ESPN's big BCS game ratings -- but not that big

ESPN big Bowl Championship Series title game between Alabama and Notre Dame did well in ratings -- even though Crimson Tide crushed the Irish, 42-12, and the game was decided early on.

Ratings grew 14% to a Nielsen preliminary 15.7 TV household rating over a year ago in January 2012 when ESPN aired the Alabama-LSU game -- another rout, 21-0 -- which gave Alabama the college football title. 

Analysts say ratings were muted this time around -- especially because the game had no real drama throughout its duration. Still, the two big storied college football franchises were expected to draw in viewers.

All this didn't compare with the 2011 BCS Championship game -- ESPN first big game -- where Alabama won a close game against Oregon. It produced a 16.1 rating.

ESPN says its five other BCS games this season produced an 8.5 TV household rating average -- up 6% from a year ago.