FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2006, file photo, Texas quarterback Vince Young celebrates after Texas beat Southern California 41-38 in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Pasadena, Calif. The 2006 game was on in nearly 22 percent of American homes with televisions; the second-best number is under 18 percent. Now, seven years later, the Notre Dame-Alabama matchup may finally challenge that Rose Bowl’s TV ratings record. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Erich Schlegel) MAGS OUT, NO SALES , TV OUT, INTERNET USE AP MEMBERS ONLY, MANDATORY CREDIT
NEW YORK (AP) — Two undefeated teams, three Heisman Trophy finalists, five lead changes and 19 seconds left when the winning touchdown was scored.
No other BCS title game has come close to matching that perfect formula for broad appeal. The 2006 tilt between Texas and Southern California was on in nearly 22 percent of American homes with televisions; the second-best number is under 18 percent.
Now, seven years later, a matchup may finally challenge that Rose Bowl’s TV ratings record.
No. 1 Notre Dame, so popular it can stay independent and negotiate its own television contract, is competing for its first championship since the 1988 season. Notre Dame’s opponent, No. 2 Alabama, is a big name in its own right, made bigger by two titles in the last three years and the Southeastern Conference’s run of six straight crowns.
“It sets up really remarkable possibilities,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN’s senior vice president for college sports programming.
Just as fans and media break down position-by-position battles for the Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide, a look at how this year’s matchup stacks up against the record-holders from 2006:
— NAME RECOGNITION. Texas and USC are hardly slouches in the tradition and popularity departments, but Notre Dame is in its own Login to read more