TV Ratings: College Football Championship Game Falls From 2015

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Alabama and Clemson

Still the biggest thing on cable in a year, the game's ESPN audience was down 23 percent.

Eat your heart out, Donald Trump. Cable's biggest draw is still college football.

The second outing of the College Football Playoff National Championship, the latest iteration of the NCAA's biggest game, averaged 25.7 million viewers on Monday night. That marks a steep and unfortunate 23 percent drop from the comparable game last year — but it still ranks as the most watched telecast to air on cable in the last year, besting cable news' string of highly watched GOP debates.

Alabama's tight victory over Clemson did not reach the highs of Ohio State's blowout victory over Oregon in 2014. That game fetched an audience of 33.4 million. The game was also down in the key demo — though coverage easily topped everything else on TV Monday with an average 8.3 rating among adults 18-49.

It's another bit of deflating news for ESPN's coverage of the NCAA football postseason. Playoff games wilted in the move to New Year's Eve, dropping 36 percent from the Saturday showcase the two games received last year.