The Notre Dame BCS ranking of number one to close out the season and assured spot in the college football season's final game means that the 2013 National Championship game will be one for the ages when it comes to TV ratings. As a team with a rabid fan base that stretches throughout the United States and abroad, representative of a class and tradition largely unparalleled by any non-service academy playing football in the United States today, Notre Dame will attract millions of viewers regardless of what SEC opponent it faces on January 7, 2013.
The Golden Dome is certainly back in the limelight and in case you still harbored doubts, check out the ratings from Saturday's night capstone of the Irish's 12-0 regular season. Notre Dame's win against Southern Cal Saturday night on ABC drew a whopping 10.3 overnight rating, which translates to 10.3% of households in the 56 urban TV markets measured for overnights. That number is up 151% over comparable coverage of a Notre Dame-Stanford game last year. It's also this season's highest college football rating, clobbering the previous high of a 7.0 overnight for CBS' Alabama-LSU game on November 3rd. And, even more astoundingly, that 10.3% was the highest overnight for a regular season college football game on ABC or ESPN since a No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 1 Ohio State game on ABC six years ago.
So much for SEC college football fans' claim of having the most dedicated fan base in America.
Additionally, one can imagine just how much these numbers will jump with ND facing off against either Georgia or Alabama, two traditional southern powerhouses who will vie against one another for a title shot against the Irish, playing in this Saturday's SEC Championship game on CBS, (which should draw some pretty decent viewership numbers in its own right).
In the interim, Fighting Irish fans everywhere will be hoping that the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide wage a war of attrition for the ages, leaving a few hobbled soldiers for the national championship game on January 7, 2012. Notre Dame also hopes that Heisman voters will bear witness to the fact that there is no finer a college student-athlete this year than ND linebacker, Manti Te'o, who has certainly staked his claim to being the first defensive player awarded the honor since Michigan's Charles Woodson in 1997. Has any player in college football meant more to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strength of his top-ranked team, (and in a way that was so humble and understated, unlike a certain player named Tebow a few years back), amidst such adversity, than Te'o has this year?
Like the Notre Dame BCS ranking at present, this excellent young man Te'o should also be number one in America's hearts.