Consider Fox's Boise State-Texas Christian matchup in Monday's Fiesta Bowl. Coming from supposedly less-than-all-powerful conferences, their perfect records weren't enough to get them into Thursday's title game — with the unspoken assumption being they aren't brand names that the masses really want to watch.
Maybe so. Boise State's 17-10 win drew a respectable 8.6 overnight rating, which translates to 8.6% of TV households in 56 urban markets. But consider last year's Fiesta Bowl, which pitted mediagenic Texas and Ohio State: Its overnight was 35% higher.
There are caveats. Last year's game was on Sunday, TV's most-watched night, and the Boise TV market isn't included in overnights.
I think the real issue is that this game meant absolutely nothing. People wanted to see these two teams against the big boys from BCS conferences, and the BCS screwed over the fans. Sure, there might be other factors, but I think that was the biggest one.