Notre Dame-USC rivalry game blows up television ratings

Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Theo Riddick (6) runs the ball against the Southern California Trojans during the second half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE)

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, in all likelihood you’re watching them.

Who are we talking about? The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, of course.

Whereas teams like Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Oregon and Kansas State all have regional and conference affiliations, the independent Irish boast fans from coast to coast and even overseas. Their game against Navy packed the stadium they played in. No biggie, except for the fact that the game was played in Dublin.

The squad took the field on Saturday, with a trip to the BCS National Championship on the line way out in Hollywood. The entire country tuned in to watch Notre Dame face off against the USC Trojans.

According to ESPN, the game received a 10.3 overnight Nielsen rating, higher than every BCS bowl in 2011 save for the actual national championship game.

Snap.

But wait, boys and girls, there’s more: According to TV By the Numbers, the Notre Dame-USC game scored a preliminary rating of 4.4 amongst adults aged 18-49, drawing a share of 13. The game dominated the night for ABC; Indiana Jones was broadcast at the same time on NBC, drawing a paltry rating of 0.9 and a share of only three.

But that is not football. Fox had the rights to the Stanford-UCLA game also broadcast in prime time, but limped to a 0.5 rating and a share of one.

The latest BCS standings were released on Sunday night, officially confirming Notre Dame’s spot in the title game.

Who the Golden Domers are playin is still up in the air, but one thing is certain: The TV ratings are going to be unprecedented, whether you are a fan of the historic program or not.

Statistics from TV by the Numbers were used in this report.

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