The nation is SEC biased.
SEC games were six of the ten most watched telecasts for the 2014 college football season.
Here are the top ten:
#1 Auburn at Alabama (13.5 million views; 11/30/14) ESPN
#2 Notre Dame at Florida State (13.25 million viewers; 10/18/14) ABC
#3 Alabama vs. Missouri (12.8 million viewers; 12/6/14; SEC Championship) CBS
#4 Mississippi State at Alabama (10.3 million viewers; 11/15/14) CBS
#5 FSU vs. Georgia Tech 10.1 million views; 12/6/14; ACC title game) ABC
#6 Alabama at LSU (9.2 million viewers; 11/8/14) CBS
#7 FSU at Miami (8.74 million viewers 11/15/14) ABC
#8 Clemson at FSU (8.1 million viewers 9/20/14) ABC
#9 Florida at Alabama (8.0 million viewers; 9/20/14) CBS
#10 Texas A&M at Auburn (7.2 million viewers; 11/8/14) CBS
For the sixth straight year the SEC on CBS was the most watched college football television package. This is significant because ABC is able to program the best games from the Big Ten, Pac 12, Big 12 and ACC in its evening primetime telecast and still can’t beat the SEC’s game of the week. The nation has decided it would rather watch SEC football than any other combination of conference or teams. Which means CBS’s SEC package, only costing $55 million a year, is truly worth its weight in gold. That package of games will hit the market again in 2023-24 and promises to create a bidding war that CBS can’t match.
The SEC represented six of the ten most watched games this year — Alabama was in five of the six games — and Florida State was in the other four games, all airing on ABC in primetime. The Big 12, Pac 12, and Big Ten had no teams or games finish among the ten most watched of the season.
Interestingly, the most most watched game of the year could have been a CBS game if the network hadn’t bungled the selection process. ESPN’s telecast of the Iron Bowl drew over 13.5 million viewers, shattering the previously most watched game in regular season ESPN history by over three million viewers. The Iron Bowl was the only game in the top ten most watched telecasts of the season that aired on cable.
Judging by these ratings the dream game for television executives is clear — Alabama against Florida State for the title. But regardless of who plays in that game it seems likely that the most watched show in cable television history will be this year’s title game.