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How to Watch College Football Without Cable: 7 Great Options to Consider

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You can watch college football without cable and save big money. Here are 7 options to stream college football games without a cable or satellite contract.

It can be a challenge to know how to watch college football without cable. I know it was something I seriously looked at before we cut the cord. I thought it was impossible to catch my favorite team without a high-priced cable bill. I soon learned that was not the case.

If you love college sports like I do and think you can’t watch your favorite team on the gridiron, there are many ways to watch college football without cable or satellite and not be held hostage to high prices.

I know what you’re thinking, college football season kicks off in two weeks. You surely can’t cut the cord and still catch all the action. Or, can you? Yes, you can.

If you’re asking yourself “How can I watch college football without cable?”, this guide gives you all you need to watch the march to the National Championship Game without paying a small fortune.

How to Watch College Football without Cable or Satellite

 

The absolute best way to watch college football without cable is with a streaming service provider. Streaming providers let you watch many of your favorite cable channels without a contract and without a triple figure monthly bill.

The best cable TV alternatives allow you to get many of the most popular sports channels – Fox Sports 1, BTN and the ESPN family of networks all while letting you save $50+ per month. That can be life-changing money when you manage it the right way.

Many of these cable T.V. alternatives are simple to use. If you have a smart TV or a device like the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku player you can install and start watching most of these streaming platforms in a matter of minutes.

There’s no sense to pay the average cable bill of $110+ per month when there are so many available options. You don’t need to be a technical genius. You don’t need to mess with a lot of installation. And, yes, you can get it all with a DVR.

College Football Channels

 

Before we cover how to watch college football without cable or satellite let’s discuss what channels you need. If you want to catch the most action, you will want access to as many of the channels below as possible.

Here are the best channels to watch college football games:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • Fox
  • NBC
  • ESPN
  • ESPN 2
  • ESPN 3
  • ESPNU
  • Fox Sports 1 (FS1)
  • Fox Sports 2 (FS2)
  • ACC Network
  • Big Ten Network (BTN)
  • Pac-12 Network
  • SEC Network

Thankfully, most of these channels are readily available with different streaming providers. You might not catch all of the games, but you will definitely get most of them.

How to Watch College Football on Local Networks

 

Many college football games are available through one of your local networks. Unfortunately not all streaming providers offer access to local channels, largely due to arrangements with affiliates.

You can watch local TV shows without cable, including college football games, with a digital antenna. A digital antenna typically costs around $50 (here are the best ones on Amazon) and gets you access to all of your local channels.

We have two Mohu Leafs, and they work great, allowing us to catch all games on local channels. Buying a digital antenna will let you watch all games on local networks, not to mention any other major network shows.

The Best Way to Watch College Football without Cable

 

The best way to watch college football without cable or satellite is with Sling TV. Sling TV is one of the oldest no-contract streaming options available on the market and gives you access to many of the channels needed to watch college football games.

Sling TV has two bases packages – Sling Orange and Sling Blue, both which cost $25 per month. Sling Orange gives you access to the following sports channels to watch college football:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • Plus about 30 other channels

Sling Blue does not include the ESPN family of networks, but does include the following sports channels:

  • FS1
  • FS2
  • Fox Sports Regional Networks
  • NFL Network
  • NBC Sports (NBCSN)

If you’re wondering how to stream college football without cable and think picking one of the packages will leave you in the cold, don’t worry.

You can combine both Sling Orange and Blue plus get their “Sports Extra” package for $40 per month. This will get you both groups of channels listed above, plus the additional following channels:

  • ESPNU
  • ACC Network
  • Pac-12 Network
  • SEC Network
  • Plus other sports channels

Yes, this list does not include the BTN. Other providers offer that, which we’ll discuss later.

That aside, if you’re wondering how to watch football without cable, Sling TV is the best option on the market. You can also stream Sling TV on many devices, as it works with smartphones, Amazon FireTV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, Apple TV, and more.

Sling Orange lets you stream on one device at a time; Sling Blue gives you the ability to stream on three devices at once. Sling TV also has a cloud-based DVR, for an extra $5 per month. This allows you to record up to 50 hours of content to watch at a later point.

As with many other streaming providers, Sling TV offers a free trial to test their service.

Get your 7-day free trial for Sling TV to see if it will help you watch college football online without cable and without a nasty contract. You can also check out our Sling TV review to get a full breakdown of the service.

Other Ways to Watch College Football Games without Cable

 

Sling TV isn’t the only way to catch college football games. There are several other ways to watch college football games without cable. Here are other good streaming providers to catch all the action.

Hulu with Live TV: Many know about Hulu. Hulu with Live TV is the upgrade to that service, providing access to cable channels without the nasty contract for $39.99 per month for 60+ channels.

Hulu with Live TV provides access to the following football-related sports channels:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNEWS
  • ESPNU
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • BTN
  • CBS Sports Network
  • SEC Network

The difference here is that you get the BTN in place of the PAC-12 Network with Hulu Live.

Hulu with Live TV works with just about any device on the market, including Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick as well as Apple TV, Roku, Xbox and more. They also provide a cloud-based DVR, allowing you to record up to 50 hours.

Get your 7-day free trial for Hulu with Live TV to see if it will help you watch college football online without cable and without a nasty contract. Check out our Hulu with Live TV review to get a full breakdown of the service.

FuboTV: What is FuboTV? FuboTV used to be a soccer-only offering, but they’re now a standard streaming service provider giving access to other sports channels in addition to other mainstream cable channels.

FuboTV charges $44.99 per month for their service and gets you access to over 75 channels. FuboTV provides access to the following football-related sports channels:

  • FS1
  • FS2
  • BTN
  • CBS Sports Network
  • Pac-12 Network

FuboTV also provides to regional Fox Sports Channels, CSN, The Comcast Network, YES Network, New England Sports Network, and Madison Square Garden Network. This is in addition to offering access to local channels in many cities.

FuboTV works on many devices, including Android and Apple devices, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Roku and Chromecast. FuboTV also includes a cloud-based DVR in their offering.

You can record up to 30 hours with the DVR, or you can upgrade to 500 hours for an additional $9.99 per month.

Get your 7-day free trial for FuboTV to see if it will help you watch college football online without cable and without a nasty contract.

PlayStation Vue: PlayStation Vue is one of the more well-known cable TV replacements. PlayStation Vue has four base packages, starting at $44.99 with 40+ channels per month.

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PlayStation Vue provides access to the following football-related sports channels with their base package:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • FS1
  • FS2

You can get other football-related channels, but they’re part of higher tier packages that cost beyond what we’d recommend.

PlayStation Vue works on many devices, including Android and Apple devices, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Roku, and PlayStation consoles. PlayStation Vue also provides access to a cloud-based DVR that allows you to access to content for 28 days.

One main selling point of PlayStation Vue is that you can stream on five devices at once. Many streaming providers max out at three, so this is a big selling point for larger families. PlayStation Vue also supports many TV Anywhere apps to help make up for any channels you may potentially miss out on.

PlayStation Vue does offer a free 5-day trial for those wanting to test out the service.

DirecTV Now: If you want to know how to watch college football games without cable, DirecTV Now is the final option. DirecTV Now is the no-contract option to DirecTV and has been around for two years.

DirecTV Now has four packages, starting at $40 per month for 60+ channels. DirecTV Now provides access to the following football-related sports channels with their base package:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • FS1
  • NBC Sports Network

You can get other football-related channels through DirecTV Now, but they come in higher-level packages, like with PlayStation Vue.

As with many of the other streaming options covered here, with DirecTV Now, you only need an Internet connection and a device, which could be a smartphone, tablet, laptop computer, PlayStation, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV or Amazon Fire TV Stick to stream college football games without cable.

DirecTV Now has recently expanded their offerings to include more local channels though it does depend on where you live. They have also recently introduced a cloud-based DVR that allows you to record up to 50 hours.

If you’re interested in DirecTV Now to watch college football games without cable, take advantage of their free 7-day trial to see if they work for your needs. Check out our DirecTV Now review to get a full breakdown of the service.

YouTube TV: YouTube TV is a newer player in the streaming market. We’ve not been able to test them much, but have liked what we’ve seen thus far.

YouTube TV is no slouch when it comes to letting you watch college football without cable, carrying the below football-related channels:

  • BTN
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNU
  • SEC Network
  • CBS Sports Network
  • NBC Sports Network
  • FS1
  • FS2

YouTube TV offers one base package at $40 per month for 60 channels. They’re not currently available in all markets, unfortunately, but they are growing. You can watch YouTube TV on a number of smart TVs, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Xbox, Android devices, and Apple devices.

The best part of YouTube TV is that you can have up to six accounts per household, and their cloud-DVR has no storage limits.

College Sports Live: The final option to watch college football without cable or satellite is College Sports Live. College Sports Live airs some college football games, as well as other college sporting events and starts at $9.99 per month.

College Sports Live has agreements with different schools, such as: Air Force, Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, and others. We’ve not tested College Sports Live but it could be a good option if you can’t find the particular game you really want to watch.

How to Watch Big Ten Football without Cable

 

Do you want to know how to watch the Big Ten Network without cable and think you’re out of luck? Thankfully, a number of the streaming providers let you watch Big Ten Football without cable or satellite.

Here are the providers that offer access to the BTN:

  • Hulu with Live TV, base package at $39.99 per month
  • FuboTV, base package at $44.99 per month
  • DirecTV Now, “Just Right” package at $50 per month
  • PlayStation Vue, “Core” package at $49.99 per month
  • YouTube TV, base package at $40 per month

The cheapest way to watch the Big Ten Network without cable is Hulu with Live TV, followed by YouTube TV.

The Big Ten Conference also has an app called BTN2Go that provides some free access to game highlights if you’re in a pinch.

How to Watch the Pac-12 Network without Cable

 

Do you want to know how to watch Pac-12 football without cable and think you’re without luck? Have no fear; there are options to watch Pac-12 football without cable or satellite.

Here are the providers that provide access to the Pac-12:

  • Sling TV, Blue + Orange package at $40 per month
  • FuboTV, base package at $44.99 per month

You can also catch highlights of games with the Pac-12 Now app. The Pac-12 Network isn’t available on many services but is relatively inexpensive with Sling TV, which makes it an attractive choice, especially considering the other available sports channels they carry.

How to Watch ACC Network Extra without Cable

 

Do you want to know how to watch ACC football without cable and think it’s not possible? You can catch ACC football with a number of different providers that are listed below:

  • Sling TV, Orange package at $20 per month
  • PlayStation Vue, “Access” package at $44.99 per month
  • DirecTV Now, “Live a Little” package at $40 per month

In effect, if you have ESPN, then you already have access to the ACC Network. There is one catch though with trying to watch ACC Network Extra without cable – it only shows in the Sling TV app.

For all others you must use the WatchESPN app, making it more of a nuisance to watch though still possible.

How to Watch the SEC Network without Cable

 

SEC football is the most popular conference in college football so you may wonder how to watch SEC football without cable. Thankfully, there are a number of providers that let you catch all the action in the SEC.

Here are the providers that let you watch SEC football without cable:

  • CBS All Access – only offers one featured game per week
  • DirecTV Now, “Just Right” package at $50 per month
  • Hulu with Live TV, base package at $39.99 per month
  • PlayStation Vue, “Core” package at $49.99 per month
  • Sling TV, Blue + Orange package at $40 per month
  • YouTube TV, base package at $40 per month

Hulu with Live TV is the cheapest way to watch SEC football without cable, followed by YouTube TV and Sling TV’s Blue + Orange package.

How to Watch Big 12 Football without Cable

 

There is no official Big 12 Network, aside from The Longhorn Network for The University of Texas. Thanks to that it is relatively simple to watch Big 12 football without cable.

You can catch Big 12 football from the following providers:

  • FuboTV, base package at $44.99 per month
  • DirecTV Now
  • Hulu with Live TV
  • PlayStation Vue
  • Sling TV
  • YouTube TV

As is the case with other options, Hulu with Live TV is the cheapest way to watch Big 12 football without cable, followed by YouTube TV and FuboTV.

You can watch college football without cable and save big money. Here are 7 options to stream college football games without a cable or satellite contract.

How to Watch College Football for Free

 

Many college football fans want to know how to live stream college football games for free. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to do that legitimately.

Sites that do claim to let you watch college football online for free are full of spam, malware and worst of all, are illegal. The damage that could occur to your device just isn’t worth it.

Some may be able to watch college football games for free without cable on ESPN3, through the WatchESPN app. This will only work if your Internet provider allows you to access ESPN3.

You would use the same login information you use for your Internet Service Provider to access the ESPN3 platform. Again, it depends on your provider, and many will not allow you access to the ESPN3 platform.

How to Watch College Football Games without Cable

 

Thanks to the growth in the cord-cutting space it’s not that difficult to figure out how to watch sports without cable. For many years you either had to have a cable subscription to catch games or hope that you could get a game on your local networks.

That is no longer the case. You may not be able to get every single game being played, but in many instances, you can get most on-air games for $50 per month or less. The best part is you can cancel the streaming provider once the season is over if you like.

Many think they need to spend $110+ per month and have a contract to watch college football games. That is simply not the case.

This will be our fourth season without DirecTV and we have found many ways to watch college football without cable or satellite; you just need to find the best option that works for you.

 

How do you watch college football without cable? What streaming services have you tried and liked? How much is okay to spend each month, in your opinion, to watch sports?

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

2 Comments

  • For the past few years I’ve used Sling for watching college football. I cancel it after the season is over because otherwise I never watch it. It’s a great option for the price, and I’ve also upgraded a few time to get the package with ESPNU for an extra $5 per month.

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