The Liberty Flames are preparing to open the 2021 season in less than two months. This coming year will be the third season as a full FBS member for the Flames since moving up from the FCS ranks.

The past few years have been a whirlwind with a coaching change, bowl appearances, COVID, first ever top 25 appearance, two ACC wins, and so on. As the season approaches, expectations are higher than ever before for Hugh Freeze and the Flames. Let’s reminisce on a few of the high times as we take a look at three of the best things to happen to Liberty football over the past few years.

Trying to keep this list to just three in only the past three seasons is very difficult. Specific wins and plays could easily be included, but we have focused our list on events that have pushed the program forward to a national level.

3. Top 25 Ranking

The 2020 season is one that will long be remembered for Liberty football. The Flames finished 10-1 following the team’s dramatic bowl win over Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl.  The Flames also picked up the program’s first ever wins over an ACC opponent when Liberty defeated Syracuse and Virginia Tech. Those two wins made Liberty the first non-Power Five team to post a pair of wins over ACC schools in the same season since Houston did so in 2015. Liberty finished the 2020 season ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 18 in the Amway Coaches Poll, the highest ever ranking for the Flames as an FBS program. Just ahead of the Virginia Tech game, and following the win, Liberty made its debut in the major top 25 polls and would remain there throughout the year.

2. Malik Willis transfers to Liberty

Making the move to the FBS level, the Flames had their veteran quarterback in Buckshot Calvert, but there were plenty of questions surrounding who would take over for Calvert beginning with the 2020 season. We got our first glimpse into life post-Buckshot in July 2019 when former Auburn quarterback Malik Willis transferred to Liberty. Since that time, Willis has taken over as the Flames’ starter and become one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He’s fit in perfectly into Hugh Freeze’s offensive system, and his game and the Liberty offense has surged to the next level as one of the most explosive units in the country.

1. Hugh Freeze is named Liberty head coach

Hugh Freeze is one of the best football coaches in the entire country. He’s certainly among the top 10 of best college football coaches and could be included in the top five. As Liberty’s head coach, Freeze has instantly brought the Flames football program to a nationally relevant level as one of the top Group of Five programs in the country. As long as Freeze is leading the charge on Liberty’s sidelines, the Flames will have a chance to be a nationally ranked team.