Last night's BCS National Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame drew a 15.7 overnight rating, up 14% from Alabama-LSU last year.
Blow-out or not, BCS title best cable overnight since 2011 BCS, 15.7, and up 14% over 2012 game.Overall BCS up too.— Mike Soltys (@espnmikes) January 8, 2013
Despite the huge predictions many had coming into the game (including myself, which look really bad right now), the uncompetitive nature of the game likely drove fans away in droves, and the 15.7 overnight is lower than all of the games from 2009 to 2011, ranking ahead of just last year's game and 2008's LSU-Ohio State matchup. However, if that overnight rating does hold up, the BCS title game will be the highest rated show on cable since the 2011 BCS title game when it moved from ABC to ESPN (after previously being on both ABC and Fox).
The college football season ended with a sense of what might have been for ESPN instead of a party. Despite what looks like a gaudy rating, ESPN has to be disappointed by this number. Notre Dame-USC from November drew a 10.0 rating for ESPN, and the Alabama-Georgia SEC Championship game drew the same number for CBS in December. Putting Notre Dame and Alabama on the same field probably gave ESPN executives visions of record breaking numbers, yet the end product was a 21-0 Crimson Tide lead after 15:04 and a 28-0 haltime lead that would turn into 35-0 before the Fighting Irish put points on the board.
If there was any semblance of competition in this game, the rating probably would have been much, much higher. After TJ Yeldon punched the ball into the end zone to kick off the second quarter, I wonder how many TVs were flipped off, not just by the rabid Notre Dame fans, but by the casual fans who wanted to see a competitive game.