ESPN’s College Gameday returns on Saturday with Tennessee’s women’s and men’s basketball teams taking on the Vanderbilt Commodores at 12 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively. Here’s a question: Will anyone be watching, especially the men’s game?
The women’s game might draw okay ratings (for a women’s college bball game) because it has a couple things going for it. Tennessee is ranked No. 6. The game isn’t directly against the NFL playoffs. The women’s basketball audience is small, but presumably dedicated.
The men’s game, however, is another story completely. The Volunteers, who began the season ranked in the top 20, have struggled and aren’t very good. Their colorful coach, Bruce Pearl, will miss the game due to suspension. Vanderbilt is terrible.
But worst of all, the game will compete directly with the Green Bay Packers-Atlanta Falcons playoff game. If given the choice, any sports fan without an affiliation to Tennessee or Vanderbilt would watch that instead of a middling college basketball game.
Conclusion: Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis, Bob Knight, Dan Shulman, and Dick Vitale will be talking to very few viewers. Not that it will change anything, of course.