Fans were extremely compelled by Lane Kiffin’s first game as Ole Miss head coach against his former team, Alabama football, and boss Nick Saban. They were given a treat, as long as they like offensive football.
The Crimson Tide outlasted the Rebels, winning the shootout 63-48. All things considered though, Lane Kiffin has to be pretty pleased with how his team competed, even if he won’t admit it after the loss. Those 48 points are the most that an unranked team has ever scored against Alabama football.
The two sides combined for 111 points, an eye-popping 1,370 yards, and 68 first downs on the day. While it wasn’t the football that some Alabama fans have grown accustomed to, for the casual viewer, the shootout was welcomed.
The ratings for the game on ESPN certainly lend to that idea. Saturday night’s game put up a huge ratings number, during a season where college football ratings have generally been on a downward trend, along with the rest of the sports world.
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) October 13, 2020
As the graphic reads, it was the top game of the season so far for ESPN, and even more surprisingly, the top Alabama ESPN game since 2017. That’s a very good sign for ESPN and college football overall.
There were definitely some things helping it. Lane Kiffin is a compelling figure, especially when placed against Nick Saban, who he previously worked for as Alabama head coach. The points being scored also likely drew eyeballs, and the main games up against it—Clemson vs. Miami and Notre Dame vs. Florida State—didn’t wind up being super competitive. In any event, it is welcome news for the network and the larger college football world.
Tuscaloosa will be at the center of the football world on Saturday, with Alabama football hosting Georgia, in what promises to be one of the biggest regular season games of the season. Ole Miss, meanwhile, travels to face a feisty Arkansas team that got robbed of an upset against Auburn Saturday.