Michigan vs. Michigan State football is most-watched college game of 2021 season

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The TV ratings for Saturday's rivalry game between Michigan football and Michigan State put the "big" in "Big Noon Kickoff."

Nearly 9.3 million watched MSU's 37-33 win in East Lansing, according to an MSU athletics employee and an entertainment website. It's an incredible number for an in-state matchup, even one featuring 7-0 teams.

The Spartans' comeback was the highest-viewed game of the season, tweeted MSU associate athletic director Kevin Pauga.

JEFF SEIDEL: How MSU's Mel Tucker is building a program that'll last for a long time

MITCH ALBOM: Kenneth Walker III, new to Michigan-MSU rivalry, put stamp on it in epic fashion

RAINER SABIN: Kenneth Walker III a superstar, but MSU unsung hero torments Wolverines again

These ratings are impressive, but not a total surprise seeing as there were early College Football Playoff implications on the line, ESPN also hosted its college football show at Spartan Stadium and sports betting is now legal.

Regular-season college football games, in recent years, rarely push past 8 million viewers, unless Alabama, Clemson or Notre Dame is involved, per data compiled by sportsmediawatch.com. The 9.28 million figure isn't too far off the average of 10-11 million average during the 2021 World Series nor the 9.9 million average of the 2021 NBA Finals.

It was the most-watched Big Ten game since Penn State vs. Ohio State (9.43) in 2019, according to sportsmediawatch.com. It easily outdrew Saturday's primetime game — ironically, Penn State vs. Ohio State — which had garnered 7.05 million.

[ The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here's how you can gain access to our most exclusive content. ]

If you were one of the few people who were not watching Saturday, the Spartans closed a 16-point deficit in the second half to stun favorited Michigan. The Wolverines couldn't find the end zone after building a scoring 30 points in the first three quarters while Kenneth Walker III ran for five touchdowns.

With the win, MSU might be included in the initial CFP rankings released Tuesday. The Spartans are the road this week, 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Purdue. Michigan hosts Indiana at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Follow the Free Press on Facebook and Twitter for more news. Tyler Davis can be contacted at tjdavis@freepress.com or on Twitter @TDavisFreep.

Your subscription makes work like this possible. Get exclusive subscriber content and more here.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan vs. Michigan State football dominated TV ratings