NCAA Bowls: Capital One Bowl Up, Outback Down, After Network Swap

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Moving back from cable to broadcast led to a big jump for the Capital One Bowl.

The Georgia/Nebraska Capital One Bowl drew a 6.6 final rating and 11.0 million viewers on ABC Tuesday afternoon, according to Nielsen fast-nationals — up 128% in ratings and 144% in viewership from South Carolina/Nebraska on ESPN last year (2.9, 4.5M), and up 78% and 81%, respectively, from Alabama/Michigan State on ESPN in 2011 (3.7, 6.0M).

The game ranks as the highest rated and most-viewed Capital One Bowl since Penn State/Louisiana State in 2010, the last time the game aired on ABC (6.8, 11.6M).

Over on ESPN, the South Carolina/Michigan Outback Bowl earned a 4.3 and 7.6 million viewers — down 16% in ratings and 7% in viewership from Michigan State/Georgia on ABC last year (5.1, 8.1M), and down 39% in both measures from Florida/Penn State on ABC in 2011 (7.1, 12.4M).

The game ranks as the lowest rated and least-viewed Outback Bowl since Auburn/Northwestern in 2010, the last time ESPN aired the game (3.5, 5.7M).

Even so, the Outback Bowl ranks as the third-most viewed non-BCS bowl game ever on ESPN. Only the 2010 Michigan State/Texas Tech Alamo Bowl (7.82M) and the 2006 Texas/Iowa Alamo Bowl (7.79M) earned better numbers. The 2009 Southern Cal/Boston College Emerald Bowl (7.56M) ranks fourth, slightly trailing Tuesday’s game (7.58M).

(Tuesday’s numbers from ESPN Media Zone)

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