Pac-12 championship preview: On TV ratings, rematch history, the scrimmage duel and more


Six need-to-knows for Week 14 in Pac-12 football …

1. The ratings game

Utah and Oregon collide Friday for the second time in three weeks and for the second time in three years in the Pac-12 championship game.

The conference would be thrilled if this duel generates as many eyeballs as the 2019 title tango.

Oregon’s lopsided victory was the second most-watched Pac-12 championship of the 10 played thus far, generating a 3.5 rating and 5.86 million viewers.

The top-rated title game of them all came in 2014, when Oregon’s victory over Arizona pulled in a 3.7 rating and 6.0 million viewers.

Both the ’14 and ’19 affairs had something in common: College Football Playoff repercussions.

— In ’14, the Ducks were a victory away from clinching a berth in the first-ever playoff and featured the soon-to-be Heisman Trophy winner (quarterback Marcus Mariota).

— In ’19, the Utes were No. 5 in the playoff rankings and very much alive for a bid (until their loss).

Also, the third most-watched Pac-12 championship carried playoff implications: Washington’s 2016 win over Colorado sent the Huskies into the semifinals.

(The ratings and viewership figures are taken from the SportsMediaWatch database.)

No playoff berth is on the line this year, which could impact the audience. Oregon is No. 10 in the current playoff rankings, while Utah is No. 17. The winner will head to the Rose Bowl; the loser is likely headed to the Alamo Bowl.

Here are the viewership totals for the nine titles games in the SportsMediaWatch database, which does not include the 2011 matchup between Oregon and UCLA:

(Note: Saturday games in italics.)

6.0 million: Oregon vs Arizona in 2014
5.86 million: Oregon vs. Utah in 2019
5.67 million: Washington vs. Colorado in 2016
4.9 million: Stanford vs. UCLA in 2012
4.05 million: Washington vs. Utah in 2018
3.85 million: Oregon vs. USC in 2020
3.65 million: Stanford vs. USC in 2017
2.58 million: Stanford vs. USC in 2015
1.45 million: Stanford vs. ASU in 2013

Our best guess for Friday: about four million viewers — an audience comparable to the Washington-Utah game in 2018.

2. Sweeps, not splits

This is the seventh time in 11 seasons that the Pac-12 championship game has been a rematch of a game played earlier in the season.

The winner of the first game is 5-1 in the rematch.

The only reversal of fortune came in 2014, when Arizona beat Oregon early in the season and the Ducks returned the favor with a 51-13 blowout on the big stage.

3. Hello, Las Vegas

The championship …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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