Birmingham's bowl between Cincinnati and Southern Mississippi drew a 1.9 household rating on ESPN2, accounting for 2.75 millionviewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That was up 12 percent from the inaugural game in 2007.
Viewership of all bowls declined by 12 percent with a 3.6 average rating, the lowest in the 10-year history of the Bowl Championship Series. Twenty-one of the 32 bowls saw lower ratings than in 2006-07.
"If you weren't such and a$$hole then maybe people wouldn't enjoy rubbing your face in the mud so much." - Cribbs Sullivan
Alabama's victory over Colorado at the Independence Bowl, competing against an NFL game with playoff implications on NBC, drew a 1.6 rating and ranked 25th among the bowls. The rating was down from a 3.0 for Alabama-Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl in 2006.
Auburn's overtime victory over Clemson at the Chick-fil-A Bowl drew a 4.4, the second-highest rating for a non-BCS bowl, behind a 9.1 for Michigan-Florida at the Capital One Bowl. The Chick-fil-A Bowl's rating was down from a 4.8 a year ago.
Mobile's GMAC Bowl, between Tulsa and Bowling Green, drew a 1.0 on the day before the BCS national title game. The GMAC Bowl drew a 1.6 last year and its ratings have been dropping since moving to a January date.
The PapaJohns.com Bowl's 1.9 rating was the second highest among the five bowls owned by ESPN. The others owned by ESPN are the Las Vegas (2.1), Armed Forces (1.7), New Mexico (1.7) and Hawaii (1.3).
ESPN initially said the PapaJohns.com Bowl drew a 2.26 rating. That number calculated viewers against the number of households that have ESPN2, and Nielsen calculates it against all U.S. households.
"Briana be the best A-Town dancer cuz she was ballin' out like crazy in Jeazy's video." - Cribbs Sullivan
The Big Ten had a team in each of the three highest-rated bowl games. Six of the 10 highest-rated bowls involved SEC teams, more than any other conference.
Many bowl games continue to produce higher ratings than what networks might otherwise program in those time slots. But the average bowl rating continues to drop from its BCS- high of 5.3 in 1998-99, when there were 10 fewer bowls.
In a telephone survey of 1,482 people by Nielsen, 73 percent indicated they planned to watch three or more bowl games, 20 percent said they would watch five to seven, and 14 percent said they would watch at least part of every game.
Forty-one percent indicated there are too many bowl games, and 51 percent said they believe college football needs a playoff system.
HT: John Soloman Birmingham News