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College Football TV Ratings Week: Big Win for ABC/ESPN

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Thanks to four of the biggest names in the game (Texas/Notre Dame & Alabama/USC) ABC dominated the media landscape in college football.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Texas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The final numbers are in, and as expected, the Longhorns 2 OT win over Notre Dame set a high bar for the rest of the college football to meet during the regular season.

Sunday’s game drew 10,910,000 viewers to ABC. The live stream coverage of the game averaged another 194,000 viewers each minute of the contest, making its 11.1 million total viewers on ABC and the ESPN live stream, the highest viewership for a college football kickoff weekend game ever across all networks. Best of all, viewership peaked (13.5 million) during the 4th quarter and overtimes.

In 2015, two regular season games passed 11 million viewers – Alabama-LSU and Michigan State-Ohio State.

ABC/ESPN had been touting the weekend as perhaps the best slate of opening week games ever, and it paid off for the networks. The Alabama blowout of USC pulled in 7,400,000 viewers.

Here is a day-by-day breakout:

  • Thursday, Sept 1
  • South Carolina-Vanderbilt 1,940,000 ESPN

  • Friday Sept 2
  • Kansas State-Stanford 1,360,000 FS1
  • Colorado-Colorado State 1,070,000 ESPN

  • Saturday Sept. 3
  • Alabama-USC 7,940,000 ABC
  • LSU-Wisconsin 7,830,000 ABC
  • Oklahoma-Houston 6,300,000 ABC
  • Clemson-Auburn 4,740,000 ESPN
  • UNC-Georgia 3,520,000 ESPN
  • UCLA-Texas A&M 3,110,000 CBS
  • Hawaii-Michigan 2,140,000 ESPN

  • Sunday Sept. 4
  • Notre Dame-Texas 10,895,000 ABC

Monday Sept. 5

  • Ole Miss-Florida State 8,450,000 ESPN

Texas A&M’s overtime win over UCLA was the lowest rated in CBS’s first SEC broadcast of a season since at least 2007.

Texas next chance to appear on national TV will be in two weeks at Cal. ESPN will slot Texas-Cal and BYU-UCLA on ESPN or ESPN2. They haven’t announced which games gets the mother ship, but barring a major upset I assume Texas will make ESPN