The Colorado Buffaloes drew a massive audience for the fourth week in a row.
Colorado’s 42-6 drubbing by the Oregon Ducks on ABC Saturday drew a whopping 10.03 million viewers in the afternoon window, good for the second-most-watched game of the 2023 college football season. However, despite the huge audience, the game didn’t win the week. Ohio State’s win over Notre Dame in primetime averaged 10.5 million viewers on NBC, Peacock, and NBC’s digital platforms.
Viewership for Colorado has increased each week, with the low mark for the Buffaloes coming in Week 1’s win over TCU (7.26 million viewers on Fox). It seems likely that the streak will end in Week 5 following Oregon’s smashing of the Buffaloes. Colorado will host USC in Fox’s Big Noon window, an appealing game without much competition, but we’ll see how much of the luster is off the Buffs following the Oregon game.
The third-best game on Saturday came in the noon window, but it wasn’t Fox’s Big Noon window. Florida State’s win over Clemson on ABC averaged 6.71 million viewers, the network’s second-straight win at noon.
Faced with stiff competition, a CBS doubleheader disappointed. Alabama’s win over Ole Miss averaged 4.61 million viewers in the afternoon, and Penn State’s dominant win over Iowa in primetime averaged 2.75 million viewers.
Overall, it wasn’t a great day for Fox. The Big Noon window, featuring Oklahoma’s win over Cincinnati, averaged just 2.17 million viewers. In the afternoon, Utah’s win over UCLA averaged just 1.32 million. Viewership slightly ticked up in primetime, with Washington State’s win over Oregon State averaging 1.48 million viewers. That was a disappointing fifth in the primetime window, behind not just NBC and CBS, but also ABC (Texas-Baylor, 2.63 million) and ESPN (Arkansas-LSU, 2.44 million). Fox did win a lightly contested late-night window, as USC’s win over Arizona State averaged a network-high 2.63 million viewers.
Week 5 looks like a mostly disappointing slate on paper. There are just four ranked vs. ranked matchups on the schedule, and one (Utah vs. Oregon State) will air at 9 p.m. Friday on FS1. As discussed, USC-Colorado will have most of the buzz and attention going into the week, and we’ll see if it can hit the viewership heights of Colorado’s first four games of the season.