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Why Maryland’s playing on ESPN+ this week, and how to (legally) watch it for free

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Everything you need to know to watch Maryland-Bowling Green without going *outside the law*.

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ESPN’s Rece Davis at College GameDay’s live show from New York last year.
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Maryland football plays Bowling Green on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET, as the Terps seek to not only improve to 2-0 after beating Texas, but to exorcise some old demons against the MAC team that blew them out at home in 2015. The game will be televised on ESPN+.

What’s ESPN+? Glad you asked!

ESPN’s new streaming service debuted this summer as a standalone service. Fans who subscribe to ESPN+ have access mid-major college football, Serie A soccer, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS games that aren’t broadcast anywhere else on the worldwide leader’s family of networks. The streaming service also has some original programming, and the library of 30 for 30 documentaries. For a full accounting of what’s broadcast on ESPN+, go here. Here’s a sampling of football that’s streaming on ESPN+ this Saturday:

maryland-bowling green-tv channel-espn-info

So, yeah, I don’t think I’d get ESPN+ just to watch college football. At least not right now.

Anything else?

ESPN+ also just merged with ESPN Insider, which is espn.com’s subscription service that puts things like Mel Kiper’s NFL mock draft with Josh Allen going No. 1 behind a paywall. (There’s also valuable things there too. I enjoyed this story on Shea Patterson and Michigan from this weekend.)

The service is $4.99 per month or $50 for a year. But you don’t have to pay anything to watch Maryland-Bowling Green this weekend.

ESPN+ has the option for a seven-day free trial. Signing up is pretty simple. Just go to https://plus.espn.com and create an account. There’s no reason to need to sneak around and grab a password to a friend’s account. If for some reason ESPN won’t let you use the free trial with your current ESPN account, I’d recommend just creating a new account with an email address you haven’t used with ESPN before.

Then, when you log into ESPN.com, just click the big ESPN+ logo at the top of the page.

maryland-bowling green-tv channel-espn-info

If you scroll down past “Watch Now” you can sample the stories ESPN has that are only viewable with ESPN+, so I’d recommend doing that too.

Alternately, you can stream ESPN+ through the ESPN app. Whether you have a Chromecast, a smart TV or just an HDMI cord to your TV, getting the game to show up on the big screen is your final step. Good luck!

But wait, why is Maryland playing on ESPN+, a streaming service seemingly only showing college football games between FCS and/or low G5 teams?

There’s no listed reason for specifically having Maryland on here, but—and I take no pleasure in pointing this out—Kansas is playing on ESPN+ this Saturday too. Both teams have been among the worst in the Power 5 for the past couple seasons. And when the options are Maryland or Kansas vs. a Group of 5 team, that’s not going to beat out what ESPN is showing on its regular family of networks this Saturday:

Arizona vs. Houston
Duke vs. Northwestern
Georgia Tech vs. USF
Mississippi State vs. Kansas State
Arkansas State vs. Alabama
North Carolina vs. East Carolina
Clemson vs. Texas A&M

(Well, okay, North Carolina vs. ECU...)

And ESPN has an incentive to put this behind a subscription service instead of just putting it on ESPN3, where anyone with a cable subscription can check it out. This way, they can see what happens when they try to convert a fan base of a Power 5 team to a subscriber base that’s large enough to measure but small enough not to worry about any massive internet outrage.

So grab the free trial. Do it a few days in advance of the game, even, so you’re not scrambling around on Saturday.

Then, if you want, cancel it afterward to avoid paying any actual money. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll forget to cancel and end up paying $4.99 per month forever.