After last season's national championship game drew an uninspiring 18.7 million viewers, it would have been reasonable to guess the 2021 college football opening weekend might suffer, too. Especially since the biggest games featured many of the brands like the ones people tuned out during the national championship. But that was not the case in the slightest.
Georgia-Clemson averaged just shy of 8 million viewers — before factoring in streaming or out-of-home viewers — on Saturday night, more than the initial numbers for every NBA Finals game except Game Six when the Bucks won the title. Even if people aren't as excited to watch the same teams in the title game every year, there's no doubt people want college football.
Notre Dame and Florida State also drew a big crowd on Sunday night, peaking at 8.8 million viewers. ESPN says that makes it the second-highest-viewed Sunday game on opening weekend since 1996.
So if there was any doubt as to whether or not America was clamoring for the return of college football, the people have spoken. Can't wait for Week Two.