The CFP Ratings Are In and They're ... Not Great

I knew when the College Football Playoff rankings weren't on everybody's Twitter timeline first thing Monday morning that they weren't going to be good. It turns out the two games were the second- and third-least watched semifinals in CFP history, with 16.6 million (Alabama-Cincinnati) and 17.2 million (Georgia-Michigan) viewers. Anything on television that is down this year from 2020, when almost everything was the lowest it had ever been, is very bad news.

For reasons nobody understands, these games occurred on New Year's Eve rather than New Year's Day, which would have seen them played on a Saturday. Then take into account the fact the games were decided by a combined 44 points and you get ratings like these.

I'd assume part of the hold-up is that the Rose Bowl refuses to play on any day other than January 1, which limits what the Playoff can do with the semifinals when one isn't in Pasadena. But if the Rose Bowl wants to be in the rotation, it should be the CFP that has them by the balls, not the other way around. Even playing the semis the Saturday before New Year's — they were played on December 28 in 2019 — would be better than the first one kicking off at 3:30 on a Friday.

The real ratings test will come when Georgia and Alabama play on Monday night. The numbers weren't too kind to Bama and Ohio State in last year's national title game and UGA doesn't really add any new blood intrigue to the equation. We could play this game on a Saturday too now that it wouldn't be up against an NFL Playoff game, but I'm sure we'll keep playing it on Monday for no apparent reason going forward.

I, for one, am very excited for this national championship. We'll see how many other people are.