The Colorado phenomenon has kept growing and growing over the first three weeks of the season.
The Buffaloes’ dramatic double-overtime win over in-state rival Colorado State on Saturday was the most-watched game of the 2023 season so far. According to ESPN, the game drew an average of 9.3 million viewers. That tops the 9.13 million who watched Florida State’s win over LSU over Labor Day weekend and the 8.76 million people who watched Texas beat Alabama in Week 2.
It’s the fifth-most watched game on an ESPN network ever and an incredibly impressive viewer number when you consider that the game kicked off at 10 p.m. ET. In Week 2, the 10:30 p.m. ET game between Auburn and Cal averaged 2.23 million viewers.
The viewer number was undoubtedly helped by the closeness of the game and the back-and-forth in the days leading up to it. Colorado was a three-touchdown favorite but had to score twice in the final eight minutes to force overtime after trailing 28-17 early in the fourth quarter. The Buffs tied the game with 36 seconds to go on a 45-yard TD pass from Shedeur Sanders to Jimmy Horn Jr. and won the game in the second overtime on Sanders’ 18-yard TD pass to Michael Harrison.
Before the game, Colorado State coach Jay Norvell said his team was "tired" of the hype that surrounded the Buffaloes because of Deion Sanders' presence in Boulder. Sanders then told his team that Norvell's comments were "personal."
Each of Colorado’s first three games of the 2023 season have drawn average audiences of over 7 million. The Buffs’ upset of TCU in Week 1 had an average audience of 7.3 million viewers and Colorado’s Week 2 win over Nebraska had an average audience of just over 8.7 million.
You can expect another massive viewer number on Saturday as Colorado plays its first Pac-12 game of the season and faces its second ranked opponent of the year. The Buffaloes visit No. 10 Oregon at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC as part of a stacked Week 4 that features six games between ranked opponents.