Heading into Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship, expectations for ESPN’s ratings were low. Analysts figured that a matchup of two SEC schools that stand less than 300 miles from each other would have limited appeal outside the southeast, driving down the game’s viewership. Then Alabama and Georgia delivered a tense overtime classic, and America happily tuned in. According to ESPN, the game drew a 16.7 overnight rating across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, up 9 percent from last year’s title game, in which Clemson defeated Alabama in a similarly tight thriller, and up 5 percent from the January 2016 championship (also between Clemson and Alabama). The game ranks as ESPN’s second highest rated event on record, behind only the 2015 Ohio State-Oregon title match.