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BCS Rankings -- Blowouts Lead to Lower TV Ratings

Four out of five games are blowouts. Non-BCS representative Hawaii fails to make the trip to the mainland. The Rose Bowl gets its coveted Pac 10/Big 10 matchup. The Sugar Bowl holds on to its SEC connection. Ohio State takes another beating in the championship game. And Fox watches its BCS ratings erode a little more.

Are we having fun yet BCS?

Over 21 million tuned in for at least part of the LSU destruction of Ohio State, giving Fox a 14.4 rating/22 share. Nice enough numbers, but they are almost 18% down from last years contest. Compare those to the BCS standard bearer -- the USC-Texas 2006 BCS championship game. The Vince Young Show pulled a 21.7 rating, which means over 7 million more viewers watched that game that the LSU-Ohio State game last night.

As for the other BCS games, all but the Orange Bowl saw declines from 2007.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: 7.0 rating/12 share 11.7 million viewers (down over 21% from 2007 LSU-Notre Dame Sugar Bowl)

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: 7.7 rating/13 share 12.1 million viewers (down almost 9% from 2007 OU-Boise State Fiesta Bowl)

FedEx Orange Bowl: 7.4 rating/12 share 11.9 million viewers (up almost 10% from 2007 Wake Forest-Louisville Orange Bowl)

The Rose Bowl also took a hit, as this years game pulled a 12 rating compared to the 14 rating for the 2007 USC-Michigan matchup.

Fox did win the highly desired 18-49 age demo every night with their BCS games.

Easily the highest rated non-BCS game this year was the Capital One Bowl. The Lloyd Carr Farewell Tour win over Florida turned in a whopping 9.9 rating, up over 71% over last years game. Compare that with the Missouri-Arkansas Cotton Bowl that pulled a 3.4.

ESPN management celebrates it's ratings win during "Capital One Bowl Week."

ESPN used its "Capital One Bowl Week" to dominate the cable ratings for the week of Dec. 30th.

The Holiday Bowl was the 2nd highest-rated cable show that week. The Texas win over Arizona State pulled in over 5.7 million viewers. There were five other ESPN bowl telecasts in the Cable Top 20. Throw in the College Football Studio Show and the four letter network had 7 of cable's Top 20 shows for that week, thanks to the bowl system.

#4 Liberty Bowl: UCF vs Mississippi State 5.4 million viewers

#7 Champs Sports Bowl: Boston College vs Michigan State 4.6 million viewers

#8 Meineke Car Care Bowl: Wake Forest vs. UConn 4.6 million viewers

#9 Emerald Bowl: Oregon State vs. Maryland 4.5 million viewers

#19 Alamo Bowl: Penn State vs. Texas A&M 3.8 million viewers

Last year's Alamo Bowl between Texas and Iowa pulled over 7 million viewers and is the most-watched bowl game in ESPN history. Part of this year's decline in ratings can be attributed to the New England-N.Y. Giants game being telecast by three different networks in the same time slot.

Thanks to BCS ratings numbers like this year, we may actually be closer to a "plus 1" format. If the BCS bowls continue to fight to keep their territory sacred (Rose Bowl -Pac 10-/Big 10, Sugar Bowl - SEC) and we get more and more lousy games, TV will demand a better inventory for its money.

And that is what this is all about.