Streaming has been a revelation for TV fans of all kinds, allowing them to watch shows whenever they want, at the pace they want. Several sports leagues have taken note, offering streaming services for fans who want to watch games on their computer, set-top box, game console, or mobile device.
Sadly, college football is a bit behind the times, lacking a comprehensive Game Pass like the NFL has. Still, there are a few legitimate ways to stream NCAA games (and a great many less legitimate ways for the more unscrupulous among us).
Streaming options and other info
ESPN’s online streaming service covers all the sports the network shows, including college football. The service requires users to have ESPN as part of their cable subscription, but it is a comprehensive service, allowing you to watch games on pretty much any device through the apps or website. Beyond the games, WatchESPN also includes programs like SportsCenter.
ESPN also has a similar app available on Xbox One. In addition to streaming games and clips, the ESPN app on XBOX also includes fantasy football functionality, allowing users to track their matchups and scores on screen.
Part of CBS’s advanced media collective, College Sports Live does exactly what the name implies, providing live streaming of various college games. College Sports Live provides access to all the games CBS covers, as well as additional content like press conferences and news pieces. CSL is available on computers, as well as iOS and Android devices. It requires a subscription, starting at $10/month, but unlike WatchESPN you do not need a cable or satellite subscription. For those who can’t afford a pay TV service, College Sports Live is a much cheaper alternative to ESPN’s service.
Reddit’s hobby forums (subreddits, in the site’s jargon) are generally a great place for fans of any subject to gather and share information, and the college football subreddit (r/CFB) is no exception. Fans of the sport can find anything they need here: articles, discussions, highlights. This subreddit is also a good place to find game schedules and links to streams (legal or otherwise).
The services provided by ESPN and CBS require a subscription of some sort, and they won’t necessarily have every game. For those who find even these services too inconvenient or expensive, it’s not hard to find unlicensed streams online. Such streams are legally (and ethically) dubious. Broadcasters like ESPN pay a lot of money for the rights to show football, and neither they nor the NCAA are pleased by pirate streams. Still, they are there if one wants them. Many of these sites are hosted in other countries, further muddying the waters as to how intellectual property laws apply. Online football forums like the aforementioned subreddit are generally a good place to find them.
Be warned: the life of digital banditry is fraught with peril. A lot of these streaming sites will bombard you with pop-up ads, and some even try to get you to install malware (perhaps there can be honor among thieves, but definitely not on the Internet). Always be wary of sites demanding you install programs. In general, if your computer can play Youtube videos, it can probably load a stream without additional software.
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