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College Football Playoff semifinals outdraw NFL Wild Card games

There is no surer bet in television than the National Football League. Well, actually, there is a surer bet than that: an NFL playoff game.

Until now.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive declared the College Football Playoff a success and now the market has spoken, agreeing with him. Thursday’s Florida State-Oregon and Alabama-Ohio State games have beaten Saturday’s Cardinals-Falcons and Steelers-Ravens NFL Wild Card games.

Cardinals-Panthers averaged 21.678 million viewers on ESPN yesterday. Rose Bowl had 28.164 million viewers; Sugar Bowl had 28.271 million.

— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) January 4, 2015

NFL playoff viewership: Ravens-Steelers (NBC) 28.0 million viewers. Cardinals-Panthers (ESPN): 21.678 million viewers.

— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) January 4, 2015

Now, a few caveats: Thursday was a holiday and offered a glimpse of history, not to mention the two biggest games of the college football season so far. Saturday is not a traditional NFL broadcast time slot, and the games were not as comparably important as their college football counterparts.

But, still, college football beat the NFL.

The countdown to an eight-team playoff begins now.