The Jan. 1 Rose Bowl between Ohio State and Utah had some strong ratings to match the thrilling action.
The contest averaged 16.6M viewers, which is tied for the second-most viewed game of the season on ESPN. The Cotton Bowl Classic was also at 16.6M viewers, while the Orange Bowl averaged 17.2M viewers.
Those are the three most-viewed games of the season, while the other NY6 bowls averaged 10.7M viewers.
📺 VIEWERSHIP UPDATE: ESPN's presentation of #CFBPlayoff Semis & New Year's Six 🆙 15% over 2020
🏈 3 most-viewed games of 2021-22 season
🏈 Non-Semifinal NY6 bowls average 10.7M viewers, third-best non-Semifinal NY6 on record
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) January 4, 2022
The Rose Bowl in particular was a wild back-and-forth affair. Utah had multiple double-digit leads against Ohio State, but the latter kept punching back.
Heck, there were 42 combined points scored in the fourth quarter as Utah was up 35-21 at halftime.
It ultimately led to the Buckeyes finding their way back in the second half as receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba couldn’t be stopped. He finished with 346 yards and three touchdowns on 15 receptions.
His 346 yards are not only a career-high but also the most by any player in any bowl game in college football history.
The Buckeyes won 48-45 after outscoring the Utes 17-7 in the fourth quarter.
All of these ratings are spectacular, but the National Championship between Georgia and Alabama on Monday will surely blow them out of the park.