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With the Urban Meyer era of the Big Ten over, Ryan Day will lead the Buckeyes in his first full season after acting as interim head coach in 2018. That’s good news for Jim Harbaugh because his record against Ohio State couldn’t get any worse. But the stakes have been raised for the two old rivals, as an AP Top 10 ranking for both reinforces the schools’ goals in 2019: Win the Big Ten East and make the College Football Playoff—nothing else will do.
For either giant—or for any of the other five preseason-ranked schools to make national waves—it’ll mean surviving a frigid gauntlet of black-and-blue football. As fans, we win: Below are 10 can’t-miss Big Ten ball games slated for the fall—and how to stream them online.
How to stream Big Ten football
The following services offer a one-week free trial and carry ESPN and Fox.
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 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.)
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)
Big Ten football schedule 2019: What to watch for
1) (No. 7) Michigan at (No. 19) Wisconsin, Sept. 21, noon ET | Fox
The first great cross-division game of the season has the Michigan Wolverines traveling to Madison to take on Wisconsin. For UM, it represents the first hurdle, but a win for the Badgers would be resume gold. Pair a Michigan win with winning the West, and Wisconsin would force the CFP committee to label it an early contender.
2) (No. 5) OSU at (No. 24) Nebraska, Sept. 28 | TBD
The Buckeyes’ early road test is a week after UM’s, and in the Big Ten West against what should be a strong Cornhusker team. Nebraska’s start in the Big Ten has been slow and bad, so Scott Frost has to put it all together this season after going 4-8 in year one. We should see during this game whether or not Nebraska is really a contender in the West.
3) (No. 18) Michigan State at (No. 5) OSU, Oct. 5, 7:30pm ET | TBD
The Buckeyes’ tough stretch ends with a recent rivalry, as this game over the past decade has been littered with intense moments. First of many games that could end up being a tiebreaker in the East divisional race.
4) (No. 7) Michigan at (No. 15) Penn State, Oct. 19 | TBD
James Franklin may have done the most difficult job in college football. In stabilizing the embattled program and garnering a few good recruiting classes, he has Penn State back in national relevancy with an identifiable path to the playoffs. A home win over Michigan could have the Nittany Lions as Big Ten favorites come November.
5) (No. 19) Wisconsin at (No. 5) Ohio State, Oct. 26 | TBD
Wisconsin wants more respect from the CFP, so when your cross-division games are Michigan and OSU, you can’t get blown out. God help Big Ten Twitter if they lose both. An Ohio Stadium trip is the first game the Badgers would have circled back in spring ball and is easily their season-defining game.
6) (No. 9) Notre Dame at (No. 7) Michigan, Oct. 26 | TBD
After a short political debate like the never-ending Texas-TAMU fight, the rivalry is back on and the Irish are out to run the table and redeem their trash CFP debut. Notre Dame won’t fear the Big House like most of Michigan’s opponents, and a loss for either this late in the year will end somebody’s playoff chances.
7) (No. 18) Michigan State at (No. 7) Michigan, Nov. 16 | TBD
Stanley Cup, World Cup, a gold medal…. no prize can compete with the Paul Bunyan Trophy, sports’ coolest-looking piece of victory loot. As most in-state rivalries go, Michiganders will turn out for this one and the game will be more about passion and crowd-swings than any coach’s tactical plan. Even if this game was Joe Montana versus Nathan Peterman it’d end up a one-possession game through three quarters.
8) (No. 19) Wisconsin at (No. 24) Nebraska, Nov. 16 | TBD
The two favorites in the West finally meet with three games to go, and this one is likely a last hoorah for whoever enters in second place.
9) (No. 15) Penn State at (No. 5) Ohio State, Nov. 23 | TBD
The Buckeyes’ tune-up game before the Game happens to be their next toughest game. To get through 10 games with one loss at most means Ohio State can win its way to the Big Ten Championship and the CFP, and here’s where the rubber meets the road. A win for the Nittany Lions would make their season.
10) (No. 5) Ohio State at (No. 7) Michigan, Nov. 30, noon ET | Fox
Urban Meyer will watch this game with a torn heart, as two coaches he is like a father to duke it out. Ryan Day was Meyer’s assistant before he got the head job at OSU, and who could forget Harbaugh getting sonned for four years straight by the three-time champ? Now that Buckeye ethics have apparently returned from the dark side, can Day use some of Meyer’s sorcery to keep the Harbaugh Curse alive?
What about the Big Ten Network?
Operated by Fox Sports, Big Ten Network is a sports channel devoted to the Big Ten Conference: Indiana University, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Rutgers University, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, Northwestern University, Purdue University, and University of Wisconsin.
Big Ten Network hosts hundreds of live sporting events every year and covers every sport. It’s essential during the college football season in particular. But there’s more to watch on Big Ten Network than just games and highlights. It’s arguably the best conference sports channel, with weekly programming that includes seven different weekly shows devoted to Big Ten football, most notably Big Ten Tonight, Big Ten Tailgate, and Big Ten Football Saturday.
How to watch Big Ten Network online: 5 ways to live stream
When it comes to Big Ten Network streaming, most major live TV services carry the channel and your subscription doubles as your entry pass to the BTN2Go app. The only service that doesn’t carry Big Ten Network is Sling TV, but Hulu with Live TV, Fubo TV, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV all do.
- 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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Jackson Fowler is the Daily Dot's resident football expert. Both kinds. He's a former editorial intern with the newsroom. You can follow him on Twitter at @jacksnfwler.