The TV ratings are in from a stacked Saturday slate of Week 1 games. ESPN’s ABC Tripleheader of Oklahoma-Tulane, Alabama-Miami and Georgia-Clemson marked the best Kickoff Saturday tripleheader for the network since 2017 with an average viewership of over 5 million.
The opening Saturday was up 9% from 2019 and up 11% from the 2018 season. The numbers are based on Nielsen Fast Nationals ratings and do not include full out-of-home viewership.
Georgia vs. Clemson marked the biggest game of the weekend. The top-five matchup in Charlotte renewed a long rivalry and had College Football Playoff implications. In the primetime slot, the game brought in an average of 7.9 million viewers. The viewership was also up 16% from the comparable game in 2019.
Even better for ABC and ESPN, the game of the weekend is on track to become the second most-viewed Kickoff Saturday game on any network over the last 15 years.
The defending national champions always draw eyeballs, and that was the case on Saturday. No. 1 Alabama met No. 14 Miami in the Chick-fil-A Classic in Atlanta. Even though the Crimson Tide routed the Hurricanes 44-13, the audience peaked with 6.1 million viewers near the end of the first half.
ESPN shakes up FPI rankings after turbulent college football Saturday
ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) measures team strength based on predicting future team performances while representing how many points above or below average a team is. After the first full college football Saturday, ESPN’s FPI rankings saw some major shakeups.
Alabama remains No. 1 overall after it got off to a great start on Saturday night with a dominating 44-13 victory over Miami. Quarterback Bryce Young showed that he is capable of playing at the elite level that Alabama is used to seeing from its quarterbacks. ESPN predicts Alabama to have a 42.8% chance of winning the national championship.
The DJ Uiagalelei-era at quarterback certainly isn’t beginning how Clemson was hoping it would. The Tigers’ offense was completely stifled by Georgia’s defense. The Bulldogs came away with a 10-3 win over Clemson. Despite starting with a loss, Clemson still sits towards the top of FPI rankings at No. 2.
Georgia clocks in at No. 5. The Bulldogs did not score an offensive touchdown, with its lone trip to the end zone coming off of a pick-six. They shut down Clemson’s offense in every way possible. The offense struggled as well, but Georgia was able to secure a major win in Week 1.
And Miami fell to No. 12. Some thought that the Hurricanes could pull the ultimate upset over Alabama. That was not the case, as Miami looked out of place in a 44-13 loss.