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Penn State rules the 2009-2010 Non-BCS Bowl Ratings

Submitted by on January 5, 201034 Comments

Numbers are based on immediate overnight Nielsen numbers. These preliminary non time-zone adjusted values may increase or decrease slightly when revised figures are released based.

Below are the ratings for a couple of non-BCS bowl games played in the 2009-2010 bowl season. Penn State is the runaway winner in terms of television draw a whole 2.1 rating points more than it’s closest competitor, the Cotton Bowl.

Date Bowl Participants Nielsen Rating Improvement from last year Last year’s Participants
1/1 Capital One Bowl Penn State / LSU 6.8 (6.4) + 0.4 Georgia / Michigan State
12/31 Cotton Bowl Ole Miss / Oklahoma State 4.7 (4.4) + 0.3 Ole Miss / Texas Tech
12/26 Emerald Bowl Southern Cal / Boston College 5.3 (2.0) + 3.3 New Mexico / Navy
1/1 Gator Bowl Florida State / West Virginia 4.3 (4.1) + 0.2 Nebraska / Clemson
12/26 Meineke Bowl Pittsburgh / UNC 4.6 (4.5) + 0.1 West Virginia / North Carolina
12/31 Sun Bowl Stanford / Oklahoma 3.6 (2.2) +1.4 Oregon State / Pittsburgh

So much for the supposed draw of Bobby Bowden’s final game. Yes, I’m looking at you Mark May for overhyping the West Virginia / Florida State Gator Bowl. Both were mediocre teams at best and aside from it being Bobby Bowden’s last game, meant little to nothing to the rest of the country. The ratings reflect it. The Capital One Bowl, played during the exact same time as the Gator Bowl, almost doubled it in ratings.

And then we have the Meineke Car Care Bowl played in Detroit. Oh, wait, what’s that? It’s not in Detroit? It might as well have been. The blockbuster matchup (sarcasm) between the mighty Panthers of the Big East and the home town Tar Heels of the ACC actually earned a lower rating than the Mountaineers and Tar Heels game a year ago.

But.. but.. wait! That can’t be! What of that supposed loyal and rabid Pittsburgh following of Panther fans that show up on message boards and online communities all the time only during successful seasons?

Oh, wait. That’s right. Take solace Panther fans, at least it wasn’t the stinker that was Stanford / Oklahoma.

The Grand Daddy of them All

Date Bowl Participants Nielsen Rating Improvement from last year Last year’s Participants
1/1 Rose Bowl Ohio State / Oregon 13.2 (11.7) + 1.5 USC / Penn State
1/1 Sugar Bowl Florida / Cincinnati 9.2 (7.8) + 1.4 Utah / Alabama
1/4 Fiesta Bowl Boise State / TCU 8.2 (10.4) – 2.2 Texas / Ohio State
1/5 Orange Bowl Iowa / Georgia Tech 6.8 (5.4) +1.4 Virginia Tech / Cincinnati

Is there still any question as to why the Rose Bowl is the most envied bowl (BCS or non-BCS) throughout the land? The pageantry, tradition and significance of the bowl trumps all others and the ratings reflect that year after year. It remains the most restrictive and elusive bowl in the country. Just to be invited and allowed to compete on it’s hallowed field is a privilege.

This year’s Ohio State / Oregon matchup, like last year’s Penn State / USC game reigns supreme amongst all traditional bowls yet again. At 13.2 it is a whopping 4.0 rating points higher than the Tebow / undefeated Bearcats matchup in the Sugar Bowl.

We can, with confidence declare the Rose Bowl the ratings king for the 2009-2010 bowl season. It is highly unlikely and ludicrous to assume that the Fiesta or Orange bowl number that have yet to come in will even come close to usurping the Rosy throne of the Pac 10 and Big 10.

The draw of the Big Ten conference is simply without peer. And with victories over #7 Oregon (Pac 10 champion), #13 LSU (#3 SEC) and #14 Miami (ACC) should hopefully silence the media. We look forward to adding a victory over the ACC champion (Georgia Tech) to the resume before it is said and done.

Let’s not forget the valiant efforts by the Big Ten squads that did lose; Northwestern (lost in OT by 3 to Auburn), Michigan State (lost 14 players to disciplinary issues yet led Texas Tech late in the 4th before eventually falling), and Minnesota losing by 1 to Iowa State.

So much for the demise of the Big Ten. And yes, I’m still looking at you Mark May.


[Update 1/6/10] And as widely predicted, the Orange Bowl improved from last season’s dismal 5.4 rating. Considering last year’s rating set a record low for BCS bowls, that’s not a hard number to improve on. That’s the good news, the bad news is it only improved marginally to a 5.6 preliminary Nielsen rating. It didn’t set the new record low, but comes close to it. This is dismal and absolutely atrocious for two BCS programs. This puts them dead last once again in the BCS bowls even lower than the Fiesta bowl pitting two mid major programs. Congratulations Orange Bowl, you’ve outdone yourselves once again. You reap what you sow.

[Update 1/5/10]: Fox just released its final numbers for the Fiesta Bowl last night. The official Nielsen rating for the Boise State / TCU matchup is a 8.2. That is better than the Utah/Alabama and VT/Cincinnati (lowest rated BCS game ever) matchups last season. Not exactly stellar, and still falls short of the drawing power of big name programs like Ohio State and Florida. We’ll see how the numbers stack up against another equally mediocre matchup in the Orange Bowl.

[Update 1/5/10] : Preliminary overnight ratings for the Fiesta Bowl pitting 2 mid-majors are in. What can only be considered television networks’ worst case scenario, the country is clearly less interested in mid majors whether or not they are undefeated, playing each other, wearing tutus, or even busting out the best rendition of Lady Gaga’s latest song* on the cowbell. The 7.7 overnight rating is a dramatic 2.7 point drop from last year’s Texas / Ohio State matchup and will go a long way in helping determine future matchups as more mid majors are begging for access into the BCS.

*The song wasn’t by Lady Gaga, but I have no idea what specific song the girl was beating the cowbell to.

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  • bayoufightonstate

    Nittany Nation in full force! Where's that ESSS EEEE CEEEE speed now Tigers? Cue mud blaming in 3… 2… 1… Penn State had to play on the same field too.

  • Football Cynic

    Does the Rose Bowl get good Nielson ratings because it is the Big 10 Champ vs. The PAC 10 Champ…or because it has a great time slot…4:30 – 7:30 EST on New Year's Day? We'll see…

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com Charlie

    Preliminary overnight nielsen ratings for the Fiesta Bowl just came in. The Boise State / TCU matchup earned a preliminary 7.7 rating, just 0.8 higher than the Capital One Bowl, 1.5 lower than the Sugar Bowl, and a whopping 6.1 rating points lower than the Rose Bowl.

    So much for national interest in two undefeated mid majors duking it out.

  • Matt Barker

    Not to burst anyone's bubble, but the highest non-BCS rated bowl game last season was also the Capital One Bowl. Going to assume that since it's on New Year's Day that more people are able to tune in. But, five out of the top seven-rated bowl games (excluding the BCS Championship Game) last year each had a Big Ten member participating (Rose/Penn State, Fiesta/Ohio State, Capital One/Michigan State, Champs Sports/Wisconsin, and Alamo/Northwestern) .

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com Charlie

    The Fiesta Bowl only earned a 7.7 overnight nielsen rating despite going unchallenged in the typical Monday Night Football spot. So the draw of the Rose Bowl is clearly there. The Rose Bowl is the granddaddy of them all and even national championships played in the Rose Bowl see the extra bump as with Texas / USC a few years back.

  • bayoufightonstate

    People assumed the Gator bowl played in the exact same time slot as the Cap One bowl would dominate peoples' sets with it being Bowden's finale and all. Cap One bowl nearly doubled the Gator Bowl 6.9 to 3.9. Mark May, AGAIN, was wrong.

  • Mitch Tanner

    Penn State wins the Lambert Trophy for a record 28th time. Penn State took the top spot over Cincinnati, Pitt and West Virginia. Take that Big East!

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com Charlie

    [Update 1/5/10]: Fox just released its final numbers for the Fiesta Bowl last night. The official Nielsen rating for the Boise State / TCU matchup is a 8.2. That is better than the Utah/Alabama and VT/Cincinnati (lowest rated BCS game ever) matchups last season. Not exactly stellar, and still falls short of the drawing power of big name programs like Ohio State and Florida. We’ll see how the numbers stack up against another equally mediocre matchup in the Orange Bowl.

  • juventus20

    I almost don't want to watch the Iowa game because I want their ratings to be lower than ours. I am at least hoping the Big Ten ends up with a winning bowl record this year. WE ARE!!!!

  • sidneyc455

    Penn State!

  • psudevon

    That's not exactly how it works out, but I admire your fanitude.

  • Bill S.

    This Pitt fan has been around message boards and online communities for quite some time. I can't help it that your first comeback is “1981″. LOL.

    It appears you have had a successful bowl season for the first time in seven years. But in your own words, you'll have to do this for a few consecutive years in order to erase the way the Big Ten has performed in bowl games in recent memory (and become relevant in postseason discussions again).

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com Charlie

    “become relevant in postseason discussions again” last I checked, Ohio State played for the national championship in 06 and 07 (consecutive years), and Penn State chased one in 05 and 08 and the Big Ten has sent two BCS participants since god knows when. When was the last time the BCS invited more than the obligatory Big East champion? I didn't think so. Hate to break it to you but the Big Ten has never lost relevance in the postseason. They just haven't performed to standards.

  • psudevon

    The current eight Big East teams have never played in a BCS Championship Game, or received a second bid. The Big Ten has, virtually every season, 2 teams in the BCS. Furthermore, the Rose Bowl is almost always the highest rated game other than the Championship Game, while the Big East is the lone BCS conference without a bowl tie-in. The Big East is a basketball conference that lost all credibility when Miami, BC, and VTech left for the ACC, and got even worse after Cincy got anally violated by Florida. Sorry, but no Big East fans have any reason to crow. Your #1 was throttled by the SEC's #2, your #2 lost to a 6-6 ACC team that barely qualified for a bowl, and your #3 team (Pitt) beat a 4-4 ACC team by 2, and South Florida and Rutgers both beat MAC opponents. You have 1 semi-legit bowl win, and that was over a USCe team that was 3-5 in the SEC and had no desire to play that day. So, yeah.

  • http://twitter.com/krmcguire Kevin McGuire

    I wonder what the Big Ten's bowl record would have been if they were paired up against teams from the ACC, Conference USA, and the MAC on a regular basis. The Big Ten plays the Big XII and SEC in multiple bowl match-ups every year, in addition to the usual game against the PAC-10 in the Rose Bowl.

  • http://twitter.com/krmcguire Kevin McGuire

    Charlie, what do you mean you don't recognize that song? It's “Gimme Some Lovin'”! you know, the Blues Brothers???

    Cow Bell Girl jokes aside, that really was one of the worst halftime shows a marching band could perform in a halftime show at a BCS game. Barely any movement, easy songs that are more suited for stand tunes…nothing on the Blue Band, that's for sure.

  • Bill S.

    Here we go again with “chasing national championships”. I don't care about how close you were. The Big East chases national championships as well. I don't get why Big Ten fans use this line of reasoning. LOL. I'm also talking about how you perform in BCS games, not how many teams get invited. The size of the conference assists in the possible invite of two teams when compared to the Big East (I'm sure the supposed strength of the team is considered as well, though).

    Yes, lost relevance in postseason discussions as to their performance. A few more years like this year and you can feel really good about the conference.

  • Bill S.

    You had a good bowl season. I'll give you that. I believe your BCS record still isn't as good as the Big East's, though. I bet you are going to tell me how the teams we played in BCS games weren't as good. I guess they didn't deserve to be there. (Remember, if we are going to go that route, then maybe the two teams the Big Ten is normally getting into a BCS game don't deserve it either). Regardless, the TV ratings don't mean much to me. Yeah, the Rose Bowl is about tradition. Yeah, it's highly rated and viewed. Pitt has played in the Rose Bowl before, but I guess it wasn't then what it is today (I bet it wasn't highly rated that year). LOL. The Cincy loss didn't help the Big East this year, but I don't get into all this stuff like you do about so-and-so quit or didn't have the desire to play. I mean, really. Maybe Georgia Tech quit or didn't have the desire to play last night. Maybe Miami doesn't like playing in anything other than a BCS game, so maybe they could care less against Wisconsin. See how easy that was? When do all of the excuses stop? Forget the griping. It is what it is. It's easy to come up with those lines. Hmm….did you think FSU was really going to let Bowden go out with a loss? WVU loss justified. Do you think Cincy was happy about their coach jumping ship on them for the BCS game? Cincy spanking now ok. See, it's easy.

  • psudevon

    I'm actually going to go with the The-Big-East-is-just-6-and-5-in-bowl-games-and-three-of-those-wins-came-from-Miami-and-Virginia-Tech-and-since-they've-left-you're-really-just-a-total-joke-of-a-conference-with-the-exception-of-the-WVU-run-a-few-years-back-and-guess-what-RichRod-left-for-the-Big-Ten route. But thanks for playing.

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com Charlie

    [Update 1/6/10] And as widely predicted, the Orange Bowl improved from last season's dismal 5.4 rating. Considering last year's rating set a record low for BCS bowls, that's not a hard number to improve on. That's the good news, the bad news is it only improved marginally to a 8.9 preliminary Nielsen rating. An average at best number for BCS bowls not involving mid major programs. This puts the Orange Bowl squarely at 3rd amongst all BCS bowls watched this season, an improvement from dead last in 2009 thanks in large part to a Fiesta Bowl who chose 2 mid majors to face off.

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com Charlie

    Look, the Big East pads their BCS resume against teams from the ACC conference. I would even say the mid majors but you even lost that game to Utah so nevermind. The Big Ten has beaten the last 2 ACC opponents they have faced in the BCS, both in the Orange Bowl.

    Try playing the SEC, Pac 10 and Big 12 consistently in the BCS before you start beating your chest over the Big East BCS track record. Your bowl game lineup is a joke and to compare your post season records against the ACC, MAC and Conference USA to the Big Ten's record against the SEC, Big 12 and Pac 10 is ludicrous.

  • JP

    I believe the Alamo Bowl did a 5.6, which was the highest rated bowl game on ESPN ever. So chalk up another good performance for a Big Ten bowl, though Texas Tech's drama probably had a large part in it.

  • Bill S.

    Another typical argument: “Well, that isn't really the Big East so that shouldn't count.” Talk about trying to twist the facts to suit your needs. I've heard this one before too. You don't negate history as it actually occurred. Do you know how ridiculous that sounds? You act like it didn't happen. In REALITY, it did. Maybe through the eyes of a Big Ten supporter it shouldn't count. Let me be ridiculous and remove Ohio State from your BCS equation. Why? Well, because I speculate that they might leave the conference. Oh, and who cares if you don't think that is right because I think it is (I'm just going to let my opinions carry the same weight that you think yours do–not that I believe they are actually going to leave the Big 10). I've noticed on these message boards that you and Charlie try to assume an authoritative stance on nearly every subject on here–and often without logic or reason. Take out Ohio State and you are, well, 5-8. Why? Because I said so. Do you see how ridiculous it is to start doing this? Let the facts be the facts.

  • Bill S.

    Previous to Cincinnati, the Big East beat BCS teams from both the Big 12 and SEC (better than 2 ACC opponents I would think), so that doesn't mean much.

  • Bill S.

    I don't get what Rich Rod has to do with this. Don't know why that came up. Wait, I bet you are going to try and take another BCS win away from the Big East because he is no longer the coach of a Big East team. LOL.

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com Charlie

    99 Big east lost to SEC Florida
    00 Big east lost to ACC Florida State
    01 Big east (Miami) beats SEC Florida
    02 Big east (Miami) beats Big 12 Nebraska
    03 Big east lost to Big Ten Ohio State
    04 Big east (Miami) beats ACC Florida State
    05 Big east (Pitt) lost to mid major Utah
    06 Big east (WVU) beats SEC Georgia
    07 Big east (Louisville) beats ACC Wake Forest
    08 Big east (WVU) beats Big 12 Oklahoma
    09 Big east (Cinn) lost to ACC Virginia Tech
    10 Big east (Cinn) lost to SEC Florida

    So tell me, with Miami winning 3 of the supposed wins the Big East claims (they aren't in your conference anymore last I checked), you have in fact 6 losses to 3 wins by actual current Big East teams. So yeah, some blockbuster conference you've got there now. Not ONCE in the history of the BCS has a second participant from the Big East been invited to compete. Talk about post season irrelevance.

  • psudevon

    Bill-
    Here are my arguments: We're not talking about the historical implications of the Big East. We're talking about the viability of it in the present and moving forward. So, it doesn't matter what VT and Miami did 10 years ago, when they were members of your conference, it would be like considering a Los Angeles Dodgers victory a win for the city of New York because they used to play in Brooklyn! Ohio State isn't leaving the Big Ten for a better, more competitive conference, and that's exactly the point I'm making with West Virginia. They were among the best teams in college football–a dynasty, if you will, under Pat White, and yet the first chance he gets, Rodriguez bolts to the Big Ten. The Big East isn't an attractive destination, either for teams or coaches.

  • Bill S.

    “You have in fact 6 losses to 3 wins by actual current Big East teams.”

    Wow, this is hilarious!. Please check your math/logic and get back to me. Taking away the wins, but leaving the losses. LOL. I love how you try to pull these fast ones over on me. That's why it is hard to believe much of what you say on here. Give me facts, sir.

    Part of two being selected is due to the size of the conference. Think about it: Are you more likely to get two in from a conference of 8 or 11 and 12?. Don't worry, I know they consider the strength of the teams as well.

  • Bill S.

    “It would be like considering a Los Angeles Dodgers victory a win for the city of New York because they used to play in Brooklyn!”

    This statement doesn't reflect what you are doing. We are not counting Miami Fla and Virginia Tech BCS bowl games for the Big East conference NOW (since they belong in the ACC).

    As far as Rich Rod, it's called money and prestige. And no, having those doesn't necessarily translate into performance on the field.

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com Charlie

    Sure I'll take away the Miami loss as to Ohio State as well. That still give you 5 losses to 3 wins by current Big East teams. So what exactly are you beating your chest about again based on those numbers?

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com Charlie

    Of course you are. If you don't count BCS victories by former Big East teams the current conference members stand at 5 losses to 3 wins. You were the one who brought up post season irrelevance. The only thing irrelevant when it comes to the post season is the Big East. No one wants to watch them, no big major bowl wants to have them. Big Ten is a draw no matter how they perform.

  • Bill S.

    I'm not beating my chest about anything. Please. I just want you to get your facts straight. Seriously. This cracks me up. And you write articles on this website.

    You're still wrong. Keep going.

  • Bill S.

    This: “It would be like considering a Los Angeles Dodgers victory a win for the city of New York because they used to play in Brooklyn!” does not parallel with counting Miami and Virginia Tech BCS bowls as Big East bids WHILE THEY WERE IN THE BIG EAST.

    Counting BCS games by Miami and Virginia Tech after their departure and giving the Big East credit for their BCS bids (because they once played in the Big East) would fit the situation Devon is talking about in his above statement. I'm obviously not doing that.

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