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Ohio State, ESPN Big Winners on First Week of CFB Season

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The 2015 college football season kicked off with several brand names involved in prime time games, and the networks were rewarded with a boost in early season ratings.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State opened their season with an impressive showing against Virginia Tech that also drew an impressive TV audience. The Buckeyes - who next play Nov. 21st against Michigan State - pulled away from the Hokies in the second half Monday night 42-24. They also pulled an impressive 10.5 million viewers to the ESPN telecast.

Only two regular season games last year (Notre Dame-Florida State 13.2 million & Alabama-Auburn 13.5 million) had better regular season numbers. As expected Ohio TV markets gave the game a tremendous boost. 43% of all TV households in Columbus were tuned in Monday night.  Cleveland had 29% of all TV households watching and Dayton had 28%.

The Alabama-Wisconsin contest on ABC Saturday night was next with 8 million viewers.

Notre Dame's clubbing of the Baby Bevo's pulled in 4.1 million viewers, almost doubling the audiences for the last three Notre Dame opening games on NBC. Austin led the way with 16% of all TV's in the market tuned in to the start of the Malik Zaire for Heisman campaign. The game was easily the most watched contest involving a Big 12 team on opening week, so at least Texas has that going for it.

3.3 million watched the Mormon Hail Mary as BYU stunned Nebraska on ABC. CBS had 4.2 million tune in to watch Auburn piss off their fans by beating Louisville while failing to cover the spread 31-24.

ESPN enjoyed an opening week of games.

Thursday night South Carolina's sloppy survival over North Carolina had 3.3 million viewers, while TCU's struggle with Minnesota garnered 2.6 million TV spectators.

The Friday night doubleheader had 2 million gawkers gazing at Baylor's disassembling of SMU. The Washington - Boise State contest drew 2.1 TV viewers.

Northwestern's upset of Stanford pulled in 3.4 watchers for ESPN, while 2.5 million tuned into A&M's win over Arizona State. 1.9 million watched Temple stuff Penn State.

This coming week's schedule isn't as promising...

Houston plays at Louisville at 11:00 a.m. in the "Are You Sure You Want Two Teams in the Big 12 Who Play on Fox Regional Networks Bowl?

Oklahoma is at Tennessee on ESPN at 5:00 p.m.

Oregon is at Michigan State at 7:00 p.m. on ABC - the JV contest (Oregon State at Michigan) is also on ABC at 11:00 am.

Oh, almost forgot. For those of you who can't get a ticket, the Rice-Texas game is on the Longhorn Network at 7:00 pm