There are a bevy of big-time matchups featuring powerhouse programs across the country on college football’s opening weekend, but one of the most compelling games will quietly take place at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Alabama, where Troy hosts No. 22 Boise State.
The game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN News. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can still watch a live stream of the game (or DVR it) on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu also offers a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels, including ESPN News (and all the other ESPN channels). You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
If you can’t watch live, “Hulu with Live TV” also comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials).
While ESPN and ESPN 2 are both included in the “Sling Orange” channel package, ESPN U and ESPN News are in the “Sports Extra” add-on. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of both, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
If you can’t watch live, you can get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage as an additional add-on.
Additionally, you can also watch a live stream of the game on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app. You’ll need to log in to a cable provider to watch this way, but if you don’t have that, you can still sign up for one of the above options and then use your Hulu or Sling TV credentials to sign in and watch on the ESPN digital platforms.
Last season, Boise State went 11-3 and finished the year ranked 22nd following a win over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl. It was the 15th double-digit-win season and 12th bowl win in the last 19 seasons for the Broncos, who have established themselves as arguably the most consistent non-Power Five team in America.
And it’s the type of success that Neal Brown is looking to establish at Troy.
“For sure, Boise (State is) at the level we’re trying to get to,” he said. “It’s a measuring-stick game for us, just to see where we’re at. Boise — and deservedly so — is the highest ranked Group of Five team right now in a number of preseason magazines.”
Well, they’re doing a pretty good job of getting to that level.
Following a five-year stretch that saw them go 21-39 with zero bowl games, Brown has led the Trojans to a pair of double-digit-win seasons in a row, both of which have concluded with bowl victories. They reached the AP poll for the first time in school history in 2016, and they went into Baton Rouge and took down LSU last year.
That said, Boise State remains the Goliath to Troy’s David–or the Greece to Troy’s Troy. After averaging 32.5 points per game last season, quarterback Brett Rypien and most of his weapons from last year return, and while the defense lost Leighton Vander Esch to the first round of the NFL draft, literally every other starter–including star defensive ends Jabril Frazier and Curtis Weaver–is back.
Boise State, which beat Troy by 11 last year, has only gotten better and more experienced since last season, so it’s no real surprise to see them favored by 10 points.
But it would be a mistake to write off the Trojans. They’ve proven over the last two years they can hang with some of the country’s best programs, and they certainly have the pieces to stifle Boise State’s elite offense, as they return five all-conference defensive players (Hunter Reese, Blace Brown, Trevon Sanders, Tron Folsom, Cedarius Rookard) after finishing 16th in America in yards per play allowed last season.
“Their defense was especially good against us last year,” said Rypien, who, in last year’s matchup, managed just 160 yards and an interception that was returned to the house by Brown. “I expect the same thing from them this year. They have a really good defense. They had some guys step up at different positions last year.”
Throw it all together, and this stacks up as a wonderfully compelling–and potentially very important–Group of Five matchup. Don’t let the size of the schools deter you from watching this one.