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Jan. 11, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., - Penn State's dramatic victory over LSU in the 2010 Capital One Bowl earned a six percent television ratings increase over the 2009 contest and was seen in more than 7.8 million U.S. TV households.
The Nittany Lions' 19-17 win over the Tigers earned a 6.8 rating for the ABC national telecast on New Year's Day, tied with the FedEx Orange Bowl for the fifth-highest rated bowl among the 34 post-season contests this past season.
Penn State's fourth bowl win in the last five seasons earned a six percent rating increase over the 2009 Capital One Bowl between Michigan State and Georgia.
Big Ten teams played in four of the seven highest rated bowl games in 2009-10. The BCS National Championship game was first, followed by the Rose (Ohio State), Allstate Sugar, Tostitos Fiesta, Capital One (Penn State) and FedEx Orange Bowls (tied, Iowa). The Valero Alamo Bowl (Michigan State) was No. 7.
Penn State (LSU), Ohio State (Oregon), Iowa (Georgia Tech) and Wisconsin (Miami) all defeated Top 15 opponents in their bowl game, as the Big Ten became the first conference with four Top 15 bowl wins since the Big Ten did so in 1998-99.
A Penn State contest owns four of the top five spots and six of the top 10 all-time among the highest rated Big Ten football games on ESPN. The Nittany Lions' win over Michigan State during the unbeaten 1994 Big Ten Championship season is the second-highest rated Big Ten game on ESPN with a 5.4 rating. The 2005 primetime battle between Penn State and Ohio State earned the conference's third-highest rating (4.9), followed by the 1994 Penn State-Indiana game (4.7), with the 1995 Penn State-Michigan State thriller (4.0) in fifth. The Nittany Lions' wins at Michigan State in 2005 (No. 8) and at Purdue in 1997 (No. 10) also are in the top 10.
A Penn State game also owns five of the top seven spots among the highest viewed Big Ten football games on ESPN. The Nittany Lions' pulsating win over the Buckeyes in 2005 is the conference's second-highest viewed game on ESPN, as 4.435 million U.S. cable households tuned in. The 1994 Penn State-Michigan game is third with 3.397 million households, followed by the 2005 PSU-MSU contest (3.446 m.). The 2007 win over Notre Dame (3.31 m.) is No. 6 and the Nittany Lions' 2008 thumping of Michigan is No. 7 at 3.23 million homes.
The Nittany Lions have long been one of college football's premier programs for television networks. Every Nittany Lion game has been televised the past six seasons and 190 of the last 192 Penn State games overall have been on TV. Since 1995, Penn State leads Big Ten schools with 161 regular season telecasts.
Penn State (11-2) was No. 9 in the final AP poll, earning its 23rd Top 10 finish in Joe Paterno's 44 seasons as head coach. The Big Ten led all conferences with three teams in the 2009 final Associated Press Top 10 and four teams in the Top 16.
The Nittany Lions are 51-13 (79.7) since the start of the 2005 season, tied for the nation's No. 7 winning percentage over that span (with West Virginia). Penn State has won 53 of its last 66 games overall, dating to the final two contests of the 2004 season.
The Nittany Lions return 13 starters for the 2010 season, (7 offense, 5 defense, 1 specialist), as well as 11 players that have starting experience. Penn State opens the season Sept. 4 vs. Youngstown State in Beaver Stadium and visits 2009 national champion Alabama on Sept. 11.