How to Legally Watch College Games Without Cable

Do you love college football?  Do you also love saving money by getting rid of cable?

It used to be you couldn’t do both. For years, college football fans have been lured into signing up for cable subscriptions with the promise of watching tons of games across multiple networks.

Luckily, with streaming and other technologies, there are plenty of options for watching college football without ponying up for a cable subscription.


Sling TV, a streaming service offered by subscription through the Dish Network, is a great resource for watching more than half of all college football games broadcast on TV during the season.

This remarkable access is mainly due to Sling’s partnership with ESPN – the leading broadcaster of college football — and its family of networks. The starting package is called Sling Orange costs $20 per month. It comes with channels like ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, TNT, CNN, AMC, and ESPN3.

And in most locations, you can stream any football games airing on ABC through WatchESPN. This is a big deal, because each week, ABC will be airing some of the best games of the season, such as games with Top 25 teams or big rivalries.

Sling is available in the following formats:

TV: AppleTV, Roku Player, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, Chromecast, Android TV

  • Devices: iOS, Android, Mac, PC


Another way to watch ESPN’s broadcasts of college football games on Sony’s PlayStation Vue. This service includes ESPN, ESPN2 and access to WatchESPN with the basic subscription. Total cost for the package is $29.99 per month, which gives you about 50 channels to stream and many options for watching college football.

Vue is available in the following formats:

  • TV: Roku Player, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast. PlayStation 3&4
  • Devices: iOS, Android, Mac, PC

Connection Speeds Needed for Sling and Vue

For quality content without constant buffering, Sling’s site recommends you have an Internet connection of at least 5 Mbps to achieve one HD-quality (1080p) stream. Vue recommends a minimum of 10 Mbps.

Pro-tip: If you’re streaming multiple games simultaneously or using the same connection for other purposes while watching games, a connection of at least 10 Mbps is the way to go.


Many of the major network apps require you be a cable subscriber in order to use them, but not all do. Here are some of the apps that may not require a cable subscription:

  • College Sports Live is compatible offers unlimited access to 18,000 annual live audio and video events.
  • Conference apps, like ACC, Big 10, etc. — some require a cable subscription but some don’t. Check your individual conference’s app for details.


Another low-cost option for picking up college football games during the season is by using an HD antenna. This type of antenna receives channels like ABC, FOX, NBC and CBS from their over-the-air network broadcasts, just like the good old days. With an antenna, you can watch games right on your TV in high-definition – on whatever channels your antenna can receive. The best part of this option is that after you buy the antenna, everything you watch comes to you absolutely free.

We live in exciting times – where technology makes it possible to circumvent the cable company without missing out on the shows you want to see. If you’re a college football fan who also wants the freedom to save money and be in control of your TV programming, check out the options above to create a plan that works for you. Even the most serious of cord-cutters need a college football fix!

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4 thoughts on “How to Legally Watch College Games Without Cable”

  1. We use a combination of over the air TV using our Tablo DVR, in combination with 2 Fire TV boxes and 1 Fire TV Stick. On the Fire TVs we use Amazon Video and Playstation Vue for our entertainment needs which gives us all our sports channels, in addition to our regional sports network. It is a bump up to the $34.99 package for that on Vue, however.

  2. I like to avoid all negative revenue streams, as much as possible. Is there any way to purchase viewing just one game? For example, I love seeing the US Women’s National soccer team play. But I don’t want to pay monthly fees when I only want to see one game.

    1. i haven’t heard of a pay per view for women’s soccer. but if their games are on Vue or Sling you could sign up for a free trial for a game and see if it suited your needs.

  3. We’ve been 100% cable/satellite tv FREE for a year now. It’s all over the air and internet services, Amazon Prime, HULU and Youtube on the Chromecast stick on one tv and ROKU on the other tv. We don’t miss the $120 monthly bill one bit! We are paying for all this for under $15 a month. Gotta love it.

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