Traditional broadcast TV
If you want to keep tabs on the top 25 teams, you can generally get a few games every weekend with an over-the-air digital cable antenna. Unlike the days of rabbit ear antennas with sometimes fuzzy signals, the current digital antennas are an all-or-nothing proposition. Make sure to test your antenna before game day so you don’t get an unpleasant surprise.
Many stations have moved to new broadcast frequencies, so you will need to rescan for channels if you get your TV signals using an antenna. You won’t have to rescan if you are live streaming or if you have cable TV.
College football live on Sling TV
Slingbox is a box that hooks up to a TV with cable and then rebroadcasts the stream to a phone, computer, or even another TV anywhere in the world with an internet connection. It does require the home TV to have an active subscription, but that doesn’t mean SlingBox has to sit in your own home.
If you don’t have a relative or friend willing to let you use their TV and internet to watch the big game, Sling TV is a great option. Sling TV is a service that allows you to bundle your favorite TV channels for online and app-based viewing. You can subscribe to the channel lineups you want, which can include ESPN, NFL Network, and other football and sports heavy channels. Plans start at $35 per month, which includes most games. At the time of this update, Slingbox has a promo of $10 for the first month.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu, now owned by Disney, has a live TV package with 75+ channels for $64.99 per month. That’s less than you get from YouTube TV for the same price, so it may not make sense for you on its own. However, there’s a 7-day free trial of Hulu + Live TV so you can decide for yourself.
However, if you’re into the full package, you can get Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu Live TV for a total of $72.99 per month. That’s almost as much as some cable packages, but you can watch college football live stream and you may not need much else for entertainment.
ESPN+ is the premium app that allows you to watch live sports – including college sports. It also gives you access to some pro games from MLB, NHL, MLS, UFC, and more. You don’t need a cable subscription to watch games on ESPN+. You can pick up ESPN+ with a discount if you buy it in a package with Disney+ and Hulu, also owned by Disney. ESPN+ online works through your web browser, mobile, or smart TV app. ESPN+ supports Android, iOS, Roku, Xbox One, PS4, FireTV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and other smart TV apps.
Don’t confuse it with WatchESPN, which was an app (no longer available) that allowed cable subscribers to watch ESPN on their devices. ESPN+ is a separate subscription that does not require you to have cable TV. ESPN and ESPN2 account for about 80% of all the college football on the ESPN networks. ESPN also includes ESPN3, ESPNU, SEC Network, SEC Network +, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network, ESPN Goal Line, and ESPN Buzzer Beater.
Your cellphone provider
Your cellphone company may offer a package that streams some ESPN games. Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon offer ESPN packages to get you access to streaming games, either included in your account or with an extra subscription fee. This gives you access to some of the major games on ESPN. You would be limited to viewing these college games on your phone unless you have an Apple TV, Chromecast or another way to send this to your TV.
You can download the ESPN app for free, or it may be preinstalled on your phone. You won’t get access to all games without a subscription, however. Depending on your options and preferences, this could be the best choice. As a bonus, you wouldn’t need to add a new monthly bill. It’s simply tacked onto your existing mobile phone bill.
FuboTV is another cable alternative that broadcasts live TV over the internet, including ESPN. You may run into some blackout restrictions on local or regional games, depending on where you live and where the game is being broadcast.
fuboTV includes college football as well as most of the pro sports leagues. They also have full coverage of special events like the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup playoffs.
You can watch on up to two devices at a time without an extra charge. Watch on your computer, phone, tablet or on TV with your Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Xbox, Fire TV or Samsung Smart TV.
Some conferences have their own apps for Android and iOS that allow the streaming of specific games. To access all games, you would have to download the ACC app, Big10 app, PAC12 app, SEC app, and any other conference you care to watch. Some apps offer season-long subscriptions to live games with varying fees.
Thanks to blackout market rules, these apps may only include untelevised games. You can’t rely on a conference app for every game.