Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC Television Group © 2013 Disney Photo: Juan Pablo Makes a Toast at The Bachelor Season 18 Premiere Cocktail Party

If you were on Twitter last night during The Bachelor 2014 premiere, it was like a tale of two hashtags: #TheBachelor vs. #BCSChampionship.

Even though football tends to skew more male and The Bachelor's audience tends to be female, ABC execs had to be sweating the major competition just a little. Maybe it helped that Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis is a sports nut himself, but his premiere wasn't hurting for attention. In fact, the former soccer pro gave The Bachelor its best ratings in three years!

According to Entertainment Weekly, the January 6 premiere had 8.4 million viewers and a 2.7 ratings in the coveted 18-49 demographic. That's up 17 percent from Sean Lowe's first night last January. (Sorry, Seanie!) Sean had 6.92 million viewers and a 2.3 rating. Season 16 Bachelor Ben Flajnik's premiere brought in 7.78 million viewers with a 2.4 rating.

What else was on last night? CBS had Hostages and FOX played Almost Human, but it was mostly a sea of reruns, so it's not like the target audience of young women had that many other options to choose from. Maybe that's one reason why The Bachelor was up — what else were we supposed to watch? — but it's also probably because of Juan Pablo himself. He's sexy and also somewhat mysterious, since we never got to know him during Desiree Hartsock's season, where he got zero camera time.

Maybe this little ratings boost is an argument for lesser-known Bachelors, since the last high-ish numbers came from Season 15's Brad Womack. Yeah, Brad was already the Bachelor before, but he had a definite must-see value since we all wondered how the women would react to dating the guy known for choosing himself in the end. Or maybe there's no special excitement about JPG, it's just the series getting back on track. The two seasons before Brad — Jason Mesnick's Season 13 and Jake Pavelka's Season 14 — also had higher numbers.

Whatever the reason, it's always good news for a show in its 18th season(!) to see an increase in viewers. Congrats!

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, TV By the Numbers, TV By the Numbers