Southeastern Conference football has always been of utmost importance to each school's fans and to the region itself, but the television ratings from the SEC on CBS brand are continuing to show a growing interest in the South's best sporting product.
Last Saturday's primetime game between LSU and Alabama on CBS garnered an average national household rating/share of 6.9/12, which is the second highest-rated game of the 2013 season behind the Alabama-Texas A&M game. The game that was the rematch of Johnny Manziel vs. Alabama received a 8.6/19 rating/share on CBS on Sept. 14. The LSU-Alabama game had a one percent ratings increase from last year, and remains a steady ratings-getter for CBS every year. Through 9 weeks, CBS's average of 6.4 million viewers is the most watched season of SEC football since their package began in 2001.
A team in the SEC has won the last seven consecutive college football national titles and the conference's brand has never been stronger. The teams are staying elite, which gives the premier matchups a heightened meaning and drives up ratings. The more important the games are in the jostling for the national championship, the more people will watch.
With two-time defending champion and current No. 1 team Alabama, every game is a potential season-ender. Every team gives the Crimson Tide their best shot, and millions have tuned in to watch Texas A&M and LSU try and fail. It's no coincidence that the games in which the defending champions have the best chance of losing received the highest ratings of the season. When the SEC on CBS's product is to broadcast the games of the highest importance to a region of the country with some of the more rabid fanbases, the ratings will be as astronomical as they have been.
CBS has done a great job aligning themselves with the SEC and has made their 3:30 p.m. ET game on Saturday the mandatory destination for fans of the conference and fans of college football in general. A mid-afternoon time slot on the weekend doesn't seem like a hotbed of high ratings, but when the games have major postseason implications, audiences will find their way to their television sets.
As it stands at this point in the season, the SEC on CBS has the highest-rated college football package of any network, and the SEC's recent dominance is just a happy coincidence for "TV's Most Watched Network."