College Football – Teams With the Best TV Ratings in 2012

As we head into bowl season which follows the selection process for the BCS Bowls and for the lesser ones, with some schools not understanding how come they missed out on a big prize or even a bowl invite, although it was a bit less controversial this season than in the past, TV ratings and the market share some schools bring with them is an obvious factor of any choice.

As you would expect, looking back at the nationally televised games from the 2012 season, the power schools and big names dominate. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC. Surprised? Probably not. Florida State, a team reaching a BCS Bowl after winning the ACC, are way behind the leading pack, and aren’t even the top ACC school (Miami are). Louisville, getting the Big East’s BCS tickets, had better ratings as well. Northern Illinois, as expected, are quite near the bottom of the pile.

The Alabama – Michigan game in week 1 was the opening weekend best seller, with 7.9 million viewers and 4.8 rating points. Georgia Tech vs Virginia Tech, surprisingly, a Monday night game, came as a distant second. Week 2 was much more balanced, with a double header (USC vs Syracuse, Air Force vs Michigan) led the way with 4.7 million viewers and 3.3 ratings points, followed closely by Florida vs Texas A&M and Nebraska vs UCLA.

In week 3 it was the Florida Tennessee game (5.1/3.1) that slightly edged the Notre Dame defensive performance against Michigan State with 5 million viewers. Week 4 was all about Michigan vs Notre Dame, with 6.4 million tuning in to watch, coming ahead of the 4.8 million who saw Florida State take charge of the ACC with a win over Clemson.

Week 5 was more proof that while the Big Ten is probably the third strongest conference at the moment, it has a few of the biggest names in the sport, that any Big Bowl game would love to have. Ohio State playing Michigan State drew in 5 million viewers to lead the week. Week 6 was about the SEC, as Florida vs LSU got a 4.6 rating, with more than 7 million tuning in to watch, beating the Ohio State – Nebraska game.

In week 7, when more and more was on the line of every game, the ratings steered more and more towards the SEC, with another LSU game, this time vs South Carolina, got the better of Notre Dame playing a dramatic win over Stanford. Next week (8) had Florida vs South Carolina edge out the prime time double header with Florida State vs Miami as the main course.

On week 9, no one came close to Notre Dame’s visit to Norman in one of their biggest wins of the season against Oklahoma. More than 8.5 million tuned in to watch the Irish and the Sooners, way more than the Georgia – Florida game. Week 10 set a new high for the season, as 11.3 million people tuned in to watch the SEC West rivalry of Alabama and LSU for the third time in 12 months.

Week 11 saw another Alabama game finish on top: Johnny Manziel and A&M upsetting the #1 Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, with 9.6 million tuning in to watch. Week 12 was all about the game that shook the standings and the national title picture, with 8.3 million watching Stanford beating Oregon.

Week 13, rivalry week, had the highest rated game of the season up to that point, again involving Notre Dame on the road, this time claiming their number one spot with a win against USC. More than 16 million (9.4 rating) watched that game, followed by 9.5 million watching Michigan vs Ohio State and 8.5 million watching Florida vs Florida State. Next week, the conference championship week, set another record for the season as 16.2 million tuned in to watch Alabama beating Georgia in the SEC title game, which was the de facto semifinal for the national title.

Redditor Apep86 took the average rating that each team had per game then divided each game’s ratings up proportionally based on each team’s average ratings to create rather accurate rankings for the most watched teams this past College Football season. Alabama lead the way with 2.6, followed by Notre Dame with 2.18, Florida with 1.92, USC with 1.86, LSU with 1.81 and Michigan with 1.8. Texas with a 1.44 had the best rating among Big 12 teams. Miami had the best among ACC teams with 1.14. Louisville had the best among Big East teams. From the non-AQ conferences, excluding the independents, Southern Mississippi with 1.1 had the best ratings thanks to their game against Nebraska.

List of all the games