Most-watched Big Ten football games of 2016

A look at the Nielsen ratings for regular season games involving Big Ten teams.

The Nov. 26 Michigan-Ohio State overtime classic was, not surprisingly, the year's highest rated college football game, but how did that blockbuster compare to other games involving Big Ten teams?

According to ratings compiled by Sports Media Watch, six of the 15 most-watched games in college football included at least one Big Ten team. That includes Ohio State's narrow win against Wisconsin (5th overall), LSU-Wisconsin (10th), Michigan-Wisconsin (11th), Ohio State-Penn State (14th) and Michigan-Iowa (15th). 

Here is the viewership-ranked list of Big Ten games for the 2016 regular season. (Naturally, games on ABC, Fox and CBS have an inherent audience-size advantage over sports networks. Not included are games on ESPNEWS, SEC Network, CBS Sports Network, Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Network, which are not Nielsen rated.)

Viewers

Game

Network

Date

16,841,000 Michigan vs. Ohio State ABC Nov. 26
8,964,000 Ohio State vs. Wisconsin ABC Oct. 15
7,832,000 LSU vs. Wisconsin ABC Sept. 3
6,851,000 Wisconsin vs. Michigan ABC Oct. 1
6,478,000 Ohio State. vs Penn State ABC Oct. 22
6,442,000 Michigan vs. Iowa ABC Nov. 12
5,843,000 Ohio State vs. Michigan State ESPN Nov. 19
5,804,000 Ohio State vs. Oklahoma FOX Sept. 17
4,987,000 Michigan State vs. Notre Dame NBC Sept. 17
4,969,000 Nebraska vs. Ohio St. ABC Nov. 5
4,769,000 Indiana vs. Michigan ESPN Nov. 19
4,647,000 Michigan vs. Michigan St. ESPN Oct. 29
4,228,000 Oregon vs. Nebraska ABC Sept. 17
4,169,000 Nebraska vs. Iowa ABC Nov. 25
4,016,000 Tulsa vs. Ohio St. ABC Sept. 10
3,770,000 Nebraska vs. Wisconsin ESPN Oct. 29
3,764,000 Penn State vs. Michigan ABC Sept. 24
3,751,000 Penn State vs. Indiana ABC Nov. 12
3,715,000 Michigan St. vs. Penn State ESPN Nov. 26
3,713,000 Nebraska vs. Indiana ABC Oct. 15
3,657,000 Northwestern vs. Ohio State ESPN Oct. 29
3,252,000 BYU vs. Mich. State ABC Oct. 8
3,241,000 Wisconsin vs. Iowa ESPN Oct. 22
3,218,000 Indiana vs. Ohio State ESPN Oct. 8
3,183,000 Purdue vs. Nebraska ABC Oct. 22
2,920,000 Penn State vs. Purdue ABC Oct. 29
2,863,000 UCF vs. Michigan ABC Sept. 10
2,397,000 Wisconsin vs. N’Western ABC Nov. 5
2,388,000 Penn State vs. Pittsburgh ESPN Sept. 10
2,320,000 Maryland vs. Michigan ESPN Nov. 5
2,291,000 Ohio State vs. Maryland ESPN Nov. 12
2,135,000 Hawaii vs. Michigan ESPN Sept. 3
1,850,000 Wisconsin vs. Purdue ABC Nov. 19
1,282,000 Michigan vs. Rutgers ESPN2 Oct. 8
1,146,000 Illinois vs. Nebraska ESPN2 Oct. 1
1,126,000 Wyoming vs. Nebraska ESPN2 Sept. 10
1,048,000 Iowa vs. Minnesota ESPN2 Oct. 8
968,000 NDSU vs. Iowa ESPN2 Sept. 17
815,000 Iowa vs. Rutgers ESPN2 Sept. 24
811,000 Illinois vs. Wisconsin ESPN2 Nov. 12
631,000 Iowa vs. Purdue ESPN2 Oct. 15
539,000 N’Western vs. Iowa ESPNU Oct. 1
418,000 Miami (OH) vs. Iowa ESPNU Sept. 3
319,000 Colorado St. vs. Minnesota ESPNU Sept. 24
312,000 Minnesota vs. Maryland ESPNU Oct. 15
274,000 Rutgers vs. Minnesota ESPNU Oct. 22
236,000 Maryland vs. Indiana ESPNU Oct. 29
160,000 W. Michigan vs. Northwestern ESPNU Sept. 3
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