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More people watched the Iron Bowl than any college game this season

Chris Davis AP

No game in the college football season has had quite the ending or impact on the season as Saturday’s Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn. The wild finish that handed Alabama a gut-wrenching setback and thrust Auburn in to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta was must see TV, and it turns out everyone was watching.

According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, 13.8 million people watched the Alabama-Auburn game on CBS, making it the most watched game of the college football season.

That narrowly edges Alabama’s September match-up at Texas A&M against Johnny Manziel, which drew 13.7 million viewers. According to Variety, Alabama also was  apart of the third-most watched game of the college football season, with 11.9 million viewers tuning in to watch Alabama’s victory over LSU in primetime on CBS.

Alabama continues to bring plenty of television ratings, which is why they will be the first BCS at-large team off the board when it comes to set the BCS bowl line-up.

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42 Responses to “More people watched the Iron Bowl than any college game this season”
  1. canetic says: Dec 4, 2013 8:42 PM

    That’s not what I heard,34727/

  2. kcrobert10 says: Dec 4, 2013 8:49 PM

    The top 3 games watched were all sec games. Hmm its cause more people live in the south right. Oh no I get it its cause the big 10 is the best conference right. On a serious note this continues to prove the sec is the best conference and deserves to have a team in the national championship. I bet u espn/abc want an sec school cause they actually want people to watch.

  3. floridascuba1 says: Dec 4, 2013 8:59 PM

    Misguided. If it’s a repeat like the Alabama LSU game it will go from highest to lowest. But only the SEC a-holes will follow.

  4. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 4, 2013 9:10 PM

    Both games were as good as the hype maybe better…

  5. cometkazie says: Dec 4, 2013 9:17 PM

    I bet the viewership for the SEC champ game is dismal.

  6. soundsofsuccess7 says: Dec 4, 2013 9:26 PM

    @kcrobert I live in California and everyone I’ve talked to has said the same thing- that they had no desire to watch the game, saw Auburn was close late, and tuned in in hope Alabama lost.

    The SEC championship is about to get pretty dismal ratings- no one outside of the SEC and it’s fans care about either team. This is a product of a phenomenal rivalry game in which everyone just wanted to see Goliath go down.

  7. tidebarrister says: Dec 4, 2013 9:40 PM

    I lived in California as well — LA and San Diego to be precise — and who gives a rat’s behind what anyone in California thinks (or knows for that matter) about college football.

    For a state as big as California, look how few outstanding college football teams it has produced over the years. USC was dominate, but got exposed for cheating and had to vacate its national title. Stanford has been good, but will NEVER win it all. UCLA is on the upswing, but will suck again as soon as Mora, Jr. heads back to the NFL. That’s it for the entire state!

    So trust me, no one in the Southeast cares what folks in California thinks about the SEC. Maybe when California schools become relevant, us hillbillies will start caring what Cali’s think!

  8. onlyoneleft says: Dec 4, 2013 9:49 PM

    I live in the South and I watch ever USC game I can
    and I am not referring to the Dirtpeckers as they like to refer to themselves USC2

  9. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Dec 4, 2013 10:13 PM

    I’m pretty SEC biased, but those who wonder why the SEC is so hated look no further than kcroberto. I also know the SEC can’t be dominate forever and the PAC-12 made that gap mucb smaller (and may be the better conference top to bottom this year).

  10. Deb says: Dec 4, 2013 10:33 PM

    You SEC haters can tune in to our games or not. You can argue about which conference is better. You can come up with reasons why the Iron Bowl was the most-watched game this year.

    Who cares?

    Our teams will just keep playing their game. And people will keep watching no matter what you say. If the SEC Championship’s ratings are lower than the Iron Bowl’s, so what? They’ll probably be higher than any other conference championship’s.

  11. gfj7000 says: Dec 4, 2013 10:36 PM

    KCRobert10 – You’re way-off. No conferences in the country acknowledge the SEC as the only premium conference in the country – and probably more than half the viewers of the Iron Bowl were from the south. 13.8M – what about the rest of the country – maybe 30-40M viewers? What were they watching? So as for ABC/ESPN – wanting an SEC team? I don’t think so; Jacobs (Auburn AD) said it would be Un-American to not have an SEC team in the Natty. That’s ridiculous for someone from his level. If we had two SEC teams in the Natty – like a couple of years ago – doing something like that (which was a viewership & public opinion disaster) – would be another disaster. So, I think the vote is out from BCS polls, USA today, AP, & public opinion – that if Fla. State & Ohio State win this weekend – it’s a slam-dunk for the (2) undefeated teams to ‘face-off’ in the Natty.

  12. kcrobert10 says: Dec 4, 2013 10:56 PM

    I’m sorry I’ve watched football for a long time and I still can’t comprehend how u people can’t believe ur own eyes and the overwhelming stats that prove beyond a doubt the sec is the best football in college. Nfl teams devote multiple scouts to this conference and draft more players from it than any other. Why is that? My guess they want the best football players from the best conference that plays the best competition. I do think fla st is good but until I see them actually beat auburn, Alabama, or Missouri I will always doubt they can and I’m sorry but that would be a better game than to have to watch osu try to play fla st or any of these sec schools. Just like nd last yr there a team waiting for an old fashion sec beat down. So lets see fla st take on the sec champion or Alabama and prove they are the best I belive they have earned that right by the way they have played not osu and there supposed unbeaten streak that has yet to play anyone of importance. Ps don’t tell me oh they will play Michigan st. M st doesn’t have the offense to beat good sec competition. Fla st marquee win is Clemson who once again got run by south Carolina. So yes I do belive the sec deserves a shot a nc if u really want to end the streak beat em on the field not in ur minds.

  13. floridascuba1 says: Dec 4, 2013 10:58 PM

    SEC is over-rated. Look no further than sabans 7-5 November record and 1 conference title. Yet Alabama is said to be a dynasty. Think not.

  14. afrancis55 says: Dec 4, 2013 10:59 PM

    More people watched the Iron Bowl than any college game this season

    In other news water is wet, rocks are hard, and the sky is blue.

  15. dmvtransplant says: Dec 4, 2013 11:15 PM

    Funny considering the Bama vs LSU national championship was the third lowest in the BCS era.

  16. Deb says: Dec 4, 2013 11:29 PM

    The “Natty”?

    Excuse me while I vomit.

  17. Deb says: Dec 4, 2013 11:34 PM

    floridascuba1 …

    Um … look no further than Alabama’s three titles in the last four years. Both the 90’s Dallas Cowboys and 00’s New England Patriots are considered dynasties on the strength of winning three titles in four years. You may not like Alabama, but the championships speak for themselves.

    You’re not too bright, are you?

  18. soundsofsuccess7 says: Dec 5, 2013 1:34 AM


    I think you may be misinformed. The Reggie Bush mess was due to him being payed by an agent, not the school or anyone affiliated with the school. The sanctions were for “lack of institutional control”, not cheating.

  19. larrydavid7000 says: Dec 5, 2013 6:47 AM

    Sorry to bursted your bubble but the guy dose not watch college football at all.!!!!!!! Its not good football and a east of time. Pro football is the only way to go but that is starting to slowly go down hill as well.

  20. 1990tiger says: Dec 5, 2013 8:26 AM

    Considering that the Iron Bowl was broadcast in the middle of the afternoon (3:30EST), I would say the ratings are pretty impressive. If CBS had the sense to broadcast their games in the evening, I imagine the ratings would have been even higher.

  21. dcroz says: Dec 5, 2013 9:06 AM

    First of all, let me congratulate Auburn on a great win Saturday against my Tide. I’ve been dealing with some family issues the last several days and haven’t been able to log in, so I know I’m tardy about acknowledging the Tigers’ win. But, their players wanted it more, their coaches did a better job, and they deserved the victory. Good luck in Atlanta!

    Now, as far as viewership goes: what’s up with the people on here making idiotic comments about “yeah, but bet most of those people watching were from the South!” like it matters? Do you think any of the networks give a tinker’s damn about whether as many people in Los Angeles were watching the game as there were in Atlanta? If more people in the South were watching, then that means college football is bigger in the South and advertisers will appreciate that. And it strikes me that that other “biggest rivalry in college football” played an exciting game that came down to a missed two-point conversion, and not only did it not outdo the Iron Bowl in the ratings despite not even being head-to-head with it, it couldn’t even outdo Alabama-TAMU or Alabama-LSU. ‘Bama fans were disappointed by the outcome Saturday, but right behind were the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game people as they just saw their potential ratings plummet with the Buckeyes now playing FSU (sorry, JT).

  22. cometkazie says: Dec 5, 2013 9:34 AM

    For crying out loud, football is entertainment. Why carry so much emotional baggage. I saw over a hundred games in Tiger Stadium between 1958 and 1993 and probably remember a tenth of them. They were important then but now?

    Do bragging rights really matter?

    The Michigan-OSU and Iron Bowl were too exciting games and I was too worn out to appreciate the aTm-Mizzou one.

    When I look at the TV schedule, I look for good matchups, not what conference is playing.

    It isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

  23. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 5, 2013 11:25 AM

    Deb says: Dec 4, 2013 11:29 PM

    The “Natty”?

    Excuse me while I vomit.

    The new term I’ve heard lately is the ‘Ship.

    And I guess this means we’re old but, yes…. I also just vomited in my mouth a little.

  24. dryzzt23 says: Dec 5, 2013 12:04 PM

    The bottom line is this: ESPN/ABC is biased toward the SEC, there is no argument about that. Therefore they will put out as much hype for the SEC games as they can, regardless of their contracts with other conferences.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if they did not state all of the facts, such as 50+% of the viewers are from the South. Meanwhile viewership of the OSU-Michigan game is a NATIONAL game.
    I graduated from Auburn and I’m from Ohio. I can tell you that the “Bama-Auburn “rivalry” is merely a regional thing. No one outside of Alabama gives a rip about it. But ESPN/ABC won’t tell you that…

  25. Deb says: Dec 5, 2013 12:12 PM

    @8to80texansblog …

    I’m cracking up about you saying we’re old because I figured anyone calling the title game “Natty” had to be about 90 and felt a little guilty for being disrespectful of my elders LOL

  26. Deb says: Dec 5, 2013 12:26 PM

    @dryzzt23 …

    The Iron Bowl was on CBS, so ESPN/ABC isn’t doctoring the ratings data–which comes from independent sources anyway. And it’s illogical to think the corporate people at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, or the corporate people at CBS or ABC in New York City–who determine the editorial slant at those networks–have an SEC bias.

    The bias is toward profits. And more revenues are generated by good matchups. As dcroz said, it doesn’t matter whether more viewers are in the South, North, or West. It only matters how many there are. The more viewers, the more money for the networks and for the schools participating in the BCS.

    Someone pointed out that ratings were down for the LSU/Alabama matchup. I suspect that’s because the BCS miscalculated the college audience’s interest in a big rematch. Rematches are gold in the NFL. College fans that year seemed to be turned off by the idea of a rematch. But that was a rare miscalculation. Usually games involving SEC powerhouses and rivalries are highly rated. It is what it is.

  27. dryzzt23 says: Dec 5, 2013 12:36 PM

    Really Deb? Their bias is so obvious, it’s as obvious as ABC/CBS/NBC/CNN/MSNBC’s bias toward the left.

  28. cometkazie says: Dec 5, 2013 12:45 PM

    Deb, I’m with you on college rematches. Didn’t like them in the 1960 bowls and don’t like them now.

    About ten years ago, ND played My Tigers in BR and beat them. They were rematched in some insignificant bowl and returned the favor.

    The Natty bit goes right over this 74y-o’s head.

    Of course none of us here are biased.

  29. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 5, 2013 12:54 PM


    Let’s just say I agree with you about the SEC bias… why do you think ESPN/ABC is biased toward the SEC, it’s not southern pride.. that’s for sure…

    And secondly… I think most people nationally probably consider Ohio St./Michigan a bigger rivalry due the perennial national stature of the programs, but I think Bama/Auburn is considered one of the most bitter rivalries in college sports.

    And lastly… this year, Bama/Auburn WAS bigger nationally, by a lot. #1 vs #5… in a rivalry game it doesn’t get much bigger than that….

  30. Deb says: Dec 5, 2013 1:06 PM

    @cometkazie …

    See … that’s the NFL fan in me. I love rematches! Looking forward to Seattle/New Orleans in the playoffs. Hoping New Orleans actually comes to the stadium for that one 😉

    @dryzzt23 …

    Those network types could care less about the South or its football teams. And I’ve heard people say the BCS is biased toward the SEC. The BCS is made up of all the conferences. Why would they be biased toward the SEC? All these folks care about is money and how to make more of it. If the SEC will make them more money, then you bet they’ll be “biased” toward the SEC. If next year the Pac-12 becomes the big draw and the key to making more money, their “bias” will quickly shift to the Pac-12.

    Follow the money trail.

  31. guinsrule says: Dec 5, 2013 1:45 PM

    National audiences always tune in when they think Bama might get knocked out of the national championship picture…No one outside of Alabama is running to their TVs to see Bama play Kentucky.

  32. clonefan says: Dec 5, 2013 1:58 PM

    I have my own take on why the Bama V LSU rematch wasn’t very big….

    I for one (a Big 12 fan) had no interest in seeing another SEC match up. Yes, I did watch it. I would have loved to have seen a match up between LSU (SEC champ) and any other big conference opponent in the top instead. You can give me all of the arguments about how Bama was the best and that they even proved it by beating LSU, but all of that is based on beating SEC teams. The non conference schedule for the most part is pretty weak for every contender (all conference champs) and it becomes hard to really prove that one conference is truely best. I wanted to see LSU beat one of those “lesser” conferences and at that point I would have been willing to conceede the SEC’s superiority, but that year the only thing the SEC proved to me was that they could beat the SEC and the sisters of the poor. Now, I am not saying they weren’t the best. I am saying I wanted to see it on the field against another conference in the national championchip game.

    Please don’t get on my case about sour grapes, Bama was and is a great team. I am trying to explain why I think that Bama V LSU game may not have been such a great TV ratings game. I love college football. I watch many diferent conferences. I liked both the OSU V Mich game and the Iron Bowl. Both are great rivalries and this boy from Iowa (now living in MN) enjoyed them both.

  33. packerbadger says: Dec 5, 2013 2:04 PM

    Richest college conference is the Big 10. Hmmmm…. I wonder why that is?

  34. 1990tiger says: Dec 5, 2013 2:33 PM

    8to80texansblog says:

    Bama/Auburn WAS bigger nationally, by a lot. #1 vs #5… in a rivalry game it doesn’t get much bigger than that….
    It was #1 vs #4

  35. Deb says: Dec 5, 2013 8:12 PM

    guinsrule says:

    National audiences always tune in when they think Bama might get knocked out of the national championship picture…No one outside of Alabama is running to their TVs to see Bama play Kentucky.

    I’m a Bama fan and don’t run to the TV to see Bama play Kentucky.

  36. bikerhal says: Dec 5, 2013 10:31 PM

    Hey Deb, a little off topic but what are the chances ol’ Nick might depart for Austin?

  37. packerbadger says: Dec 6, 2013 8:14 AM

    bikerhal says:Dec 5, 2013 10:31 PM

    Hey Deb, a little off topic but what are the chances ol’ Nick might depart for Austin?
    Going from the land of stupid to the land where they execute retarded people. Nice.

  38. dcroz says: Dec 6, 2013 10:00 AM

    packerbadger: Going from the land of stupid to the land where they execute retarded people. Nice.

    Guess that means you’ll be staying out of Texas?

  39. Deb says: Dec 6, 2013 12:56 PM

    @dcroz …

    BOOM! 😀

    @bikerhal …

    Hi! I doubt it. A coach changing jobs doesn’t bother me the way it does some people–as long as he doesn’t jump ship in the middle of a season. So Nick would leave with my thanks and good wishes. But if Mack steps down or is pushed aside, which isn’t a given, I doubt Nick will leave Alabama–where he’s built a tremendous recruiting class–to start over in a place where he’ll never have the level of control he has now. He’s got the chance to match or best Bear Bryant’s championship record, which would be quite a coaching legacy.

    The latest discussion I’ve heard is Malzahn to Austin :)

  40. florida727 says: Dec 7, 2013 10:31 AM

    Quite frankly, if you don’t watch the SEC Championship Game, you’re not a fan, you’re an idiot. If you don’t watch the Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC, and every other freaking conference championship game, the same can be said. Face it, folks, it’s COLLEGE FOOTBALL. It’s the best freaking sport on this or any other planet. ENJOY IT! It’s only got a couple weekends to go 😦

  41. cometkazie says: Dec 7, 2013 12:55 PM

    florida727 says:
    Dec 7, 2013 10:31 AM

    ENJOY IT! It’s only got a couple weekends to go 😦

    For me it ends today. The BCS champ game doesn’t really settle anything. It’s made for TV, $$$.

    That said, there are some good match ups.

    I really think Auburn is going to suffer. Their last two games involved a lot of luck.

    Deb, this is the weekend I start getting interested in the NFL. :)

  42. adriansanchez12345 says: Mar 25, 2014 11:14 AM

    nk lm klm bkmf

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