For the fifth time in the last nine years, the Alabama Crimson Tide enter a college football season as the defending champs. There may be a slight hinge of uncertainty this year with controversy at quarterback and some youth at key positions, but with Nick Saban at the helm, the Tide are expected to once again roll towards a playoff appearance in 2018.
Every Alabama football game will be broadcast nationally on one of the following channels: ABC, CBS, any of the ESPN channels, or the SEC Network (full schedule). Fortunately, even if you don’t have cable or a TV, you can watch one, some or all of these channels by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: Includes ABC, CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News and SEC Network
Sling TV: Includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News and SEC Network (ABC is not technically in their channel package, but those games can be watched on ESPN’s digital platforms with a Sling TV log-in)
Amazon Prime + CBS Amazon Channel: Easiest and cheapest way to watch games on CBS
All of these services allow you to watch live TV without a cable box or satellite or annual contract. All you need is an internet connection. Here’s a rundown of what they include, how to sign up, and how to watch a live stream of every Alabama game in 2018:
Hulu with Live TV offers the perfect mix of entertainment and live sports for cord-cutters. Not only does it come with an extensive Netflix-like library of on-demand TV shows (Seinfeld, It’s Always Sunny, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, etc.) and movies, but it also gives you every channel that will broadcast an Alabama football game in 2018.
Alabama Football Channels Included: ABC (live in select markets), CBS (live in select markets), ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN News, SEC Network. There are a total of 50-plus channels included, as well as Hulu’s on-demand streaming library (a $7.99 or $11.99 per month value).
Pricing Options: Hulu With Live TV (with the “Limited Commercials” on-demand plan): $39.99 per month | Hulu With Live TV (with the “No Commercials” on-demand library plan): $43.99 per month
Extras: The regular Hulu With Live TV plan allows you to watch on two different devices at the same time, but you can watch on unlimited screens at the same time for $15 per month extra; 50 hours of cloud DVR is included, but you can upgrade to 200 hours of enhanced cloud DVR for $15 per month.
How to Sign Up: Go to the Hulu website and select “Sign Up Now”. After creating an account, select your channel package and any extras you want, then enter your payment information.
How & Where to Watch: If you want to watch on your computer, simply return to the Hulu website and select “Start Watching” at the top of the page, and then “Live TV.” Scroll to whatever channel you want to start watching live TV.
If you want to watch on your phone, tablet or other streaming device, you can do so via the Hulu app, which is free to download for the following devices: Amazon Fire TV or TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Android phones and tablets, iPads and iPhones, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, select Smart TV’s and other devices.
Additionally, Alabama games that are on ABC, any of the ESPN channels, or SEC Network can also be watched 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 you can use your Hulu credentials to do that.
The first to dive into the cable-free, live-TV streaming service, Sling TV’s biggest selling point continues to be its low price point. However, in true a la carte fashion, many extras that come included with other services come on the side with Sling–so if you want all the Alabama football channels and DVR, the pricing doesn’t end up being very different. All things considered, Hulu with Live TV is still the better value, plus it has CBS while Sling TV does not.
If you do go with Sling, you’ll probably want to pair it with the Amazon Prime CBS Channel.
Alabama Football Channels Included: ESPN and ESPN2 are part of the “Sling Orange” bundle, while ESPNU, ESPN News and SEC Network are in the “Sports Extra” add-on
Price: Sling Orange: $25 per month | Sports Extra add-on (w/Sling Orange): $5 per month
Extras: Watch on one device at once with Sling Orange; 50 hours of cloud DVR is $5 per month extra.
How to Sign Up: Go to the Sling TV website and select “Watch Now 7 Days Free.” After creating an account, select your channel package and any extras you want, then enter your payment information to sign up.
How & Where to Watch: If you want to watch on your computer, just return to the Sling TV website and navigate to your desired channel to start watching live TV. If you want to watch on your phone, tablet or other streaming device, you can do so via the Sling TV app, which is free to download for the following devices: Amazon Fire TV or TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Android phones and tablets, iPads and iPhones, Fire tablets, and Xbox One.
Additionally, Alabama games that are on ABC, any of the ESPN channels, or SEC Network can also be watched 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 you can use your Sling TV credentials to do that.
This is a great option if you’re simply looking for a way to watch the games that are on CBS.
If you have Amazon Prime or want to start a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, you can watch all CBS content (both live and on-demand) via the CBS Amazon Channel, which also comes with a 7-day free trial.
Once you’re signed up for both Amazon Prime and the CBS channel, you can then watch a live stream of your local CBS channel on your computer via the Amazon website, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
In April, the 2018 NFL draft had an Alabama theme. Star defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick was selected by the Miami Dolphins 11th overall, Daron Payne went two picks later, Rashaan Evans and Calvin Ridley joined their former teammates as first-round picks, and by the time the weekend was over, 12 Crimson Tide players had their names called by NFL squads. That set a school and SEC record.
Most teams would take a step back after losing that much talent, but Alabama isn’t most teams. Instead of rebuilding, they reload.
Even with all the losses, the Tide still have star power all over the defensive front seven with the likes of Raekwon Davis, Isaiah Buggs, Dylan Moses and Anfernee Jennings. The secondary is a bit more of a question mark after losing Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison, Anthony Averett, Hootie Jones and Levi Wallace, but ultimately, there are three certainties in life: Death, taxes and a Nick Saban defense having an elite defense.
Here are the Crimson Tide’s national finishes in Bill Connelly’s S&P+ defensive ratings the last 10 years, beginning with the most recent: 1st, 1st, 1st, 5th, 5th, 1st, 1st, 5th, 5th, 7th.
Offensively, the headlines during the offseason have centered around one compelling question: Jalen or Tua?
Meaning, who do the Tide start at QB? Jalen Hurts has been the starter the last two years in Tuscaloosa. He limits mistakes–just one interception on 255 attempts last year–and can beat teams with his legs, running for 1,808 yards and 21 scores in two seasons. Tua Tagovailoa replaced Hurts in the second half of last year’s national championship and led the Tide on a dramatic comeback. He takes more risks downfield–two interceptions on 77 attempts last year–but is considered the more talented thrower.
Tagovailoa is expected to start, but it will be interesting to see how new offensive coordinator Mike Locksley manages both players.
Of course, no matter who is under center, it will help to have a dominant running game to lean on. Bo Scarbrough is in the NFL, but with Damien Harris, Najee Harris, Brian Robinson Jr and Josh Jacobs in the backfield, the Tide have an embarrassment of riches at the position.
Put it all together, and Alabama–for the third year in a row–enters the season as the No. 1 team in the nation. Surprise, surprise.