Blog Entry

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:23 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

Did you watch Alabama beat LSU 21-0 to win the BCS Championship last night? If not, you weren't alone in finding your television entertainment elsewhere.

The overnight ratings for the BCS National Championship Game show that last night's rematch between Alabama and LSU was the lowest-rated title game in the 14-year history of the BCS, bringing in a 13.8 overnight rating, a 14% drop from last year's game between Auburn and Oregon. The previous low had been set in 2002 when Miami played Nebraska for the title and the game brought a 14.3 rating.

There are a few factors that were no doubt in play here. First of all, it seems many college football fans were serious when they said they didn't want to watch a rematch of a game they'd already seen, particularly one that ended 9-6 the first time and didn't exactly provide a lot of excitement. Another factor to consider is that the game was broadcast on ESPN, which is available on cable packages and previous BCS games had always been broadcast on national networks.

The low ratings for the title game followed the trend of the other four BCS bowls as well, as the average rating of all BCS games dropped 10% from the 2010 season and 21% from the 2009 season. Again, this is likely a combination of the games now being broadcast on cable and college football fans who are tiring of the bowl system.

The good news is that with all the momentum that already seems to be in place for the BCS to add a plus-one system in the coming years, the drop in ratings may provide an additional kick in the pants. 

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Since: Jun 11, 2010
Posted on: January 11, 2012 4:42 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Here's a little ghost for the offering.  Being poor, I decided on cable internet instead of catv.  It was one or the other and I receive far more benefits from the internet.  Should you care to, you can always find these cable-broadcast games on the net.  That way, good ol' ESPN doesn't reap the profits it would like to gorge upon.  If you don't mind the occasional blip due to bit-rates, bunglies, gibarroozories, and other technical stuff I'll never understand, tune out your tv and use your pc.  Thus, the moguls get a tad of that ol' screwing back, their rating services don't know you're viewing, and you watch what you choose.  Just doing my job, ma'am.

Since: Apr 9, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 4:07 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Have you seen the Big boys in the SEC's OOC.  The only one that had a half way decent schedule was LSU.  Then SEC teams dont play every SEC team and OK St played more top 25 teams than Alabama did yet Bama gets the nod.  Stupid system

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 3:50 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

The national championship game has become almost anticlimactic, coming at the end of a string of meaningless games that flood the holiday period.  Bowl games used to be something special, something that you mostly did on New Year's Day for the big ones.  It was afternoon to midnight football involving the best teams in the best bowls.  I don't blame the BCS for the change as much as I do the feeling that mediocrity should be rewarded and that every team team which now have a break even season deserves a post season game.  As an alumnus of the University of Florida, I will state flatly that there is no way that the Gators deserved to go to a bowl game this year.   They just weren't that good.  Somehow the demand for money has taken precedence over common sense.  My feeling is that the NFL would risk losing viewers during January if they were to expand their playoff system beyond what it is now.  Given that you have multiplied the post-season mediocrity factor in college football, of course, major broadcast companies are going to look at their books and the ratings system and try to figure out what would be more profitable, showing repeats of their normal programming or bowl games that strike little or no interest.  Whether the BCS system is with us for another hundred years, with a plus-one or without, or if a change is made to a true playoff system, college football powers-that-be and the NCAA have got to cut back on the number of bowl games to make them special again.  Otherwise, ratings will continue to decline.

Since: Dec 4, 2011
Posted on: January 11, 2012 3:11 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

I posted this once but will post it one last time...

Insulting and childish...

To the bashers of Bama. If you are feeling cheated and frustrated by the system. I get that. I would have been have felt the same way if Bama had been left out, because I truly believe they are the best team in the country.
But taking that frustration and feeling of unfairness and directing it towards Bama is getting a bit tiring. The Bama sux, we would have dropped fifty on that Defense, Bama fans are inbreds, you are undeserving, etc, comments are insulting and childish. Please direct your frustration to the system, that is appropriate.
You want to rant about the system? Great, I will whole heartedly join you. But please stop the insulting and childish behaviour toward Bama and it's fans.That is also unfair and frustrating.

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:49 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

The truth is, it was the most watched thing that night, but then again, what else would you watch on a Monday night other than WWE Raw??? It was a meaningless game, straight and simple.  There was talk years ago that Ohio State and Michigan might play again in the BCS Championship, and it never happened because the game would only matter to the fans of those schools.  Even though it would've been more entertaining than the real game, it wouldn't have been right, unless you point to that game as the catalyst for the offensively-challenged SEC's rise to prominence in the BCS era.  Florida's offense was terrible, but Ohio State's high-powered offense had no answer for Florida's pass defense, especially without Ted Ginn Jr. in the lineup.  They were reluctant to run the ball, and couldn't stay on the field as a result.  But in any case, we have the NFL PLAYOFFS...ahem.  Things are looking on the up-and-up with Brady vs. Tebow, New Orleans heading west, the G-men vs. the Juggernauts, and the Baltimore D trying to cage Arian Foster!  Better luck next year, BCS.  This game will be forgotten by morning; it's very existence wiped out, so epic fail on you.

Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: January 11, 2012 2:24 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

There were a total of 35 Bowl games for 2011-2012. Seriously? There are 70 teams needed to fill all of these games and usually these games include teams with losing records. Nobody wants to see that. This is my take on the BCS system. I believe that after all the conference championships have been decided, those teams that qualify for a four-team playoff (And 1 playoff) either play the next weekend or get a week off to prepare/heal. Whatever works out better. The two winners obviously would be playing for the BCS Championship. I think they should cut the total # of Bowl games to 20 that include the 40 teams that qualify. Those teams will have roughly 2-3 weeks to prepare for their Bowl games. There is no need for teams to be waiting 3-4 weeks to play. That is ridiculous. They should play all of these Bowl games over the time span of a week on different television and cable networks between Christmas and New Year's Day(as previosly mentioned). Who really wants to watch the Beef O'Brady's Bowl, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl or the BBVA Compass Bowl? Does anyone besides the fans of those teams involved actually watch those inferior Bowl games?

Most college football fans didn't want to watch a rematch of LSU and 'Bama. The first game was so boring that most people expected the "Redux" to be the same. They are two great defensive powerhouses but lack any semblance of offense. Sure Richardson can pound the ball. We all know that. But the fact that there was only 1 touchdown over the course of 8 quarters of football is downright putrid. Plus, that TD didn't come until the last quarter. No one wants to spend 6-7 total hours just to watch FG kickers get plenty of work. I could find much better things to do if I want to waste that amount of time. This year really could have benefitted from the And 1 playoff. We would've seen LSU v. Stanford and Alabama v. Oklahoma State. Now that would have made for some exciting college football. I personally would have loved to see Weeden and Blackmon against the vaunted 'Bama defense. However, we will never know what might have been. Hopefully the poor ratings will bring about the necessary change this next year.

Since: Jul 18, 2011
Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:42 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

I am a big college football fan but by the time the BCS Championship Game is played I so sick of all of the meaningless bowl games that I have lost interest.  I think moving the game to a week after New Years Day is a big mistake as well.  People are back in the work mindset.  College students are heading back to school or have started school by the time of the game.  And, of course, so-called big games in any sport that involve teams from the same region is always a problem and that is compounded by the fact that Alabama and LSU alums tend to remain in the south so the teams don't have as national a following as some of the Pac 12 or Big 10 teams.  

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:13 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

" Really?  Is anyone surprised that a College Bowl game, played on a Monday night beginning a 8:30 eastern time more than a week after New Years's day on a cable only network is a ratings drag?  Come on....Don't let the networks off the hook for this kind of programming failure. "

Well said. This is the consequence of letting any industry's biggest players use their competitive advantages ruthlessly to run off all competitors. Is the American automobile really better off because it crushed Auburn and Cord and Duesenberg and Hudson and Nash and all of the other makers, great and small? H*ll, no; how could anybody who witnessed its recent trainwreck think otherwise?!

Our grandstanding Congress likes to browbeat semi-literate ballplayers with their pathetic show trials. God forbid they should actually grow a pair, spit in the eyes of the fat cats who figured they'd bribed them good with all of those campaign donations and 'gifts' to the Senator's wife's favorite charity or the President's future library or some such trifle, and for once do the People's business.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:58 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

" Its a stupid system, create a playoff... let the best team win! "  --Boltbacker83

What playoffs produce may well be the Champions that they're crowned. However, the notion that the best team necessarily won is specious. The Jerry Tarkanian-led team that lost its semi-final game to Kentucky, thereby spoiling a perfect season, is the best college basketball team EVER. Period. This is coming from a guy who will remain a fan of Magic Johnson's Michigan State Spartans until the day that I die. And I don't even think that THEY were the best team THAT year. I refuse to suspend my critical judgment because the crowd is surging in the public square. What is, is; what's not, isn't.

Since: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:55 am

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Really?  Is anyone surprised that a College Bowl game, played on a Monday night beginning a 8:30 eastern time more than a week after New Years's day on a cable only network is a ratings drag?  Come on.  All the political posturing about two SEC teams, rematches, non-conference champion whiners, and conspiracy theorists are ignorantly giving ESPN/ABC a pass on the Networks responsibility for not properly placing this product where it has historically has unparralelled success.  How can everyone ignore the obvious? There are too many bowls. The Bowl coverage is by and large monopolized.   The BCS has rendered almost all Bowl games insignificant except to the fan base of participating teams.  The broadcast times are inconvenient and unavailable to many.  The Bowl season drags on and on and on--well after the traditional playing dates and most can't compete with NFL products now filling the void created by network broadcast shuffling.  You want higher ratings.  Concentrate the Bowls during the week between Christmas and New Years Day.  Spread the coverage amongst the networks and let the networks promote the major match-ups to compete with one another.  Stop separating the national championship game from all the others by a whole week.  Don't let the networks off the hook for this kind of programming failure. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or