ESPN and ABC hit a ratings bonanza during the opening weekend of college football.

Saturday night’s No. 2 Alabama versus No. 2 Michigan game drew 7.749 million viewers and earned a 4.7 rating . The Crimson Tide defeated the Wolverines 41-14 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Across the dial, ESPN’s matchup of Clemson-Auburn in the Chik-fil-A Classic on prime time drew 3.582 million viewers and a 2.5 rating

In contrast, Fox Sports drew 1.352 million viewers for its Saturday night primetime matchup of then-No. 1 USC versus Hawaii. The Trojans won 49-10 and the game earned a 1.4 ratings and a 2 share with adults 18-49.

Viewers tuned in to catch Penn State’s home opener following the school’s tumultuous offseason. The Nittany Lions matchup with Ohio on ESPN drew 3.503 million viewers and a 2.8 rating. While Florida’s season opener against Bowling Green had 2.758 million viewers and a 2.1 rating for the network.

ESPN’s Thursday night showdown between South Carolina and Vanderbilt was the second-highest viewer Thursday night opener in history. The game drew 4.129 million viewers for the network, up 113 percent from last season’s opener with UNLV and Wisconsin (1.937 million). It was second only to the Arizona versus Georgia Tech in 1994 which drew 4.174 million viewers.

Michigan State’s 17-13 win over Boise State Friday night was ESPN’s third highest-rated and most-viewed Friday night telecast, grabbing 4.194 million viewers and a 3.2 rating for the network.


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