The champagne will be gone and the party hats will long since have been trashed on Tuesday. That can only mean one thing: It’s time for college football!
New Year’s Day is loaded with gridiron goodness, including the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. And most of the games air on ESPN, which is problematic if you’re one of the growing number of people who have cut the cord recently.
The good news is: There are plenty of ways to still watch football—and test out some cable alternatives at the same time. Here are several options for fans hoping to catch New Year’s Day football games for free without cable (as well as the many bowl games in the days leading up to the big contests).
Dish Network’s Sling is one of the OG cord cutter options. It has an extensive selection of ESPN options in its lower tiered “Orange” plan. That will run you $25 per month, but you won’t get Fox Sports in that bundle. (For that, you’ll need to subscribe to Sling’s $25-per-month “Blue” plan, which is the better choice if you’re more an NFL fan.) Either way, you can watch Mississippi State take on Iowa in the Outback Bowl for free with the service’s seven-day free preview.
Note that you don’t have to choose between college and pro football. Sling also offers a $40 per month option that offers both channels.
Originally started as a streaming service that was only available on the PlayStation game console, PlayStation Vue can now be viewed on most mobile and streaming devices (like Amazon Fire TV or as a downloadable app to Smart TVs). The free trial is the longest of the major services, too, coming in at 14 days, which will give you plenty of time to see Texas and Georgia go at it in the Sugar Bowl.
Should you decide to subscribe, packages start at $45 per month (and include ESPN and ESPN2, ensuring you’ll have access to most bowl games in the future). Die-hard football fans, though, will want to opt for either the $50 “Core” or $60 “Elite” plan, because they both include the NFL Network, at least five ESPN channels and several Fox Sports options.
The AT&T-owned service will let you stream seven days for free and offers basic service that includes ESPN and ESPN2 as well as Fox Sports. That’ll make it a snap to watch the Citrus Bowl, when Kentucky takes on Penn State. If you like what you see, $40 per month will get you more than 65 channels. $10 more per month will get you the NFL Network as well. Other packages with 125 channels go for $75 per month.
Hulu with Live TV
Hulu’s already a popular option for people who like to time shift their TV viewing or watch the service’s growing slate of original programming, but the addition of live programming a couple years ago makes it a viable choice for cord cutters. Hoping to catch Washington vs. Ohio State in the Rose Bowl? You can try the service free for a week for access to the major networks, ESPN, ESPN2, three other ESPN channels, and two Fox Sports channels. Once that’s up, you’ll pay $40 per month.
Google’s play in the live, streaming television market folds in more than 60 channels and offers six log-in accounts per subscription, meaning you can watch LSU vs. UCF in the Fiesta Bowl while your kid catches up on Doc McStuffins or Rick & Morty. The service used to offer a 30-day free trial, but it’s been downgraded to just a week now. After that, you’ll face a $40 per month charge.
While it’s not one of the big five streaming services, Fubo TV has built a fan base among sports enthusiasts. It has its drawbacks, though. After the 7-day trial, prices jump to $40 or $45 per month for the first month (then add another $5 per month afterward). And while the service is loaded with sports channels, including Fox Sports 1, NBA TV, and NBC Sports Network, it doesn’t feature ESPN, meaning you won’t be able to watch any of the major bowl games.
CBS All Access
CBS won’t be broadcasting any bowl games on New Year’s Day, but if you want to catch the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, you can sign up for the service’s one week free trial. The additional content is restricted to the CBS library and includes original online programs, including Star Trek: Discovery, but only costs $6 per month to access.