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On Saturday, I’ll start at the Texas Chili Parlor in downtown Austin with a chili-smothered tamale. My wife and I will wander to Scholz Garten, through a circuit of RVs and Weber grills, on toward Bevo Blvd., and into DKR. We’ll sing fight songs and high-five the blue-haired alums in section 29. Chances are, like all national brands on opening weekend, our Texas Longhorns win by 30 points.
That’s the rub of Labor Day weekend: The pageantry and chaos of the game finally return but mostly you’re watching powerhouse programs practice against small area schools subjecting themselves to a thrashing for cash. But not all college football Week 1 action is a one-sided exhibition.
Below are six can’t-miss games from Week 1—along with how to stream them online.
College football 2019 live stream
The following services offer a one-week free trial and all carry ESPN and Fox Sports.
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.
How to use AirTV with Sling
AirTV solves one of the Sling’s biggest problems: The inability to receive all of your local channels. By purchasing a basic AirTV for $79.99 or the AirTV Player for $119.99, you can merge those local channels into your Sling TV, (or on your mobile device if you have the basic AirTV). As the Daily Dot wrote in its AirTV review, “it’s practically magic.”
The basic AirTV is a dual-tuner streaming device, while the AirTV Player is basically an upgraded Chromecast that has Netflix preinstalled. You’ll still need to own an HD antenna because even though AirTV gets you access to your local channels, it doesn’t actually physically show them to you.
But AirTV—which has no monthly fee—serves to strengthen one of Sling’s biggest weaknesses compared to other live streaming services like Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, and PlayStation Vue. All those services have plenty of local channels.
- 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 5-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.)
5) 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: 6 Can’t-miss Week 1 games
South Alabama at (No. 24) Nebraska, noon ET | ESPN
OK so save for seeing the Huskers ranked preseason like it’s 1999 and tuning in to see what works and what doesn’t, this one jumps off the page because it immediately follows College Gameday. You’ll be fired up and eager to watch paint dry at that point.
Oregon (No. 11) at Auburn (No. 16), 7:30pm ET | ABC
Credit to the Ducks and Tigers for having the stones to play a fellow contender early into the season. This one’s in Jerry World (Arlington, Texas’ now-10-year-old cauldron of capitalism where the Dallas Cowboys play), and it’ll have the sizzle of a January bowl game. We’ve all read about Justin Herbert, Oregon’s dynamic and big quarterback, but unless you live on the West Coast you may not have stayed up late enough to see how good he is.
Louisiana Tech at (No. 10) Texas, 8pm ET | Longhorn Network
Texas is back, folks. In this tune-up for LSU next weekend, Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns are poised to show off. With receiver Devin Duvernay moving to the slot, as the Atheltic recently noted, look for big plays inside. Yes, the Daily Dot is Longhorn-heavy in terms of personnel and there is a burnt orange flag hanging in our Austin office, but believe me when I say that this Texas has every opportunity to steamroll through the season and get crushed by Clemson in the national semifinal.
Fresno State at USC, 10:30pm ET | ESPN
USC Coach Clay Helton is on the hot seat. Post-Sam Darnold, who bolted early for the NFL ahead of the 2018 campaign, the Trojans look disjointed and most alarmingly, like blue-chip talent not being well-developed. Fresno State is lowkey good, and despite being a 13.5-point underdog, is 15-4 against the spread in its last 19, according to Oddsshark. Not every power will escape Week 1 unscathed…
Houston at (No. 4) Oklahoma, 7:30pm ET | ABC
Look Cougars fans, Tom Herman is in a happier place and his plucky, upset-minded U of H teams are a distant memory. For the Sooners, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray may be playing on Sundays but Lincoln Riley is still the best offensive mind in the game. Tune in to watch his merciless, twisted play-calling.
(No. 9) Notre Dame at Louisville, 8pm ET | ESPN
Ah, Labor Day football. Doesn’t matter who’s playing, this one will be on in the background while you nervously prepare to cram five days of work into four.
- 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.