An easy guide to finding NCAAF games online, with links to popular streaming apps
Watching college football games online has become common practice, but there's more than one way to get your streaming fix. Some digital methods require a paid subscription, and some are free with your service, but every option can help you cut the cord from cable TV or to simply enjoy the game on the go.
This isn't pro football, so there isn't one primary provider or flat-fee format that gives you access to all the games. A little mixing and matching may be required, depending on what conference (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, ACC) you follow. Fortunately, every network that televises college football also allows you to stream, so there are plenty of choices, whether you're looking for FBS or FCS football games.
So, how do you watch college football games online, whether for free or for a fee? Be it on a phone, tablet, desktop, PS4, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or Android TV, here are your best options when you're left to your own devices.
Streaming Options with Cable/Satellite
Cord-cutting is sweeping the nation, but with the TV Everywhere model, the cable companies are fighting back, to the benefit of college football consumers. If you're a holdout and haven't pulled the plug on your cable or satellite service, you can access these popular services through your account via log-in or by downloading the app.
• WatchESPN or the WatchESPN app is exactly what it sounds like: a way to watch streaming simulcasts from the Worldwide Leader's wide assortment of broadcast options — ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, Longhorn Network, SEC Network, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater — and if you can't find something you like on one of those outlets, then you just don't like college football (or you're a Division III purist). You can watch via the WatchESPN.com website; through the app on your Android, iOS or Windows Phone or compatible Windows 9 and Windows 8.1 devices, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One; or via Apple TV or Roku streaming players.
• If you're away from your TV, but you still want to hear Gus Johnson yell at you about "get-away-from-the-cops speed" in his inimitable way, you're in luck. With FOX Sports GO or the FOX Sports GO app, Gus and the gang follow you wherever you go. Access the games on regular FOX, FS1, or FS2, as well as some games on regional FOX networks on your Apple, Android or Windows device via the FOX Sports GO app, or access it at FOXSportsGO.com or on supported connected devices.
• Uncle Verne may have retired, but CBS's SEC Game of the Week is still must-see TV, and with CBSSports.com, you can get your SEC fix with the conference's best matchup. You can also get Navy-Army, which makes it worth the effort in and of itself (gotta support the troops, right?). For slightly less high-profile matchups televised by CBS, check out CBS Sports HQ.
• For you Big Ten and Pac-12 fanatics (or those who pine for the old Rose Bowl tie-ins pitting Middle America vs. the Left Coast), try BTN2Go (anything on the Big Ten Network) and Pac-12 Networks Live (anything on the Pac-12 Network).
Streaming Options without Cable
If you have joined the growing horde of cord-cutters, but you're still willing to pay (much less) for something that resembles your cable package, you're in luck. Here's a chart showing your cord-cutting pay options from the good people at The Verge:
YouTube is no longer merely a platform for watching mopey adolescent girls strum ukeleles; it's now a destination site for college football fans. Of all the options listed above, YouTube TV seems to be getting the best reviews. Once again, from the folks at The Verge: "Like all the options in the world of streaming television, YouTube TV is a compromise. But if you’re in the market for an alternative to cable and need to have the big four networks and live sports, this is definitely one of the strongest options available."
Here are some other handy links for those who want to watch college football online and over the air without cable:
Hulu with Live TV just inked a deal with Discovery Channel, which is great, but if you get tired of "Naked and Afraid" or "Say Yes to the Dress," you can get your college football needs met, too. Hulu with Live TV’s $39.99-per-month bundle offers access to ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Big Ten Network, SEC Network, FS1, FS2, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN U, and ESPN Goal Line. You can personalize your experience by signing up for notifications for when your favorite team is playing.
• Sling TV
I just can't talk about Sling TV without using my Karl Childers voice and craving mustard and biscuits, but maybe that's just me. (You're now reading this using Karl's voice, aren't you?) Sling TV lets you build your own bundle, a-la-carte style. And it's not too hard on your wallet: Sling TV’s base packages are “Sling Orange” ($25 per month), which nets you ESPN and ESPN2, and “Sling Blue” ($25 per month), which includes FOX and NBC and the assorted regional networks and sister channels that accompany those behemoths. You can get both base bundles together for $40 per month, and you can add “Extras” to either — giving you access to ESPN U, SEC Network, ESPN Goal Line, and more.
• PlayStation Vue
It's not just for Madden; with PlayStation Vue, you can watch the genuine article. For a $39.99-per-month fee, the Access package gives you ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FS2, and NBCSN. For $44.99 per month, you can throw in the Big Ten Network with the Core package, and other add-ons can net you some regional networks and ESPN Goal Line.
• Free Over-the-Air TV
Okay, Grandpa: Get out the rabbit ears and tin foil. Free over-the-air TV is still a thing, and the young cord-cutters are catching on. In fact, plenty of the best games college football has to offer are still served up via the old alphabets, especially when bowl season rolls around.
New Options in Streaming
Have you ever flipped through your channels in a fruitless search for that Wofford-Gardner-Webb showdown? Looking to find the next FitzMagic before anyone else? You're in luck; the secret's out on the quality football being played at the lower levels, and there's a perfect streaming option for fans who prefer their stadiums a little smaller. ESPN has joined the premium streaming game in 2018 with its brand-new ESPN+ service, and it's tailor-made for mid-major and small-school fans. For $4.99 per month, you can get access to mid-major and FCS games featuring these conferences: C-USA, Ivy League, Mid-American Conference, Sun Belt, SWAC, Big South, Missouri Valley, MEAC, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Southern and Southland.
If you're looking to skip the fee, then you can take advantage of periodic free streaming via Stadium or Facebook. Another option is fuboTV, which can give you access to regional networks (Big Ten, Pac-12) and offers a seven-day free trial and also comes with Fox, FS1, NBC and CBS.
Turn to Reddit
There are a few places on Reddit that can help you find college football streams to watch games. But the best central location on the site is probably r/CFBStreams. The site offers free options, up-to-date links for all games, and the best ways to use paid services. In other words, if you can't find your favorite NCAA football game here, you're not going to find it.
STREAMING APPS TO WATCH NFL GAMES
To make it easy for you, here's a rundown of links to online apps to help you watch and stream NFL games online, for both Apple and Android users.
Fox Sports Go App
CBS All Access App
BNTN2GO App (Big Ten)
Pac-12 Networks Live