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Fiesta Bowl Scores Decent Ratings

Everybody is all for reducing the national debt. Except, maybe, when it comes to tax loopholes that affect their own tax returns.

So while everybody knows college football should let all comers get a shot at its national title through a playoff, we might feel differently when it comes to our own TV remotes.

Consider Fox's Boise State-TCU matchup in Monday's Fiesta Bowl. The schools come from supposedly less-than-all-powerful conferences, and 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 percent of TV households in 56 urban markets. But consider last year's Fiesta Bowl, which featured mediagenic Texas and Ohio State: Its overnight was 35 percent higher.

There are caveats. Last year's game was on a Sunday, TV's most-watched night, and the Boise TV market isn't included in overnights.

Factoring popularity into sports championships might be un-American. Imagine if the NFL put Brett Favre vs. the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl because it might draw the most eyeballs. (But admit it, you'd watch.)

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