Saturday afternoon's SEC Championship Game showdown between Alabama and Georgia pulled a 10.0 overnight rating, second only to the USC-Notre Dame game from two weeks ago for college football games this season. But it's not that the game drew massive ratings that was a surprise: it's the ratings of the other conference championship games this past weekend that were the surprise.
Wisconsin's blowout win over Nebraska on Fox on Saturday night in the Big Ten Championship Game drew a 2.5 rating, down 42% from Wisconsin and Michigan State's exciting game last season. It's also much lower than Big Ten conference games from this season. OSU-MIchigan pulled a huge 5.3 rating a couple weeks ago, but even an OSU-Michigan State game from September earned a 3.6 overnight rating. Of course, the extreme nature of Wisconsin's blowout played a significant factor in the huge decrease.
Stanford and UCLA's matchup in the Pac-12 Championship Game was slightly up (3.3 in 2012, 3.2 in 2011) from 2011's Oregon-UCLA matchup. The second straight Stanford-UCLA game seemingly had no effect on ratings either, with the rating for the championship game nearly doubling the 1.7 the prior Saturday night's UCLA-Stanford game drew.
Over on ESPN, there was a bloodbath in the works. The ACC Championship Game between Florida State and Georgia Tech on ESPN drew a pathetic 1.4 overnight, a record low and down double digits from both 2011 (1.7, down 18%) and 2010 (2.0, down 30%). The matchup finished third in its primetime timeslot behind the Texas and Kansas State on ABC and Big Ten Championship Game on Fox.
Results were mixed in mid-major land, as the Conference USA Championship Game between Tulsa and UCF falling 84% down to just 0.5 from a fantastic 3.1 last season (Houston vs Southern Miss). However, the MAC Championship Game on Friday night between Northern Illinois and Kent State (an awesome game, by the way) drew a 0.9, up 50% from the 0.6 it drew in 2011.
What can you glean from this? The Alabama-Notre Dame BCS Championship Game might have the best ratings ever for a BCS game. Each team has drawn insane ratings going into the title game, and considering the history of both programs, casual fans are going to get drawn in by the bucketload. As for the rest of the BCS games…well, they can't exactly have a more disappointing slate of ratings than they did last season, can they?