The months of hype for the Alabama-Texas A&M football showdown certainly paid off for CBS.
Alabama's win over Johnny Manziel and the Aggies drew a 9.0 rating for CBS, making it the highest-rated regular season college football game in seven years. The game also drew higher ratings than all but three games from last season: the SEC Championship Game between Georgia and Alabama, the Rose Bowl and the BCS National Championship.
CBS improved 200 percent from its first telecast last year, Alabama vs. Arkansas (3.0 rating). It's also up from last year's CBS broadcast of A&M vs. Alabama, which saw Manziel lead the Aggies to an upset win on the road vs. the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide. That game drew a 6.6 overnight rating. Overall, it was CBS' highest-rated afternoon football game since 1990, when Miami-Notre Dame drew a 10.1.
Huge ratings for this game more or less confirms that the hype behind "Johnny Football" has turned him into a star and the Texas A&M Aggies into a bona fide ratings draw. While Alabama is always a solid TV team, the combination of their brand name and all of the controversy and promotion surrounding Manziel has turned this game into a whole different kind of beast.
One wonders what CBS might rate if Manziel comes back for one more year in College Station and these two schools meet again. Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 in Tuscaloosa is likely already in permanent ink on the CBS calendar if he does.