The SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome that ended in a heartbreaking loss for the Georgia Bulldogs was a big win for CBS, as well as the Alabama Crimson Tide. The game pulled in a 9.8 Nielsen rating, making it the most-watched college football game of the season.

A 9.8 rating means that based on Nielsen estimates 9.8 percent of US households with a television watched the game. The previous highest-rated game of the college season was the University of Southern California’s battle with no. 1 Notre Dame, which posted a 9.4 national rating.

CBS said the SEC title game averaged 16.2 million viewers across the country, peaking at 21.8 million for the final half hour of the broadcast.

It was an even bigger ratings coup for CBS stations in Georgia and Alabam. Almost one-third of metro Atlanta households tuned in and more than half of all households in Birmingham, Al., 52.6 percent, watched. The local rating of 32.2 was the highest for any football game, college or pro, on Atlanta TV since this year’s Super Bowl, which posted a 51.3 rating.

The highest local ratings for Falcons games so far this season are 31.8 for last Thursday’s game against the Saints and 31.1 for the Nov. 4 game against the Cowboys.

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