Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

College football championship fails to deliver for ESPN

The average NFL regular-season game in 2022 generated 16.7 million viewers. The ultimate college football contest didn’t fare a whole lot better.

Via Sports Business Journal, Monday night’s game between Georgia and TCU, a 65-7 blowout in which the Bulldogs could have scored 100 if they wanted, drew only 17.2 million viewers across the various ESPN platforms that televised the game.

That’s down from 22.5 million for last year’s Georgia-Alabama title game. It’s dramatically lower than the Ohio State and Oregon game that capped the 2014 season. That one racked up 33.9 million viewers.

It reconfirms the fundamental difference between the NFL and college football. It also shows what happens when the game simply isn’t a good one.

And to those who presume that the looming expansion of the college playoff field from four to 12 teams will prevent a blowout in the title game, not so fast my friend. It only takes one upset to turn everything on its head.

Think back to 1985, those of you who were alive then. The Bears and Dolphins were on track for a Super Bowl rematch that arguably would have been the biggest NFL championship game of all time. Enter the Patriots, who knocked off the Dolphins in the AFC title game -- setting the stage for an embarrassing and boring Super Bowl XX.

With more teams and more games, there’s a greater chance one of the best two teams will exit before they can meet in the championship game. Along the way, there’s also a chance that some of the preliminary games could be as bad as Monday night’s Cornell-Hofstra slaughter, when an SEC powerhouse comes across the very best that one of the mid-level conferences has to offer.