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How to watch college football online from anywhere

Penn State football game white out
(Image credit: Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

College football games are back and fans are doing all they can to see every single game. While other sports may be the national pastime, college football is a truly American passion. (If only because we're the only country that plays American football. But I digress.) Millions of fans gather in campus stadiums on Saturdays each fall to root for their school and their team. Even more fans tune into the broadcast, to watch college football teams compete for glory and a shot at a national championship. 

These days you don't need to fork out sky-high monthly bills just to get a piece of the college football action. It's time for a deep dive into how to watch college football online.

College football live stream channels

College football draws big crowds and big ratings, so FBS football games are in high demand by TV networks that air sports, with more than 20 networks involved. Most games are on Saturdays, but college football has expanded out to include more Thursday night games and occasionally other special game days and times. 

Here are the major networks that typically cover college football games.

The major networks showing college football games.

  • Fox
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • Fox College Sports Atlantic
  • Fox College Sports Central
  • Fox College Sports Pacific
  • NFL Network
  • ACC Network
  • Big Ten Network
  • Longhorn Network
  • SEC Network
  • Stadium

How to watch college football online

With so many different ways to watch college football, it can be hard to pick a way to watch without cable TV. Some services may be better based on the specific team or conference you root for. We have suggestions and full breakdowns linked below.

If you are a big fan of all things college football, though, we'd suggest that the best overall way to stream most games without cable or satellite is Hulu with Live TV.

Best college football streamer: Hulu with Live TV

College football's best streaming option coast to coast is Hulu with Live TV. For $69.99 a month, after a one-week free trial, fans get access to nearly every network with college football action. Hulu with Live TV also offers local feeds from all the major networks. The streaming service also now includes ESPN Plus as a standard feature, giving subscribers access to its slate of exclusive live streaming college football games.

The combination of the broad coverage of channels showing college football, conference networks and its reasonable price make Hulu with Live TV our pick for the best overall live TV streaming service for college football.

Best value college football live stream: ESPN Plus

As the streaming market continues to grow, some college football games that won't find their way to a major network are opting to air exclusively via a streaming service. That's where ESPN Plus comes in. It's the all-digital arm of the storied sports network and it has college football games nearly every weekend that you just can't get anywhere else. 

It's easy to sign up for an ESPN Plus subscription (opens in new tab), then you can watch games on your phone, tablet, web browser and, of course, on your TV.

Check out this week's slate of games of college football on ESPN Plus.

College football on ESPN Plus on a TV screen

(Image credit: CordCutters)

Best for The Power Five Conferences: Hulu with Live TV

The Power Five is a term used to describe five major college football conferences; they are the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. The Power Five conferences are typically the best conferences in the FBS, with the top teams from the Power Five regularly qualifying for the playoffs. 

The best way to watch all the action from the Power Five is Hulu with Live TV.

  • The cost: $69.99 a month after a one-week free trial
  • Local channels on Hulu: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and others. Find your local channels here.
  • Power Five football on Hulu: Yes, Hulu has almost everything you need for ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC football games
  • Conference Networks on Hulu: Yes, Hulu has the ACC Network, Big Ten Network and SEC Network.

Best for The Group of Five Conferences: YouTube TV

College football is more than just the Power Five conferences. The Group of Five refers to the AAC, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt. While they may not be in the College Football Playoffs every year, teams in the Group of Five play with a high level of intensity and the games can be thrilling. 

The best way to watch the Group of Five conferences college football is with YouTube TV.

  • The cost: $65 a month after a free trial (opens in new tab)
  • Local channels on YouTube TV: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and more. Find your locals here (opens in new tab).
  • The Group of Five College Football on YouTube TV: Total coverage, including ABC, Fox, CBSSN, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FS1, FS2 and the NFL Network.

Conferences' logos on TV in the ESPN app

The biggest conferences are on the biggest networks.

More ways to watch college football live stream

Fans have more options than ever before to watch college football games streaming online.

  • FuboTV packages have a strong focus on sports, including carrying ESPN channels along with the likes of Fox Sports 1, NBC Sports and Stadium. If you live near an ACC or SEC school, you will even get those conference channels too. However, Fubo lacks ESPNU. 
  • DirecTV Stream includes many of the channels you would need for a full college football weekend, but most will require you to pick, at least, its premium plan 
  • Sling TV offers the lowest regular price among the live streaming services, but most college football fans will need to at least step up to the Orange + Blue plan. If you want ACC Network, Big Ten Network, Pac-12 Network, SEC Network and Longhorn Network with Sling TV (yeah, you do) that will require the Sports Extra add-on. Sports Extra for Orange includes ACC Network, Pac-12 Network, SEC Network and Longhorn Network, while Sports Extra for Blue includes the Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Network.

Listen to College Football live on SiriusXM

(opens in new tab)

Listen to every play on the go with SiriusXM (opens in new tab).
The service has live play-by-play from the biggest college football games all season long.

Sirius XM has a dedicated channel for all of the major conferences, including the Power Five. These radio stations include coverage of games along with conference-specific talk and analysis. Listen in your car or stream to your mobile device.

Roy Delgado is a freelance writer for WhatToWatch. His focus is streaming, specializing on sports. He binge-streams 32 games over the first two days of NCAA March Madness annually. He built his own DVR 15 years ago, and still tinkers to make his media setup its best.