When NCAA sanctions against USC included a two-year postseason ban, the bowl season took a major hit.
Or at least that's what the Wall Street Journal says. "When Southern California is in a bowl game, TV viewers tune in," the business newspaper reported this week.
How so? Well, the WSJ wanted to measure which teams moved the needle among viewers: "To figure out which teams are the most popular TV draws during the bowl season, we looked at the national viewership figures for every bowl since 1998. We then ranked each school based on whether it exceeded or fell short of its bowls' average audience size."
And the numbers showed that USC was the top draw, even over Notre Dame.
The best was USC, which exceeded its expected audience size by 29%. The most famous example of this was its epic national-title loss to Texas in 2006, which drew 35.6 million viewers—33% more than what the title game has averaged since its inception.
The ACC won't like the numbers. Four of the worst draws hail from the conference: Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia.