If the past two weeks are any indication, the Notre Dame/Alabama BCS National Championship Game should be a massive draw.
Saturday’s Alabama/Georgia SEC Championship Game drew a 9.8 final rating and 16.2 million viewers on CBS, up 34% in ratings and 35% in viewership from Louisiana State/Georgia last year (7.3, 12.0M), and up 63% and 61%, respectively, from Auburn/South Carolina in 2010 (6.0, 10.1M).
The game peaked with a 12.6 rating and 21.8 million viewers from 7:30-8:00 PM ET.
Alabama/Georgia ranks as the highest rated and most-viewed college football telecast of the season, surpassing the previous mark set by Notre Dame/Southern Cal on ABC the week before (9.4, 16.1M).
In addition, the game ranks as the second-best SEC Championship Game ever on CBS (dates back to 2001), trailing only Alabama/Florida in 2009 (11.1, 18.0M).
Overall, Alabama/Georgia ranks as the fifth-most viewed regular season college football game on any network over the past two decades. Of the top five games, three have involved Alabama — Louisiana State/Alabama last year (11.5, 20.0M), Alabama/Florida in ’09, and Saturday’s game.
The past two weeks have been a testament to the drawing power of both Notre Dame and Alabama. Excluding the NFL and the Olympics, Notre Dame/USC and Alabama/Georgia rank among the ten most-viewed sporting events of 2012.
(Saturday’s numbers from CBS Sports press release; top NCAA games of past two decades from ESPN Media Zone)