College football likes to tout its traditions, and in recent years one of its best traditions is the weekly Saturday Night Football game that airs in primetime on ABC. Featuring one of the best matchups of each week, Saturday Night Football is appointment viewing for college football fans.
Saturday Night Football travels across the country to broadcast these games, often including the ESPN College Gameday pregame broadcast in the mornings. The crew for Saturday Night Football for the 2021 seasons will return Chris Fowler as the play-by-play announcer, Kirk Herbstreit as the color commentator, as well as the new addition of Holly Rowe as the sideline reporter.
This week's matchup for Saturday Night Football will take place in Happy Valley, where the No. 22 Auburn Tigers will take on No. 10 Penn State.
Auburn vs. Penn State matchup preview
In the matchup of the big cats, the No. 22 Auburn Tigers will take on No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions, an SEC vs. Big Ten matchup that could be a big factor into each school's rest of the year outlook.
Auburn came into the 2021 college football season unranked by the AP, but have found themselves as the 22-ranked school in the country following with monster wins over Akron and Alabama State, scoring 60 and 62 points respectively. This is one of the best offensive starts to a season the Tigers ever had; it is the first time since 1932 that they scored 60 or more points in their first two games, and the combined 122 points is the fourth-most in the first two games in school history.
Helping to put up those numbers is third-year starting quarterback Bo Nix and the running back duo of Jarquez Hunter and Tank Bigsby. The defense meanwhile has only allowed 10 points this season so far.
Akron and Alabama State aren't necessarily known as college football powerhouses, certainly, but the convincing wins under new Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin (previously of Boise State) got his era off to a strong start. A win at Penn State would set them up nicely as they prepare for the heart of their SEC, which always includes a season finale against Alabama.
However, Auburn will be dealing with more than just the Nittany Lions on the field, as Penn State will use the game for its annual "white-out," one of the great recent traditions in college football that always has the entire stadium rocking. While usually reserved for big inter-conference games like Ohio State or Michigan, this game against Auburn marks Penn State's first regular season game against and SEC school since 2011 and could emphasize that they are a true contender for the College Football Playoffs.
Penn State, which was ranked No. 19 at the start of the season, got things going with a tough road win against then No. 12 Wisconsin, with their defense standing tall in a 16-10 win. The offense then got going against in their home opener against Ball State, winning in convincing fashion, 44-13.
The Nittany Lions have their own veteran quarterback, Sean Clifford, leading their offense that includes playmakers like running back Noah Cain and wide receiver Jahan Dotson. Of course, Penn State is widely known as Linebacker U, and they look to have another good one with senior Ellis Brooks.
As of publication, Penn State is 6.5 favorites over Auburn.
Saturday Night Football 2021 schedule
As of publication, only three Saturday Night Football games have been confirmed, that is because they like to figure out what will be the most intriguing matchups by how the season is playing out. What to Watch will update the schedule for Saturday Night Football as future games are announced.
Here’s the schedule that we know right now:
Sept. 4: Georgia 10 at Clemson 3
Sept. 11: Washington 10, Michigan 31
Sept. 18: Auburn at Penn State, 7:30 p.m. ET
Sept. 25: West Virginia at Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m. ET
How to watch Saturday Night Football in the U.S.
While ESPN produces the Saturday Night Football broadcasts, the games air on ABC, providing a way for national audiences to easily tune in for the game. This includes watching the game through either a traditional cable subscription, where ABC is included in virtually all local channel lineups, or with an antenna to receive the local ABC signal. There’s also the more likes of vMVPD streaming services — i.e. Fubo TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV — that provide subscribers access to their local broadcast channels, including ABC.
ESPN will carry the Saturday Night Football game through its Watch ESPN website and app, however. To view the game on these platforms — with your computer, mobile phone or tablet — you will still need a subscription to a traditional or compatible vMVPD service to be able to watch live game action.
How to watch Saturday Night Football in the U.K.
Select college football games will be broadcast each week for U.K. audiences on BT Sport, generally on BT Sport ESPN. For £10 BT TV subscribers can add BT Sport to their package, or consumers can add BT Sport as a standalone service for £25.
The BT Sport schedule is not yet available as to whether the Georgia at Clemson game will be available for U.K. audiences.
How to watch Saturday Night Football from anywhere
Wherever you may be in the world, if you’re looking to watch Saturday Night Football it’s possible, with one great option being a virtual private network. A VPN is designed to route network traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing viewers to watch content on an encrypted feed over a computer.
Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.
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