First off, here's the number you need to know about Nebraska-Iowa: 2.6
That was the Nielsen Rating for ABC's 2012 day-after-Thanksgiving football telecast featuring the Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes. That translates to 2,969,000 households.
Is that good, for a Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Central time? Yes. It was the best rating for an ABC Black Friday game since 2008. Which is kind of surprising, since it involved two teams with small population, and one of the two teams didn't go into the regular-season's final game with a chance at bowl-eligibility.
The Iowa-Nebraska game in 2011 had a 2.2 rating. The Colorado-Nebraska Black Friday game in 2010 had a 1.8. That was a 2:30 p.m. game.
Of the other college games televised on Nov. 23, Nebraska-Iowa stacked up pretty well.
LSU-Arkansas, 1:30-5 p.m. (all times Central) CBS. 3.0 rating
West Virginia-Iowa State, 2:30-6 p.m. ABC. 1.8
Washington-Washington State, 2:30-6:15 p.m. Fox. 1.4
Remember, it's a Friday afternoon, a big shopping and travel day, and there are some of us who have to work that day. Like me, who will hit the road to Lincoln on Thanksgiving this year if I'm still in this position 10 months from now. And let me tell you, downtown Lincoln was dead on Thanksgiving night in 2011. I ate at a burger buffet and watched a football game matching the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers on TV. They're playing again Sunday, I hear.
Anyway, Iowa and Nebraksa will ask the Administrators Council of the Big Ten Conference to allow the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers to continue playing their game on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and the formal request will be made Feb. 25-26.
I assume a rubber stamp is all that is needed. ABC will want a game from the conference for that Friday time slot.
I'd wondered if ABC would suggest the Big Ten present a better matchup, considering the first two Black Friday clashes between the two were dull. Nebraska won 20-7 in 2011 and 13-7 last year. But maybe no one else in the Big Ten really wants that Friday date, national television or not. Or, perhaps that 2.6 rating is enough to soothe ABC.
For comparisons of afternoon college games played the following day:
Michigan-Ohio State, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. ABC. 6.3
Florida-Florida State, 2:30-6 p.m., ABC. 5.6
Auburn-Alabama, 2:30-5:45 p.m., CBS. 2.2
Baylor-Texas Tech, 1:30-5:30 p.m., Fox. 1.0
The Nebraska-Georgia Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1 had a 6.6 rating. Last Sunday's Oklahoma City-Los Angeles Lakers NBA game on ABC drew a 4.9.
The Houston Texans-Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game on Fox? A 15.2.Sources: Sports Media Watch and Sports Business Daily