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Sure, the Hurricanes and Gators christened the 2019 college football season last week with a swampy, messy, highly rated showdown in Florida. But for traditionalists, the NCAA football season begins Thursday night with a loaded slate of ball games.
It’s a familiar changing of the guard: Watching, like, South Carolina battle North Carolina State after work reminds you that it’s fall, you’re OK, and those coastal elites who went to private schools with no football will never understand. The tribal pageantry returns tonight with contenders facing early challenges (Utah), the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck leading the No. 1 team against a conference rival (Clemson), and the boys from San Marcos, Texas, driving to College Station, Texas, and offering themselves up as tribute (Texas State v. Texas A&M). All that plus 13 more games on Thursday.
Here’s everything you need to know to stream college football’s opening night.
College football 2019 live stream
The following services offer a one-week free trial and all carry ESPN, which will telecast the vast majority of Thursday night’s action. Full schedule below.
1) Sling TV
- Sling TV pricing: $25-$40 per month (40% first month)
- Sling TV devices: Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Oculus Go, Microsoft Edge, and iOS and Android devices
- Sling TV local channels: NBC, Fox (check your local availability here)
Sling TV provides two base channel package options, each priced at $25 per month. Sling Orange includes three ESPN channels, while Sling Blue includes sports channels like NFL Network, FS1 and FS2, NBCSN, and local channels. If you’re Team “Why Not Both,” Sling Orange + Blue combines the two for just $40 per month. Sports Extra: Sling Blue ($10 per month) also includes NFL RedZone.
Spanish-speaking viewers have quite a few options. For bilingual families, you might consider the Español: Best of Spanish TV package for either Sling Orange or Sling Blue for 24/7 specialty channel LaLiga TV and beIN SPORTS Connect: Channels 4-9, which features matches from LaLiga, Ligue 1, and Copa del Rey, among others. Both packages cost $5 per month after your free trial. Sling TV Latino is another Spanish-language package for $10 per month, including NBC Universo, History en Español, and—of import to soccer fans—four beIN SPORTS channels. (And choosing Sling TV Latino + Sling Orange for $30 per month gives you access to ESPN Deportes.) For more information, check out our guide to Sling TV channels and our Sling TV review.
- Cost: $4.99 per month or $49.99 for 12 months
- Devices: Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku players and TV, Oculus Go, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung smart TVs, and iOS and Android devices
ESPN+ is a subscription service that extends ESPN’s existing website and app, and it’s essential for soccer fans, in particular, carrying all MLS matches not on ESPN or FS1, as well as Serie A+, USL, Copa America, and FA Cup matches. It encompasses other sporting events as well, including 20 exclusive UFC Fight Night events per year, 180 NHL games, at least one MLB game a day for every day of the season, and a cornucopia of college sports.
ESPN+ also features the network’s sports talk programming, and it features original series starting with the entire 30 for 30 catalog ESPN made its name on. It also unlocks more content and fewer ads on the ESPN site.
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- PlayStation Vue devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- PlayStation Vue local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
PlayStation Vue is a fantastic option for soccer fans who already own a PlayStation console, but this streaming platform is available on a variety of devices. ESPN and FS1 are part of the Core package of channels, and the options increase at the Elite and Ultra levels.
- Cost: $44.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
Hulu with Live TV includes sports programming among its offerings, including ESPN and FS1, and as a subscriber to the service, you’ll get free access to Hulu’s sizable on-demand library. (Check out the full list of Hulu Live TV channels.)
6) YouTube TV
- Cost: $50 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- YouTube TV devices: Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
- YouTube TV local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
College football 2019 schedule: Thursday night’s action
UCLA at Cincinnati, 7pm ET | ESPN
Wagner at UConn, 7pm ET | ESPN3
Albany at Central Michigan, 7pm ET | ESPN3
Morgan State at Bowling Green, 7pm ET | ESPN3
Robert Morris at Buffalo, 7pm ET | ESPN+
Florida A&M at (No. 17) Central Florida, 7:30pm ET | CBS Sports Network
Central Arkansas at Western Kentucky, 7:30pm ET | ESPN+
Gardner-Webb at Charlotte, 7:30pm ET | ESPN+
Georgia Tech at (No. 1) Clemson, 8pm ET | ACC Network
Florida International at Tulane, 8pm ET | ESPN3
Alabama State at UAB, 8pm ET | ESPN+
Texas State at Texas A&M, 8:30pm ET | SEC Network
South Dakota State at Minnesota, 9pm ET | Fox Sports 1
Kent State at Arizona State, 10pm ET | Pac 12 Network
Northern Colorado at San Jose State, 10pm ET | No TV broadcast, but radio feed available via Tunein app
Utah (No. 14) at BYU, 10:15pm ET | ESPN
- How to watch Pac-12 Network online
- How to stream ACC Network Extra
- How to watch SEC Network online
- How to stream the Big Ten Network
- Is ESPN+ actually worth it?
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Ramon Ramirez is the news director, and formerly the Dot's entertainment editor and evening editor. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Grantland, Washington City Paper, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Monitor.