Alamo Bowl draws largest rating in ESPN bowl history

The saga of Mike Leach proved to be irresistible to football fans -- both devoted to Texas Tech and those who with more casual viewership.

Saturday's broadcast of Texas Tech's 41-31 victory over Michigan State earned the highest rating in ESPN bowl history. The game earned a 5.6 rating, translating to about 5,553,630 households that watched the game.

Valero Alamo Bowl officials announced that the game will finish as the No. 7 highest-rated game among all bowls shown so far this season, trailing only the five BCS bowl games and the Capital One Bowl.

“Our hats go off to the leadership and strength of character of the coaches and players from Texas Tech and Michigan State,” said Derrick Fox, the president and CEO of the Valero Alamo Bowl. "It’s gratifying that fans across the nation again tuned into the Valero Alamo Bowl and delivered tremendous exposure for the City of San Antonio and our game sponsors.”

The San Antonio-based bowl has now produced three of the top six most-watched bowl games in ESPN history. The 2010 game holds the top spot with the 2006 Alamo Bowl (Texas vs. Iowa) as second all-time and the 2005 MasterCard Alamo Bowl (Nebraska vs. Michigan) as sixth.

Those numbers show that Leach's contentious breakup with Texas Tech was widely watched and interesting to the nation.

Now, the next question will be whether his replacement proves to be as interesting to the nation.