Last weekend's matchup between Alabama and Texas A&M is in the rearview mirror, and the Crimson Tide are still on top of the world after the clash. CBS is also on top of the world, drawing an 8.5 final rating and picking up 13.6 million viewers. No regular season afternoon game on any network has drawn numbers that high since 2006's Ohio State-Michigan game when both teams were undefeated and at the top of the polls. That game was the final one for the Buckeyes before Florida destroyed them in the BCS Championship Game, ushering in the current era of SEC dominance.
Only three primetime games over the last two seasons outdrew the game: Notre Dame-USC on ESPN in 2012 (9.4 rating and 16.1 million viewers), the 2012 SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia on CBS (9.8 rating, 16.2 million viewers), and the first battle between undefeated LSU and undefeated Alabama in 2011 (11.5 rating, and a mind-boggling 20 million viewers).
The vast majority of people watching college football were watching that game in the afternoon, as Tennessee-Oregon and Nevada-Florida State each drew ratings and viewership numbers that paled in comparison (2.0 and 3.2 million for the former, 0.7 and 1.1 million for the latter). The magic likely won't translate to this weekend, as CBS aired Tennessee and Florida in the afternoon spot, a much less attractive matchup to the masses considering the struggles of the Volunteers over the past couple of seasons. But when the final ratings come out for this weekend, is any network really going to do well? Fox might end up as the big winner, thanks to their airing of the only matchup between ranked teams (Arizona State and Stanford), though ESPN and ABC's telecasts involving Texas and Michigan might give their ratings a run for their money.
UPDATE: Tennessee-Florida on Saturday drew a 3.0 overnight and seven million viewers, much lower than the Alabama-A&M game.