By James Cook:
The Liberty Flames compete in their final season at the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) level and make the jump to FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) in 2018. In 2017 the Flames expect to do more of the same, as they have become a regular fixture in the Big South Conference.
The Flames grabbed their first FCS playoff appearance in 2014 and have won or had a share of the Big South title eight times in the last decade competing there and are coming off a (6-5) record in 2016 that included a five game winning streak. Head Coach Turner Gill heads into his sixth season in Lynchburg with all five previous seasons were winning seasons. Gill a legendary Nebraska quarterback in the early 1980’s seems to be the perfect fit as Liberty heads into FBS territory.
The Flames have stepped up and played several much larger schools in the past such as Virginia Tech, West Virginia, North Carolina and SMU to name a few and Liberty has played well and showed some flashes of what is to come. The Flames have even defeated FBS schools Ball State and Appalachian State since 2010.
The schedule will get tougher for the Flames , but this is the move they have been waiting for at the school. The Flames open the 2017 season at Baylor on September 2nd and then will compete in their final season in the Big South Conference and FCS level.
Future opponents for Liberty will be some of the following starting in 2018 and moving forward: Army, Auburn, Syracuse, Rutgers, Ole Miss, and BYU to name a few.
They will also compete against several schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia moving forward: Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Old Dominion (Monarchs are their first opponent in 2018).
Stay tuned for more Liberty Flames football as we will be blogging and previewing the Flames all month long and blogging during the entire 2017 season.