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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Dec. 31-Jan. 1) -- Cotton falls short of Rose, Sugar

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Baylor’s Cotton Bowl collapse to Michigan State dominated D-FW’s daytime Nielsens on New Year’s Day while still falling short of the followup college football championship semi-finals at the Rose and Sugar Bowls.

All three games drew in excess of a half-million viewers, though, with ESPN reaping the ratings whirlwind.

Baylor’s stunning 42-41 loss to Michigan State, after leading by 20 points in the fourth quarter, averaged 502,128 viewers. The elongated shootout ran all the way until 3:44 p.m., with a peak audience of 711,348 for its final minutes.

Then came the Rose Bowl, with Oregon smashing previously unbeaten Florida State by a score of 59-20. Running from 4:12 to 7:49 p.m., the game averaged 746,218 viewers with a high of 850,828 from 7 to 7:15 p.m.

The big finish, Ohio State’s 42-35 upset of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, began a bit late at 8:01 p.m. and stretched to 11:42 p.m. The average audience fell slightly to 718,322 viewers, but with a higher peak crowd than the Rose Bowl -- 871,750 viewers -- from 8:15 to 8:30 p.m.

Wisconsin’s 34-31 Outback Bowl overtime win over Auburn, ending a four-bowl winless streak for Uncle Barky’s alma mater, aired in obscurity on ESPN2 opposite the Cotton Bowl. The game averaged just 76,714 viewers.

On New Year’s Eve, TCU’s 42-3 crushing of Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl, drew 265,012 viewers on ESPN as the network’s Wednesday college football lead-off hitter. That audience was dwarfed by the day’s runaway most-watched TV attraction. Gannett8’s post-midnight portion of Big D NYE, when the fireworks went off over downtown Dallas, exploded to 690,426 viewers. The audience steadily built, beginning with 202,246 viewers in the 10:30 to 10:45 p.m. segment.

CBS11’s inaugural, locally produced New Year’s Eve on the Couch, which ran after the conclusion of CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman, drew 111,584 viewers.

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