Sep 21, 2019; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back J.R. Reed (20) intercepts a pass intended for Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Chris Finke (10) during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

College football ratings are a bit different from their NFL counterparts; the matchups vary wildly not just from year-to-year but from week-to-week, and there’s so much more inventory that the numbers are sometimes tough to place in context.

When you can simply say a game was the top-rated game of the season so far, though, it’s pretty easy to grasp, and that’s exactly what Notre Dame-Georgia was on CBS this Saturday. Maybe the nation simply can’t get enough of watching Notre Dame lose, but it was a tight contest until later in the fourth quarter, with the Bulldogs holding on to win 23-17. People definitely watched, too; the overnight rating finished at 6.2.

From Sports Media Watch, the numbers are down slightly relative to other CBS primetime windows, though that’s with very good reason: the other examples all featured LSU-Alabama games.

The Bulldogs’ win, which peaked at a 6.9 from 10:30-11 PM ET and from 11:30 to the conclusion, delivered the highest September college football overnight on CBS since 2013 (Alabama-Texas A&M: 9.0).

Compared to last year’s primetime SEC game on CBS, Alabama-LSU in week ten, overnights fell 7% from a 6.7. The 6.2 ranks sixth out of the past nine primetime SEC games on CBS (dating back to 2011). Each of the other eight pit LSU against Alabama.

When compared to other Notre Dame games, though, the 6.2 seems a lot stronger:

Versus previous top ten matchups involving Notre Dame, overnights increased 138% from Stanford-Notre Dame on NBC last year (2.6) and 38% from Notre Dame-Miami on ABC in 2017 (4.5). Overnights also increased 107% from Georgia-Notre Dame on NBC two years ago (3.0).

Elsewhere, FOX’s Big Noon Saturday rebranding and push has seemingly helped their noon window, thanks in part to Wisconsin’s 35-14 drubbing of Michigan posting a 3.5 overnight rating, FOX’s best mark of the year.

Obviously it’d be a much bigger story if a network put this many resources into a new featured window and it wasn’t massively increasing viewership, but this is still very solid for FOX, and serves as at least some confirmation that the strategy is working so far.

[Sports Media Watch]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.