As conference realignment rages, Washington sits among most-watched teams left on the board
If the Big Ten chooses to pass on Washington as a new member, it might say more about the Big Ten than it does about Washington. The Huskies have an attractive package to offer a new conference, if it were to follow in the footsteps of USC and UCLA and exit the Pac-12.
The Huskies are situated right in the heart of the 12th-largest TV market in the country. And it’s not just access to TV homes that props up the Huskies’ case, that access translates to eyeballs on the program.
The Athletic’s Andy Staples reviewed games from 2015 to 2021 (with 2020 excluded) between teams that are not in or soon headed to the Big Ten or the SEC. He then tallied which programs in that group (sans Notre Dame) enjoyed the most games with more than a million viewers.
Clemson (34 games) and Florida State (31) were first and second. Washington was third with 28… two more than Oregon.
If you subract Big Ten teams, SEC teams and Notre Dame from the equation, which schools from the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 do people watch? I charted the ones with the most one million-plus viewer games. The data help explain what could happen in realignment. https://t.co/4vZCVubXS7 pic.twitter.com/OA3CsHBtff
— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) July 8, 2022
Washington State had 21 such games. Utah had 19, Stanford 18, Colorado 15, Arizona State 13, Cal 12, Arizona 6, and Oregon State 3.
The affinity for Washington is noteworthy as UW tries to secure its future moving forward. The timeline Staples stayed within spans most of the Chris Petersen era and, while excluding the 2020 season, includes the worst season of UW football since 2008.
Petersen showed that Washington is a power with the right man in charge. UW is hoping it has found the right guy again in first-year head coach Kalen DeBoer.