Pierce: Sun Bowl is big ratings winner
TV ratings • That is in no small part because of networks and time slots.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It doesn't really come as a surprise that more viewers tuned in to see the Sun Bowl than the Armed Forces Bowl. For reasons that really don't have a lot to do with the teams involved.

But would you believe that more viewers watched the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl than watched the Armed Forces Bowl?

It's true. And, again, for reasons that really don't have a lot to do with the teams involved.

The Utah-Georgia Tech matchup in the Sun Bowl, which aired at noon MT on Saturday, Dec. 31, on CBS, averaged 4.1 million viewers.

The Utah State-Ohio matchup in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, which aired at 3:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, Dec. 17, on ESPN, averaged 2.4 million viewers.

The BYU-Tulsa matchup in the Armed Forces Bowl, which aired at 10 a.m. MT on Friday, Dec. 30, averaged 2 million viewers.

Those days and times are important. It's, to some degree, a matter of distribution, HUTs and PUTs. (That's Homes Using Television and Persons Using Television in TV lingo.)

The Sun Bowl had the advantage of airing on CBS, which is available in virtually all of the 114.7 million homes the Nielsen Co. estimates are equipped with televisions. That's about 15 million more homes than ESPN.

Advantage, Utes.

That does not account for the entire difference, however. And you could certainly argue that a matchup between teams from the Pac-12 and the ACC is more attractive than independent vs. Conference USA or WAC vs. MAC.

But it's also true that there were fewer HUTs and PUTs on a Friday morning than there were on a Saturday afternoon. And far fewer football fans were looking for a game that aired Friday at 10 a.m. MT.

Hey, the Potato Bowl even pushed into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones.

By means of comparison, the Orange Bowl game (West Virginia vs. Clemson) was the lowest-rated BCS game in history with 7.2 million viewers. But while that game - which turned into a blowout - was a disappointment, ESPN and CBS are both happy with the numbers they got for the Potato, Armed Forces and Sun Bowls.

It's a matter of expectations and cost. All three of those games were worthwhile for the network that televised them.

And all three were easy for Aggie, Cougar and Ute fans to watch.

MEAN OL' HOLLY ROWE: Way back in 1992, ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe berated me via email for being "mean" after I mocked her for wishing viewers "Happy Holly-days" during the Las Vegas Bowl.

So it was with some amusement that I watched her elbow another reporter out of the way to get to Michigan coach Brady Hoke after the Sugar Bowl.

Wow, she's mean!

Scott D. Pierce's column appears Mondays and Fridays in The Mix. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce; read his blog at sltrib.com/blogs/tv.