|Saturday Night Football|
|Premieres August 30|
|Timeslot Occupants||Saturday Night Football||Nightline Primetime|
Best Case: Football franchises are matchup-driven, and it takes quite the slew of bad ones for a main football franchise to drop by 16% year-to-year. They're bound to be better this year, and an expanded playoff in college football brings more viewers into the tent late in the season. A bounce-back to 2.05.
Worst Case: Primetime NFL franchises thrive because they're the only game in town in that timeslot. The increased fragmentation of the college football audience is simply diluting the national interest in one big game on ABC. Last year's -16% was the start of an inevitable downward trend. It's down about 20% more to a 1.45.
Likeliest: It may be a contractual thing, but it seems like ABC only barely gets the preferential treatment these days (with competing ESPN games often hanging similar ratings). However, I do think ABC got an underwhelming slate last year, lacking that truly huge game it's had in past years. And six of the last nine games were decided by three touchdowns or more! Chances are it bounces back a bit Plus-wise. Down 7% to a 1.68.
|CFB on Fox|
|Premieres August 30|
|Timeslot Occupants||CFB on Fox|
Best Case: The Pac-12 is becoming the best conference in the nation, and it boasts a couple top Heisman candidates this season. The -25% drop last year was just ridiculous, and it's got to bounce back from that in a big way. It goes all the way back up to 1.00, nearing the average from two years ago.
Worst Case: All that stuff about fragmentation and regionalization that I said above. People won't watch West Coast games just because they're on a broadcast network, and we saw that in the absolutely dreadful rating for USC/Fresno St. the first week. 0.50.
Likeliest: Fox legitimately has the biggest game of the week tonight in Oregon/Michigan State, which is a rarity for them. So that will be an interesting test. This franchise was a bit unlucky in that the biggest game Fox owned in 2013 (Oklahoma/Baylor) aired on a Thursday on Fox Sports 1. Despite a horrible week one rating, I think it will also trend better this year. -9% to a 0.72.
NOTE: I didn't want to make any changes from the initial analysis, but be advised that this refers to a game "tonight" that already happened in a past week.
The Network to Watch: A tie between both football networks. Can they bounce back from really off years last season, or is broadcast network college football an antiquated idea?
The Picks: Football.