Michigan-Ohio State rivalry game draws massive ratings

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

"The Game" certainly lived up to its name.

Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State showdown, with the Big Ten East championship and possibly a College Football Playoff berth on the line, was the most-watched college football game of the season.

The game, won by Michigan, 42-27, drew nearly 15.9 million viewers during the noon window on Fox. That was an increase of more than 70% the viewership of the season's previous most-watched game. The previous best before this past weekend was the Oct. 30 Michigan State-Michigan game, a 37-33 Spartans' victory which drew 9.29 million viewers, also on Fox.

The fans fill the field after Michigan defeated Ohio State, 42-27.

Saturday's Alabama-Auburn game, another game with significant playoff implications, went four OTs and was won by the Tigers, 24-22, surpassed the MSU-UM game, drawing more than 10.3 million on CBS.

According to Sports Media Watch, Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State game was the most-watched in the rivalry since 2016, when 16.8 million viewers watched on ABC as the second-ranked Buckeyes beat the third-ranked Wolverines, 30-27, in double-overtime — and in controversial fashion, when Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was awarded a critical first down in the second OT. Saturday's game was the most-watched college football game ever on Fox.

On Saturday, then-No. 5 Michigan beat then-No. 2 Ohio State to snap an eight-game losing streak in the rivalry, and earn its first-ever trip to the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis. The Wolverines play Iowa this weekend, with a spot in the four-team CFP on the line.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984