College football championship fails to deliver for ESPN

University of Georgia vs Texas Christian University, 2022 CFP National Championship
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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.

25 responses to “College football championship fails to deliver for ESPN

  1. Expansion is terrible for the college football playoff. There will be more blowouts and it will turn more people off. As it is, the four teams usually only produce one day of good football.

  2. TCU didn’t belong in that game

    the last place team in the SEC would have been more competitve

  3. Enter the Patriots, who knocked off the Dolphins in the AFC title game — setting the stage for an embarrassing and boring Super Bowl XX.

    You think thats bad?

    Wait till Tampa makes it this year.

  4. I assume that number was taken at kickoff? The real measure of damage would be a stat taken in the 3rd quarter or later. ESPN can lay this directly at the feet of the playoff committee. That matchup should never have happened.

  5. This is what ESPN gets for being so biased towards the SEC, which has 2-4 good teams while the rest are cupcakes.
    I do NOT feel sorry for ESPN in the slightest.

  6. The game was over before it began. Only bettors were still watching…and even they didn’t really have to keep a close eye on things by the start of the second half.

  7. “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.”

    Isn’t that the point of playoffs? If a team is the “best” then they should earn their way to the championship game. Not be entitled to it.

    But yeah, that game sucked. Turned it off after the first quarter.

  8. Maybe we get tired of watching the same 4 schools compete while the rest of the teams make an appearance once a decade. Maybe we don’t want to watch Georgia throwing Bombs from Shotgun with a 45 point lead because you apparently want to embarrass your opponent. Maybe we don’t think that players should get NIL and be bought by boosters, that a free $100K education was enough, while the majority of people have to scratch to put their kids through university. I personally decided Monday night I don’t want to watch college football moving forward… I know many will keep watching.

  9. 12 teams are better than 4, which is better than 2. A true playoff will be entertaining and make a whole lot of money. Bad games happen under any system. Let the play on the field decide the championship, not voters.

  10. TCU should be celebrated for making it to the championship game. Georgia has 3x enrollment, 3x alumni and spends 3x more on their football program vs TCU. TCU has 16 4/5 star recruits vs Georgia’s 68! Congrats to Georgia for taking care of business. TCU had a wonderful season, not bad for a private school from a “mid-level” conference.

  11. I didn’t watch the game, but based on comments on Twitter it was like watching a big brother beating up on his little brother in Madden. Sounds super entertaining to me.

  12. This is exactly why the NFL doesn’t want a modern system of refereeing. They want to be able to allow the refs to hold the TV audience by reducing the number of blowouts. TV ratings are the key for this golden goose. You see what happens to the TV audience in blowouts. We keep talking about full time refs and changing rules, etc. Full time refs will make sure they don’t get fired. There will be even more questionable calls with refs that don’t have a regular job to fall back on. Not nuclear science

  13. Why did TCU not belong in the game? They went 13-1, and knocked off Michigan in the semifinals.

    Georgia was just head & shoulders better than everyone else. But TCU earned the right to be there, even if it was the right to be flogged on National TV.

  14. For people saying TCU didn’t belong, that’s not the point, they earned being there. There’s a big difference.

  15. the bottom line, ‘cuz Stone Cold says:
    January 11, 2023 at 9:45 am
    Enter the Patriots, who knocked off the Dolphins in the AFC title game — setting the stage for an embarrassing and boring Super Bowl XX.


    I enjoyed it very much, thank you – Bears fan

  16. The ‘best’ team is merely in the eyes of the beholder.
    In the eyes of ESPN, Alabama could go 0-12 and ESPN would STILL say that Alabama is the ‘best’ and should be in the CFP.
    ESPN argues that Alabama has the ‘best talent’, again this is all perception and narrative in order to advance an agenda. ESPN is in bed with the SEC, so ESPN advocates for Alabama no matter what. ESPN uses the recruiting rankings as a basis for supporting Alabama. Well if Alabama signs 30 players one year, and 2 years later 10 of those players have transferred, 5 of the players are medically ineligible, 5 players cannot keep up academically, 5 players don’t have the work ethic to get past the scout team, and the last 5 are the only ones in the class who contribute….does this still make Alabama more ‘talented’ than everyone else? In the eyes of ESPN, yes it does.
    THAT is the problem.

  17. The game is the product of single elimination playoffs. The better team does not always win every game. Sometimes the underdog wins and advances. That is never going away as football is not amenable to a series of games between two teams. Hell, I don’t want to watch Ravens Bangals for the second week in a row either.

  18. I’m really looking forward to the expanded playoffs. The other bowl games have all been rendered useless with the current format. May as well make them count for something by adding them to the playoffs.

  19. Regardless it’s awesome to include Pat McAfee and his crew in Gameday and the broadcast. They’re the most entertaining group and made the game more palatable.

  20. That game was a historic outlier – it broke the record for victory margin in a championship game by 3 TDs. So using it as your example isn’t really the best argument. The semifinal weekend was AMAZING – both games were exciting and came down to the end. One of the best pair of college games I’ve ever seen on one day. TCU was overlooked by Michigan, which should have made it to the title game and unfortunately led to a team being there that was obviously not just lesser in talent but not remotely prepared for “the big stage”.

  21. “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.”


    Yes, and it gives other teams a chance to be competitive. That game would have been far better with OSU or even PSU than TCU. Hell, North Dakota State (II) or even West Chester University (II) would have been more competitive. At least then we could root for a ridiculous underdog. The CFP is a joke. Have more than 1 loss and you’re done. You’re not even making the “playoff.” I’d sooner have the old AP and Coaches Poll system. Have a real playoff.

  22. They need to have that game on a Saturday, that way people could go to viewing parties and stuff like they do for the superbowl. 7pm on a Monday the only people watching are fans of the 2 teams playing and die-hard CFB fans. They need to bring in the casual fans.

  23. If you really want a laugh just take a look at Michigan’s schedule this year. Then ask yourself if they really belonged in the playoffs. I mean obviously it was unavoidable but if your first three games are Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn maybe you should get slightly less consideration

  24. Make the playoffs an 8 team field with 4 SEC teams matched against the best 4 of the rest in the Round of 8. More often that not you’ll get a semifinal of 4 SEC teams and a final with the best 2 teams in the country while allowing the other fledgling “major” conferences to be able to say they were in the playoffs.

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