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Miami-Florida Delivered ESPN's Highest College Football TV Rating in 3 Years

ORLANDO, FL - AUGUST 24: Lamical Perine #2 of the Florida Gators runs with the ball in the first half against the Miami Hurricanes  in the Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

ESPN gave us a nice little treat in what has been unofficially dubbed "Week 0", as we got to see a promising freshman quarterback come THIS close to upsetting a Top 10 team in the first game of the FBS college football season.

Feleipe Franks, Dan Mullen, and the Florida Gators escaped Camping World Stadium in Orlando with a close 24-20 win over Jarren Williams, Manny Diaz, and Miami. The renewing of such an old, violent rivalry was ratings gold, as the 4.1 number it brought in was the highest-rated college football game on ESPN since 2016.

One important change was the move to a 7:00 p.m. ET time slot, as compared to the usual 8:00 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. that ESPN will use for both college football and Monday Night Football, which has slowly been dropping in the ratings.

If the ESPN producers finally wise up, they'll realize that earlier start times on the East Coast (especially for singularly-isolated showcase games like this) will drive ratings. The NBA realized that, and are moving primetime games to earlier starts.

Be it because of an old rivalry, a Top-10 team, or a simple time switch, Miami-Florida was an event Saturday night, and the worldwide leader should be feeling confident about the rest of the season if this game was able to pull in a 4.1 on opening night.