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Auburn-Alabama Classic Is College Football Season’s Most-Watched Game

CBS drew 13.8 million for Saturday's Iron Bowl

Auburn Alabama NCAA Football Ratings
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Last Saturday’s wild Auburn-Alabama game on CBS was the season’s most-watched college contest, drawing 13.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

That gives the “SEC on CBS” the three most-watched college football games of the season — all featuring the defending champion Crimson Tide of Alabama. The two biggest draws prior to Saturday were Alabama’s mid-September victory over Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M (13.7 million) and the Tide’s victory over LSU in primetime last month (11.9 million).

Not surprisingly, CBS Sports is on pace for its top-rated season of college football since it began airing primarily SEC games in 2001.

Saturday’s much-anticipated game, which appeared headed toward overtime in the closing seconds, was instead clinched on Auburn’s 109-yard return of a missed Alabama field goal as time ran out, giving the Tigers a stunning 34-28 victory over their in-state rivals in the Iron Bowl.

The second biggest game of the day Saturday was ESPN’s own SEC matchup, between Texas A&M and Missouri, which drew 5.71 million viewers in primetime.

Alabama won’t be featured in this coming Saturday’s late-afternoon SEC Championship game on CBS, which will feature Auburn against Missouri. Among the day’s other big games is Fox’s primetime Big 10 Championship between Ohio State and Michigan State.