One of the biggest upsets of the college football season gave ABC strong numbers Saturday night, but could not match last year.
The Stanford/Oregon “Saturday Night Football” game drew a 5.1 final rating and 8.3 million viewers on ABC, down 16% in ratings and 14% in viewership from regional action featuring Oregon/Southern Cal last year (6.1, 9.7M), but up 28% and 29%, respectively, from coverage featuring Nebraska/Texas A&M in 2010 (4.0, 6.5M).
Though down from last year, the game ranks as the fourth-highest rated of the season on any network. Only Alabama/Louisiana State in week ten (6.8), Texas A&M/Alabama in week eleven (6.1), and Notre Dame/Oklahoma in week nine (5.2) earned better numbers.
Stiffer competition may be at least partly to blame for the lower numbers. Stanford’s upset over #2 Oregon aired directly opposite Baylor’s blowout of #1 Kansas State on ESPN (2.1, 3.3M).
It should also be pointed out that last year’s regional telecast on ABC included two upsets — Southern Cal over Oregon and Baylor over Oklahoma.
Earlier Saturday, ABC drew a 3.1 and 4.9 million viewers for regional action featuring Ohio State/Wisconsin — down 31% in ratings and 28% in viewership from coverage featuring Penn State/Ohio State last year (4.5, 6.8M), and down 26% in both measures from coverage featuring Ohio State/Iowa in 2010 (4.2, 6.6M).
(Saturday’s numbers from ESPN Media Zone)