Last Monday night’s College Football Playoff (CFP) championship had 22 million viewers, not as low as the previous year’s 18.7 million viewers who witnessed Alabama’s convincing 52-24 win over Ohio State.

If you know someone who is still exclaiming college football is America’s game, they’re living in the 20th century, at least through the mid-1970s at best.

Those who tuned in last Monday night witnessed the Georgia Bulldogs re-taking its position from earlier this season as the year’s top college football team in the nation when they sprinted past ‘Bama with a 27-9 second half run for a 33-18 victory. In a nutshell, the Crimson Tide could not capitalize when they reached the red zone, the point on the field where an offense is 20 yards or less away from the end zone.

It was a great game for Georgia fans, a great game for Southeast Conference fans, who could be proud of each combatant hailing from their elite football conference.

It appears most of the country doesn’t care, though. Even last year, where two teams from two regions, Ohio State from the Midwest, and ‘Bama from the Deep South, the viewership was the worst since the CFP tournament was launched in 2015.

College football is a regional sport. If you’re following the sport in regions in the U.S. where your favorite team is either in the Big Ten, or in the SEC, it might seem like the clamor for college football “must be like this” everywhere. When Ohio State hosts elite Big Ten programs like Penn State or Michigan, the fans tailgating, partying in the student ghettos, and watching in the surrounding bars and hotel lounges nearly double the 100,000 fans with tickets for the game.

Why wouldn’t it all look huge in the enclave where you’re attending the game, or watching the action in some way, shape or form outside the stadium?

Oregon (PAC-12), and Clemson (ACC – 4 CFP Championship game appearances) are the only teams aside from Ohio State (2 CFP Championship game appearances) outside the SEC (Alabama – 6 appearances, Georgia – 2, and LSU – 1) to advance to the CFP Championship game.

Stop what you’re doing if you took your shoes thinking you’d have to count past 10. You don’t need to use those toes.

There are only six different teams who advanced to the CFP final.

The inaugural CFP Championship game, a 42-20 win in 2015 by my beloved Buckeyes, is the only championship game excluding at least one SEC team.

The game showcases a lot of future NFL talent due to make an immediate impact upon being drafted. Certainly, the quality of football played in the CFP final is top notch.

Who cares?

Elite level college football, apart from a half-dozen top-notch programs scattered across the Great Plains, the Midwest, and occasionally Oregon, is a Southern fascination. Otherwise, once a college football fan’s regular season and conference championship games are over, who cares?

The low viewership (18.7 million in 2021, 22 million last Monday) is paltry when you compare those numbers to Super Bowl viewers (91.6 million last year). The Tampa Bucs, with Tom Brady in his first year aboard a team not named the New England Patriots, captured Super Bowl LI beating Kansas City 31-9.

Do those viewer numbers astonish you? Last year’s Super Bowl had the lowest number of viewers since Pittsburg’s Super Bowl XXXVI victory over Seattle, witnessed by 90.7 million viewers.

Super Bowl TV audiences exceeded 100 million viewers each year from 2010 to 2020 except for the 98.2 million viewers who watched a very low-scoring Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in 2019.

When you hear people anecdotally tell you college football is America’s top sport, they’re living in one of the scattered bubbles I mentioned, or they’re Southerners caught up in SEC football.

I have not seen an entire CFP Championship game, even the game won by my Buckeyes in 2015. The clash falls on the second Monday of January. This is poor timing for me because I’m usually putting together an audit package, and I don’t head home from work on half the business days in January until I’m done thinking, or plain tired.

The NCAA and the CFP committee realize if they scheduled the title game two days earlier, on a Saturday, they’re now competing with the last weekend of the NFL regular season.

So where do they go from here? CFP expansion?

The current four-team format, which means over eight years of the CFP 32 slots have been open for dozens of teams to earn a berth. The sad news is only 13 different teams filled those 32 slots.

The SEC landed ten berths, the ACC (seven, six of those were Clemson), the Big Ten (six, with four of those belonging to Ohio State), the Big XII (Oklahoma earned all four spots), and Notre Dame’s appearances (2018, 2020) eat up 29 of the 32 CFP spots.

If fans don’t have a dog in the fight, and they’ve already consumed the last week of NFL regular season football, how eager are they going to be to pile on another four hours of televised football? Monday doesn’t work for me, and apparently Monday doesn’t work for millions of other viewers, either.

If you take the three clashes from 2016-2018 between Alabama and Clemson (average margin of victory was only 3.7 points), the average margin of victory, including Georgia’s 15-point win last Monday, is 22 points.

This is not compelling stuff.

Professional football is America’s game. FIFA World Cup Soccer is the world’s game; the collective viewership smashes the Super Bowl.