Most any college football game can be viewed on either ESPN, ABC, NBC or CBS. Below are all the viewing options for each of these channels, complete with TV schedules and online streaming options for each. This entry also includes conference-specific options, for the most die-hard of fans looking for non-nationally aired games.
For a complete breakdown on how and where to watch ANY college football game during the full season, continue below. Each major channel is broken down into sections for easier referencing.
ESPN has the exclusive rights to air nearly half (44%) of all college football games. So if you are wanting to view a game, chances are this is the place to start.
ESPN College Football Schedule. Between ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, ESPNEWS, the WATCH ESPN app, and ESPN U, there are a lot of options. This schedule will tell you not just the games that ESPN is airing and how you can watch if they are airing it, but ALL of the college football games' info for the entire season.
It includes what national channel the game will air on, including times, dates, and even ticket info if you want to attend the game.. just everything you would need to know. Plus you can break the list down by specific conferences. Great resource. So this solves the problem of how and when to watch when ESPN airs on the TV. For mobile access to their channels...
Online & Streaming--
WATCH ESPN app. Something to keep in mind with ESPN, it's not a free service. So to access their network you will need a cable subscription (or at least someone's login info). But having this will gain you access to their WATCH ESPN app which gives you a live feed to the main ESPN channel (as well as some games that will be airing on other owned channels like ABC, SEC Network, ESPN U, and many more) on the go.
A few other options to stream ESPN games is Slingbox TV or ESPN Goal Line. Slingbox is great for cable cutters. It gives you ESPN and ESPN 2 and a bunch of other channels for $20/month. And ESPN Goal Line is similar to the NFL's Red Zone; a sort of highlight reel channel, great for catching box scores and crazy plays of all the games going. To get it though you have to be subscribed to the channel with your cable provider. So be sure and check into that if interested.
ABC is a locally broadcast national station. This means that you don't need a cable subscription to view, if you have a quality digital tuner (digital rabbit ears basically). Most streams over-the-air come free of charge, and most in HD. (1080i/720p typically). In this case, check local listings for your ABC affiliate channel.
But if you don't have that option, or want to stream ABC on the go...
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Keep in mind that ESPN basically owns the ABC Sports division for television. (Walt Disney ultimately owns both, fyi) But ABC will definitely air exclusive games. So there will be spillover with options, but that's a good thing. You will notice you can stream ABC games on the Watch ESPN app, for instance. But for watching nationally broadcast games on ABC, look to first use:
Watch ABC Live. With a cable subscription, you can view any ABC program including college football games live and on any mobile platform. And since ABC and ESPN are basically the same thing, so is their available scheduling for games.
Want to watch your Notre Dame Fighting Irish? Then NBC is the place. They have exclusive rights through 2025. Not all games will air on their game channel though. The season opener will. But most others will air instead on their NBCSN channel. NBC and affiliates will also air a handful of Ivy League conference games.
Most cable providers will include both NBC and NBCSN. But if you just have local channels, you will only get the main NBC channel.
At any rate, to watch NBC and NBCSN on the go, use the NBC Sports Live app.
The SEC and CBS have had a long history of exclusivity. But that has changed with the SEC Network channel venture with ESPN. Even still, CBS still gets many SEC games throughout the year. And CBS and CBSSN will be airing more than just SEC games. Check to see if your cable package includes CBSSN, most do.
CBS TV schedule and their CBS Sports Network programming info gives you all the info you'll need to watch CBS sponsored college football games.
For mobile access with cable credentials, use the CBS Sports mobile application.
Conference Specific TV Channels and Apps
For games that aren't being aired nationally, you can actually still get access. You just need to be kind of die-hard to go that route. Enter conference-specific tv channels and apps. Check your cable provider for channels like Longhorn Network or SEC Network. Those are the big 2 I am aware of. Also google to see if your favorite conference/team has their own channel. It will be extra to add to your TV package, but it could be worth it.
Keep in mind, ONLY non-nationally aired games that the other big channels didn't buy rights to will air on these channels. But you will also get exclusive interview access and a lot of other team/conference specific content throughout the season, or year if you decide to keep the channel.
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The Big Ten, Pac 12, ACC and SEC all have online streaming options that vary in price, starting at $7.99/month. All options vary a bit on what you get included with the service. But it should be noted that with the exception of the SEC Network (that's run partly with ESPN) you WILL NOT be able to stream nationally televised games here. Only ones that aren't.