College Football TV Ratings

I plan on updating this page with the college football TV ratings over the course of the entire season.

SEC vs Big Ten TV Ratings

Week 7 TV Ratings

Week 6 TV Ratings

Week 5 TV Ratings

Week 4 TV Ratings

Week 3 TV Ratings

Week 2 TV Ratings

Week 1 TV Ratings

SEC vs Big Ten

This will be updated as the season progress all the way through the BCS National Championship Game.

Week 7 TV Ratings

During week 7 of the college football regular season the SEC had four major games and the Big Ten had three. One would imagine the SEC would gather more viewers simply because they had one more spotlight game. The two biggest games of the weekend were SEC matchups with Texas A&M vs Ole Miss ranking first and Florida vs LSU coming in second. The Big Ten did have a good showing for the Michigan vs Penn State game but it was not enough to keep up with the SEC. Here are the total TV viewers year to date:

SEC – 125,524,000
Big Ten – 67,205,000

It looks as if the SEC is going to start pulling away from here on out. The Big Ten is only going to have a handful of showcase games and teams like Nebraska, Purdue, Indiana and Minnesota are not going to help ratings in any way. The Big Ten needs Ohio State to finish the season undefeated to have any chance of having a strong TV ratings push into the end of the season. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Week 6 TV Ratings

Week 6 was a huge week for the Big Ten and a lackluster week for the SEC. The SEC has not had any huge matchups in a few weeks now as the 3:30 CBS Sports game on October 5th, 2013 was Georgia vs Tennessee. I think most of us can agree that Tennessee has not been the same team over the last decade so their ratings just aren’t as high. The game was actually a great game but the fact that Tennessee has barely been a bowl team over the last few years makes fans tune in to other games.

Overall, this was not the most popular weekend to watch college football. The most watched game was Ohio State vs Northwestern and it received a rating of 4.4 and it was the only game rated over 4.0 the entire weekend. That said, it was a good weekend for the Big Ten to slightly close the game with the SEC. Through the first six weeks of the season here is how we stand when it comes to total TV viewers:

SEC – 109,824,000
Big Ten – 58,747,000

It is hard to believe that it only took the SEC six weeks to break 100 million TV viewers. The Big Ten has quite a bit of work to do to get to this number before week 10 or week 11. It seems quite obvious they will break 100 million total viewers but will the Big Ten garner even half the number of viewers of the SEC? It will be greatly determined by how Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and Michigan State play from here on out. Stay tuned to see how the ratings unfold.

Week 5 TV Ratings

In a week when the Big Ten had a huge game it was still the SEC that saw the ratings numbers shine their way. Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musburger called the Ohio State vs Wisconsin game in the Horseshoe on Saturday Night Football on ABC but that game still could not beat out the LSU vs Georgia game that was on CBS Sports at 3:30 pm. While the LSU vs Georgia game was a very popular game to watch it will not be one of the top five SEC games of the year. This makes me believe the SEC is going to run away with the ratings from here on out. Here are the numbers through five weeks of the college football season:

SEC – 99,481,000
Big Ten – 44,696,000

The SEC is quickly approaching 100 million total viewers for the season. This is a remarkable number seeing as the Big Ten hasn’t even reached 50 million total viewers. As the SEC season continues to heat up with important Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M games it will be the case that the gap continues to widen. There is no argument to be made where the big time money is going in college football right now.

Week 4 TV Ratings

Week 4 was a very interesting week as Alabama was in action but saw a small audience when compared to their bigger games. Even though Nick Saban was going against former offensive coordinator Jim Mcelwain it was still only watched by 2.78 million people. Mind you, this would be one of the biggest games of the year for most college football programs but this is a small number of Alabama. During week 4 viewers per game were actually higher for the Big Ten than the SEC. The SEC still took the crown for most viewers with almost 13.5 million.

One of the biggest surprised to me was the Auburn vs LSU game with only 3.8 million viewers. In my opinion, CBS would have been smart to broadcast that game rather than the Tennessee vs Florida game. Both Tennessee and Florida have seen a downturn in their programs while LSU and Auburn have won national championships in the last decade. I would be interested to see the number if the LSU vs Auburn game was on at 3:30 on CBS rather than 7:45 on ESPN against the Kansas State vs Texas game.

Speaking of which, is Texas going to turn it around and start picking up TV ratings the way they used to? There are already rumblings that Mack Brown could be out in Austin. If the Longhorns do not put together a championship caliber team fans are not going to be happy. Texas loves their football and they have the best recruiting in the country. There is no reason they should not be getting the ratings of some of the SEC teams right now. Here are the totals through week 4:

SEC – 81,161,000
Big Ten – 36,985,000

The SEC continues to extend their lead over the Big Ten. They are so fan ahead of the Big Ten I find no reason to even compare the PAC-12, Big 12 or ACC. The ACC has truly struggled in football over the last few years so it might be time to start thinking about college basketball season.

Week 3 TV Ratings

There is no argument to be made when it comes to domination of the ratings this week. The Alabama at Texas A&M game gathers 13.6 million viewers in the first CBS Sports game of the year. This is the first time we were able to listen to Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson and they made it memorable. The game in College Station was a rematch of the only loss the Crimson Tide suffered last year. The TV ratings and viewership for this game is enormous. It might end up being the most watched game of the year.

This weekend helped to increase the lead the SEC has when compared to the Big Ten. The up to date yearly numbers are below (through three weeks):

SEC – 67,678,000
Big Ten – 27,777,000

Through the first three weeks of the 2013 college football season almost 39 million more fans have tuned into SEC games than Big Ten games. Remember that the more important Big Ten conference games do not happen until late in the season but it looks as if they are digging themselves a huge hole early on. The SEC will have some weaker games in the coming weeks so it will be interesting to see if the Big Ten can catch up.

Week 2 TV Ratings

There are some very interesting dynamics that come into play this week compared to last. First of all, the Big Ten Conference had more overall viewers this week with 13,859,000 and more viewers per game at 3,464,750. The Notre Dame vs Michigan game was huge for the Big Ten conference with 8.65 million viewers. Something interesting to note about the SEC is the noon ESPN game between Florida and Miami gathered 4.6 million viewers. This is the second week in a row the noon ESPN game is an SEC game that received over 4 million TV sets. I would imagine this number is going to tumble when ESPN rolls out Big Ten and ACC games at noon. Only time will tell.

Total viewers through the first two weeks of the season:

SEC – 44,307,000
Big Ten – 17,445,000

While the Big Ten won the week they are still almost 27 million viewers behind through the first two weeks of the season. Part of the reason the SEC numbers were down in the second week was an absence of Alabama. The defending national champion was off Week 2 as they prepare for the Texas A&M Aggies which should be a huge number next week. In fact, this redemption game might be the highest TV rating of the season.

The South Carolina vs Georgia game had 7.05 million viewers with a 4:30 kickoff time on ESPN. I wonder what the rating would have been if it had been a CBS Sports game at a 3:30 kick? We will never know. The CBS SEC game of the week next week will get over 10 million viewers. I promise.

Week 1 TV Ratings

Below please find all of the network TV games for the first week of the college football season. One of the numbers that jumps out at me is the total viewers based on conference. The SEC had 31,672,000 total viewers versus 3,586,000 Big Ten viewers. To be fair, the SEC had eight games on national TV compared to just four games from the B1G conference. This stat should tell you all you need to know – average viewers per game:

SEC – 3,959,000
Big Ten – 896,500

I guess the SEC just had better games in week 1? Only time will tell as we see what happens during week 2 of the regular season. I have a sneaky suspicion we will see the SEC dominate ratings over the course of the entire college football season.

Thursday night football is going to be a very hot topic as the season progresses. This is one of the only Thursday nights in which college football will have the entire football audience. The NFL will kick off Thursday night football next week and it will be interesting to see how ESPN adjusts in terms of promotion and spending time on the product. I have noticed that ESPN has pushed more popular SEC and ABC games to Saturday so they will have a higher rating.

I am a diehard college football fan so I will be watching ESPN Thursday night football. That said, I know many football fans that feel as if the NFL is a far superior product. They would rather watch a subpar NFL game rather than an SEC football game. I am the exact opposite. I will watch MAC games or even old school Big East games before I will watch a bad NFL game. For some reason I am just attracted to the way college football is played.

In the next few weeks I would expect Thursday Night college football ratings to drop off. This will especially be true next week when the NFL kicks off the regular season. In all reality, the Thursday night slate of college football games in 2013 are not that impressive. We are not going to see powerhouses that are vying for a national championship. One game that will be very interesting is the Thursday night Stanford vs Oregon game later in the year. That might be the highest rated Thursday night game and part of that is because it will be kicking off at 9:00 pm on the east coast. Some feel as if that game will determine who will be playing for the national championship this year.

I would love to hear your thoughts on college football TV ratings. If you are a diehard fan of a specific team did your team do as well in the ratings as you would expect? Is the SEC always going to be the most dominant team as far as total viewers? Get the conversation started below.


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