You know what this means.
On Monday, Georgia won its first national title since 1980, which was watched by an average of 22.6 million viewers.
The good news for ESPN appears to be that ratings for Georgia’s 33–18 win over Alabama were up from last season’s title game. However, that matchup between Alabama and Ohio State produced the worst ratings of the playoff era with an average of 18.6 million viewers.
Monday’s national championship comes in as the second-lowest viewership of the playoff era, and the second-lowest title game viewership in 16 years.
Save us, expanded playoffs! You’re our only hope.
College football overlords are telling themselves that (so is ESPN) while conveniently ignoring recent history.
By comparison, the 2018 national championship between Alabama and Georgia drew 28.4 million viewers. Meanwhile, the SEC championship between the two rivals last month hit 17.9 million viewers, making it the highest rated non-bowl game this season, per Sports Media Watch.
The inaugural CFP national championship in 2015 between Oregon and Ohio State still holds the record for the highest viewership of the playoff era with an average of 34.2 million viewers.
Guess what? Those shiny new toys lose their shine. Meanwhile, the regional passions that have fueled the sport for decades remain strong.
Naturally, that means the idiots running the sport think the future is in watering down the postseason even further. I’d put up the “Bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for ’em” gif here, but I think we already know.