The NFL's Wildcard Weekend saw some great games, and in turn, some pretty solid ratings. FOX's coverage of the Eagles-Vikings game on Sunday garnered the largest set of numbers with a 19.9 overnight Neilsen number (up 7% from last year's Titans-Chargers on CBS), and the Chargers victory over the Colts brought in an 18.3 for NBC (up 9.6% over the Jags-Steelers game on the same network).
The other two contests, Falcons-Cards and Ravens-Dolphins, didn't fair so well, but they still pulled in a 14.3 and 17.0 for NBC and CBS respectively. Only the Atlanta-Arizona game saw a significant drop (-7.1%) over last year's contest in the same time slot (Skins-Seahawks on NBC). While those tallies are certainly welcomed by the NFL, the amateur circuit of Bowl Games isn't fairing nearly as well. In fact, Bowl Game ratings are downright dreadful in some cases.
As far as BCS games go, only ABC's airing of the Rose Bowl (12.6) has gained over last year, but the 2008 "Grandaddy of Them All" clocked in as third worst game since the Rose Bowl joined in the BCS. The Sugar Bowl only received an 8.5, and the Orange Bowl had it's worst ratings ever with a pathetic 6.1, passing 2007's matchup between Wake Forest and Louisville that came in just under 7.0.
With all of these ratings coming in lower and each year, you have to think about how many people would have watched the Orange Bowl if it was in fact a Playoff Game, and not just a crappy BCS matchup. The answer is obviously more, but for some reason, College Football and the BCS still have the wool pulled over their eyes when it comes to this topic.
(Numbers via SBD)