For the first time since Week 2, the most-watched game of the week came on Fox.
The network’s broadcast of Ohio State-Penn State drew 8.273 million viewers, making it the fourth most-watched game of the season and the second most-watched game in Fox’s Big Noon package this year. The window was up from last week (Iowa-Ohio State, 4.38 million), but down from last year (Michigan-Michigan State, 9.29 million).
CBS won their traditional afternoon window, drawing 5.620 million for Florida-Georgia. That’s up from last week (Ole Miss-LSU, 3.86 million) and down from last year (6.12 million for the same Florida-Georgia matchup).
In primetime, ABC took top honors with their Michigan State-Michigan broadcast averaging 5.583 million. That’s up from last week (Minnesota-Penn State, 3.54 million) and down from last year (Penn State-Ohio State, 7.05 million).
Heading through the rest of the schedule, noon was a poor window outside of Fox. ABC drew 2.337 million for Notre Dame-Syracuse, down from both last week (Syracuse-Clemson, 4.75 million) and last year (Texas-Baylor, 2.395 million). 1.507 million watched TCU-West Virginia on ESPN, up from last week (Cincinnati-SMU, 682,000) and down from last year (Iowa-Wisconsin, 1.83 million). FS1 averaged 711.000 for Oklahoma-Iowa State, with no comparable game either last week or last year. USF-Houston drew just 131,000 on ESPN, down from both last week (Kansas-Baylor, 744,000) and last year (Cincinnati-Tulane, 580,000).
Later in the afternoon, Oklahoma State-Kansas State drew 3.378 million viewers on Fox, up a tick from last week (UCLA-Oregon, 3.34 million) and last year (Colorado-Oregon, 2.67 million). Illinois-Nebraska picked up 2.488 million on ABC, down from last week (Texas-Oklahoma State, 4.46 million) and up from last year (Texas Tech-Oklahoma, 2.37 million). Cincinnati-UCF averaged 1.059 million on ESPN, up from last week (Purdue-Wisconsin, 1.01 million) and down from last year (Florida State-Clemson, 1.88 million). Oregon-Cal averaged 738,000 on FS1, up from last week (West Virginia-Texas Tech, 542,000) and last year (Washington State-Arizona State, 337,000). 483,000 watched Northwestern-Iowa on ESPN2, up from last week (Memphis-Tulane, 168,000) and down from last year (Purdue-Nebraska, 1.295 million). Kicking off at 2:30 PM ET, Rutgers-Minnesota drew 302,000 on BTN, up from last year (Northwestern-Maryland, 252,000 for a 3:30 PM kickoff) and down from last year (Minnesota-Northwestern, 401,000 for a 3:30 PM kickoff).
On ESPN in primetime, Kentucky-Tennessee averaged 4.042 million viewers, up from both last week (Mississippi State-Alabama, 3.59 million over both ESPN and ESPN2) and last year (Ole Miss-Auburn, 2.53 million). Baylor-Texas Tech averaged 572,000 on ESPN2, with a simulcast airing last week and up from last year (SMU-Houston, 332,000). FS1’s broadcast of Colorado State-Boise State averaged 269.000 viewers, down from both last week (Kansas State-TCU, 1.53 million) and last year (Kansas-Oklahoma State, 344,000).
Finally in the late night window, ESPN averaged 1.263 million for Stanford-UCLA, down from last week (Washington-Cal, 1.32 million) and up from last year (UCLA-Utah, 829,000). FS1 drew 219,000 for San Diego State-Fresno State, with no comparable game last week (a Utah State-Wyoming game on FS2 averaged 109,000) and down from last year (Washington-Stanford, 402,000).
This week, I feel like we’re guaranteed a new most-watched game of the year with the incredible Tennessee-Georgia game lined up on CBS. Alabama-LSU also should deliver a strong number in primetime on ESPN.