Huskies, Boilermakers brawl brings high ratings

A competitive Rose Bowl contest between Washington and Purdue on ABC produced the highest ratings Monday among the New Year’s Day bowl games.

According to 48-market Nielsen overnights, the Washington Huskies’ 34-24 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers grabbed a strong 13.9 rating/23 share — 3% lower in ratings than last year’s Stanford-Wisconsin game (14.3/26) but 2% higher than the UCLA-Wisconsin matchup of two years ago (13.6/24).

The Rose Bowl, considered the “grandaddy” of college football’s bowl games, was easily the highest-rated among the five bowl games airing Monday on the broadcast networks. The primetime matchup between Oregon State and Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, which followed the Rose Bowl on ABC, came in second with a 10.4/17; that’s down by 5% and 7% vs. the last two years, respectively, but not bad given that this year’s game produced a lopsided victory for Oregon State.

Elsewhere, ABC’s coverage of the Florida Citrus Bowl (Michigan-Auburn) averaged a 7.8/15 (down from last year but ahead of 1999), while NBC’s Gator Bowl (Virginia Tech-Clemson) scored a 4.7/9 (up from last year but down from ’99), tying with Fox’s Cotton Bowl (Kansas State-Tennessee), which was up from each of the last two years.

ABC, which is home to college football’s Bowl Championship Series, tonight will air the Orange Bowl matchup between Oklahoma and Florida State, which will determine the season’s No. 1 team.

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