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The cord-cutters guide to watching SEC football (and more!) in 2018

No cable? No problem. Here’s how to get your fix on Saturdays.

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Ready or not, football season is here. You just bought that new TV, the fridge is fully-stocked and the grill is lit.

But you don’t have cable.

Millions of Americans are cutting the cord each year, but that means they have to get a little creative to get their college football fix. Fortunately, if you have a streaming device like an Apple TV or an Amazon Fire Stick, you can access practically any streaming service.

Thanks to the SEC-ESPN contract, practically every game this season featuring an SEC team will be on the ESPN family of networks, namely ESPN, ESPN 2, and SEC Network. And that CBS game of the week? Many services offer local channels—namely in Jackson, Memphis, Atlanta, and Nashville—otherwise a digital antenna may be the best option. If you need one, just stick with a basic $15 antenna from Amazon.

For those saying they like to watch more football than just the SEC, this should help you pick out which service works for your viewing habits. Sometimes you just need to start your Saturday morning with Purdue vs. Michigan State on BTN or finish the day off with Fresno State and Wyoming on CBS Sports.

Let’s start with a breakdown of which services offer which networks.

Streaming services

Channels DirecTV Now Hulu TV YouTube TV Playstation Vue Sling Fubo TV
Channels DirecTV Now Hulu TV YouTube TV Playstation Vue Sling Fubo TV
ESPN Orange
ESPN 2 Orange
ESPN U $55 tier $5 add-on
SEC Network $55 tier $5 add-on
ESPNEWS $55 tier $5 add-on
ABC Blue
FOX Blue
NBC Blue
BIG TEN $55 tier
CBS SPORTS $65 tier
FS1 Blue
PAC 12 $5 add-on
STADIUM $5 add-on
ELEVEN SPORTS $10 add-on
Price $40.00 $39.99 $40.00 $49.99 $25 for Orange/Blue, $40 for both $44.99

Our pick: YouTube TV

For just $40, YouTube ticks all of the boxes while tying with as the cheapest option. It’s unfortunately not available on Fire Stick because Amazon and Google don’t get along, but the Roku and Apple TV apps run perfectly.

Runner up: Hulu TV

This service ranks right up next to Youtube TV, but the difference lies in the DVR. With Youtube, you can record as many games as you want and they’ll be saved for up to nine months. Hule only gives you 50 hours of recordings, though they’re never deleted.

“Yeah, but I really like PAC-12 After Dark,” you might be saying. In that case, just tack on FUBO TV. Still cheaper than cable.

Once you’ve picked out your service, you’ll need to either make sure you have the right device.


Devices DirecTV Now Hulu TV YouTube TV Playstation Vue Sling Fubo TV
Devices DirecTV Now Hulu TV YouTube TV Playstation Vue Sling Fubo TV
Apple TV
Fire TV
Google Cast
Xbox one
Playstation 4
Nvidia Shield
DVR 20 hours 50 hours unlimited unlimited $5 for 50 hours 30 hours

Our picks: Roku and Google Cast

Unlike the Apple TV or NVIDIA Shield, neither the Roku nor Google Cast breaks the budget. Both begin at $40, with a $70 option if you want to upgrade to 4K. If you prefer a traditional remote and agnostic interface, Roku is the pick. If you’re comfortable with using your phone as your remote, go with Google Cast.