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Cause and Effect


The TV ratings for the regular season of college football were generally down across the board.


Penn State
Notre Dame

These collegiate "brand names" were all Missing In Action from the final regular season AP Top 25 Poll.

Those teams were a combined 41-32 during the regular season and none of the six even show up in the "others receiving votes," category.

ABC took a hit with their Saturday Night Game of the Week losing almost 10% of its audience from 2009. The games in the early part of the season held up well compared to last year. Texas 24-14 win over Texas Tech on Sept. 18th, was shown to 54% of the country, while Michigan State's 34-31 overtime win over Notre Dame was seen by the other 46% of the nation, and the regional broadcasts averaged 7.5 million viewers.

This years Texas-OU contest was ABC's highest-rated daytime game with just under 7 million viewers.

The Big 12 Championship game between OU and Nebraska drew 8.9 million viewers -- almost 3 million fewer than watched the Texas-Nebraska contest in 2009.

The Notre Dame Network aka as NBC saw the Fighting Irish ratings go down 12% for the season. Even CBS, with the SEC, saw its ratings drop 4.5% from 2009.

ESPN, thanks to some attractive early season games, held steady from the previous year. The highest-rated game on ESPN is also indicative of how many of the top programs were down this year. Boise State's win over Virginia Tech back on September 6th, was the most-watched game on ESPN with just under 10 million viewers. The game is the second-most viewed college football telecast ever on ESPN, behind only USC/Ohio State last September (10.586 million).

CBS was saved by fact that six of the 10 most-viewed college games for the regular season involved either Alabama or Auburn.

Auburn's thrilling come-from-behind win over Alabama was the most-watched college game of the regular season with over 12.5 million viewers.

The one network to see its audience increase was the Versus Network, but it was still the lowest rated, least-viewed college football broadcaster of the season. The cable network only averaged 400,000 for each of its 19 college football telecasts, and that's with 1.9 viewers tuning in to watch the Oregon-California matchup. The game drew the largest college football audience in Versus history.

Just like every other college football fan this off-season, network executives are as interested, if not more so to see who Mack Brown hires as his coordinators, how USC survives probation, just how much longer is JoePa going to coach, and how the Will Muschamp Era at Florida starts out.