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How to Watch College Football for Free Online: Ranking the Best Options

Written by Derek Fleming

Last updated on

Your favorite college football team is on in just a few minutes, and you want to watch the game in a free trial. Here are your best options ranked by the length of free trial period.

Table of Contents
  1. YouTube TV – 14 day free trial
  2. Fubo – 7 day free trial
  3. Paramount+ – 7 day free trial
  4. DIRECTV STREAM – 5 day free trial
  5. Can I watch college football on Hulu in a free trial?

Interest in live sports is at an all time high, and several live TV streaming services are competing for your subscription dollars. The two biggest strategies media companies use to motivate signups are the free trial and the “streaming exclusive game,” which are games only available by signing up for the streaming service that has the rights to the game. For example, Peacock has a slate of Big 10 college football games this season that can only be viewed on Peacock.

At Streaming Stadium, we prefer the free trial method over the streaming exclusive. For example, I have written previously about how upset Michigan fans will be about Peacock putting their opening game behind its premium paywall.

By contrast, offering a free trial period shows confidence in the product, as well as respect sports fans, who tend to be offended by the streaming exclusive model. In the analysis that follows, I list the pros and cons of signing up for the four streaming services that allow football fans to watch games for free on fall Saturdays.

YouTube TV – 14 day free trial

YouTube TV offers the longest free trial of any streaming service at 14 days, with no blackout restrictions, meaning you can give the trial a try for the college football season opener, or the biggest game, including College Football Playoff, which is in its last year of the 4 team format this season.

Pros

  • 14 day free trial
  • Excellent coverage of the Big Ten, SEC, and Big 12
  • 4K option available
  • Multiview feature for watching multiple games at one time

Cons

  • Lacks PAC-12 Network if the goal is to watch a smaller PAC-12 game in a free trial (this is the last season PAC-12 Network will operate)

Fubo – 7 day free trial

For this season only, Fubo offers a stronger channel lineup for watching college football than does YouTube TV because of the distribution rights it holds for PAC-12 Network, and the app offers a 7 day free trial, with no big game restrictions.

Although Fubo lacks ESPN in 4K, FOX and NBC sporting events, such as Big Noon Kickoff and Notre Dame football on NBC are offered in 4K with Fubo Elite.

Pros

  • 7 day free trial
  • Excellent coverage of the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, and PAC-12
  • 4K option available
  • Multiview feature for watching multiple games at one time

Cons

  • Lacks unlimited DVR
  • Multiview limited to Apple TV users

Paramount+ – 7 day free trial

Paramount+, unlike Peacock, offers a 7 day free trial. For 2023, the app offers a more diverse lineup of college football than it will in future seasons, because for this season only, CBS will have the rights to air Big Ten Football and SEC football.

Until the new CBS agreement with the Big Ten kicks in with a full slate of games next season, CBS will carry 7 Big Ten games, plus the SEC Game of the Week, and the SEC Championship game.

Pros

Cons

  • Only carries games that air on CBS affiliates
  • Major gaps in coverage for college football fans

DIRECTV STREAM – 5 day free trial

DIRECTV STREAM is a solid bet for college football fans, with coverage of all the important channels minus PAC-12 Network, and offers a 5 day free trial. The downside is the requirement to add DIRECTV STREAM “Choice” to get channels like Big Ten Network, SEC Network, and ACC Network, plus DIRECTV STREAM does not have a 4K option.

Pros

  • 5 day free trial
  • Only option for some regional sports networks in Baltimore, LA, and NY

Cons

  • No 4K option
  • Requirement to upgrade to more expensive “Choice” plan to get conference specific channels

Can I watch college football on Hulu in a free trial?

No, Hulu + Live TV does not offer a free trial for any live sports, including college football. The reason Hulu can’t offer a free trial for college football fans is because of the platform’s ESPN+ bundle, which meshes ESPN+ programming into the Hulu app. Disney, which owns both platforms, doesn’t want to give away its ESPN+ content for free.

ESPN+ carries several small, but exclusive, college football games, as well as UFC events, that the brass at Hulu want to make sure fans pay for before they can watch.

For example, because the Big 12 doesn’t have its own conference specific network, but does have a TV deal with ESPN, ESPN+ operates as a de facto “Big 12 Network” carrying early season matchups between Big 12 teams and non Power 5 opponents that the major media executives don’t bid on.

In this way, Hulu and ESPN+ carry its own brand of streaming exclusive college football games, which they don’t want to give away for free.

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