The people of Birmingham love their college football. They love Alabama and Auburn, to be sure. But what makes Birmingham different is their fervor for the sport when the Tide and Tigers have the night off.
Case in point: Texas’s 50-47 double overtime thriller of a win over No. 10 Notre Dame.
The game earned a 7.0 national rating, matching the largest rating of the 2015 regular season (Ohio State’s 42-13 thumping of Michigan in November.) Alabama’s destruction of USC and Wisconsin’s upset of LSU were ESPN’s highest-rated Saturday game with a 4.9.
(As always, ratings are relative. A 7.0 is “massive” for college football, yet the NFL averaged a 10.9 for its sentient test pattern of a Thursday night schedule last year.)
If the entire nation averaged a 7.0, the ratings inside the state of Texas had to be astronomical, right? Austin scored a 25.4 rating, while San Antonio checked in at 15.1, Dallas-Fort Worth at 13.1 and Houston at 11.5. (Keep in mind, a typical Cowboys game scores in the low 30’s up and down Interstate 35.)
Those are huge numbers.
And they still didn’t top Birmingham. According to Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News, Birmingham checked in with a 17.3 rating. And, confirming that the only emotion strong enough to rival love is hate, Oklahoma City scored a 12.8.