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ESPN Strikes Ratings Gold With College, NFL Football

Last weekend offered further proof that football is the sport of choice among fans, and ESPN is its top promoter. The WWL set cable viewing records for both the USC-Ohio State game and Monday Night Football.

The Saturday night telecast of the Trojan's 18-15 win over the Buckeyes was the network's most-viewed college football game ever. Over 10.5 million viewers tuned into the game.

USC's win over Ohio State helped ESPN become the number one TV network for the night -- cable or broadcast.

It wasn't just the number of eyeballs that were glued to the set that made the WWL overjoyed. Their success over all the various platforms of new media that night was also impressive. The game was simulcast of and it helped the website record the most total hours of viewing ever on the broadband network.

ON, the College Football section logged more than 24 million page views.

ABC had a winner as well with the Michigan win over Notre Dame grabbing a 5.2 rating with over 8.3 million viewers.

The Wolverines 38-34 last minute win over Notre Dame was the highest-rated college football game for ABC since last years Texas-OU contest.

While the early returns on college football for both ABC and ESPN show dramatic increases from last year, the NFL still remains the true National Pastime.

The Monday Night Football doubleheader on ESPN produced the two biggest cable television audiences of the year, helping the WWL again to finish Monday night as the #1 rated network, cable or broadcast.

On Monday night, Tom Brady delivered a last-second win for the Patriots and over 14 million viewers for ESPN.

New England's dramatic 25-24 win over the Buffalo Bills was watched by the largest audience for any program on cable TV for 2009. Just over 14 million viewers tuned in.

That game was followed by San Diego vs. Oakland, which produced the second-largest cable TV audience of the year -- over 11.9 million viewers.

Back on the college front, while NBC watched with dismay as their network "team," which has seen ratings plummet over the past couple of years, finally helped to produce boffo ratings numbers for ABC, they took solace in that coming soon to the Peacock Network will be USC at Notre Dame.