A conspiracy theory is spreading like wildfire in college football webverse right now. If the hot take is to be believed, ESPN prefers the Clemson Tigers over the Ohio State Buckeyes. According to a thread posted on 247Sports’ Bucknuts site, there is an ESPN conspiracy to have the Tigers advance to the finals instead of the Buckeyes. ESPN, which is owned by Disney, is said to be against the idea of a Big Ten team clinching the national title. This is because the Big Ten conference has a partnership with Disney’s rival, Fox Sports.

There are other claims about ESPN’s connection to Clemson on other sites.

Most of it alluded to the network’s business interests in college football. They also compared the Fiesta Bowl fiasco to the fair treatment Ohio State gets from Fox Sports.

ESPN reaps rewards with high ratings for 2019 Fiesta Bowl

Even with the conspiracy theories and controversies in the college football world, ESPN will still laugh all the way to the bank. Broadcaster ESPN confirms that 21.2 million people viewed the Clemson Tigers’ 29-23 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes in Saturday night’s Fiesta Bowl, reports Yahoo. This gives the game the highest viewership numbers of any College Football Playoff semifinal that is not played on New Year’s Day.

The Ohio State-Clemson game helped ESPN become the most-watched network in the holiday week.

The sports network recorded an average of 19.3 million viewers during that entire period. ESPN also aired an NFL game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

SEC set to head to ABC/ESPN

In related news, ESPN and ABC are set to air more college football games in the next years. According to reports, an SEC program will be leaving its current television home of CBS.

According to the Sports Business Journal, contract negotiations between CBS and SEC have fallen through. Disney-owned companies ABC and ESPN went to the Southeastern Conference’s rescue, bidding a package the league cannot resist.

Fox Sports reports that the two networks have won the broadcasting rights of the conference’s Game of the Week.

Because of this, Game of the Week will be aired on ABC and ESPN starting 2024. There is also a possibility that the Disney-owned networks might purchase the remaining years in the CBS contract. Reports say that ABC and ESPN will pay $350 million a year for the broadcasting rights.

ESPN’s victory in the bidding war means that the sports media company will play a more substantial role in SEC affairs. The company already owns SEC Network, which gives it access to all collegiate sports under the Southeastern Conference. Stay tuned for more news and updates on Ohio State Buckeyes.