teams play again this year is obviously less appealing. 4% seems like a reasonable amount, esp. considering the (14-0 start