Liberty may not be playing this week, but that doesn’t mean that LU fans should just turn off their TV sets this Saturday. There are a few key matchups happening this weekend that could end up affecting Liberty in a big way. If the following three steps go as planned, Liberty could very well get ranked on a weekend that they don’t even play. Here’s how it could happen.


Friday, at 9 pm EST, Tulsa plays ECU on ESPN2. Tulsa is currently ranked just behind the Flames in the AP poll at #28. Liberty needs ECU to pull off the upset (currently 17.5 point underdogs) to keep Tulsa from jumping the inactive Flames.


On the other side of the Flames, is Memphis at #26. Memphis plays #7 Cincinnati Saturday at 12 pm EST on ESPN. Liberty needs the Tigers (7 point underdogs) to pull an L in this one so LU can leapfrog the reigning Group of 5 New Years 6 representatives.


Oklahoma plays Texas Tech (14 point underdogs) at 8pm EST on Fox and has not looked strong this season with losses to previously unranked Kansas State and Iowa State. Boise State plays Air Force (14 point underdogs) at 6pm EST on CBSSN and just cracked the rankings last week after a solid win against Utah State, but Air Force has been a tricky matchup for the Broncos as the Falcons have claimed 3 of the last 7 in the blossoming rivalry. SMU looks the most vulnerable of the 3, with a blowout loss to Cincinnati last week and narrow victories on their season record against 1-6 Texas State and 2-4 Tulane. The Mustangs play Navy (13 point underdogs) at 7:30pm EST on ESPN2.

As far as the rest of the other Top 25 matchups go, they shouldn’t have a significant impact on the Flames’ as the ranked team is too high in the rankings to fall out, the team playing them just doesn’t have a good enough shot of beating them (for example Kansas vs #23 Iowa State) or the unranked team is not a significant challenger to leapfrog the Flames (there are a few examples where an unranked team could jump into the rankings but the team they beat would likely fall out so the end result would be null). One additional team to mention is Coastal Carolina, who plays Georgia State (2.5 point underdogs) at 12pm EST on ESPNU and is currently ranked #20. Although a loss to Georgia State  would knock the Chanticleers out and open up a slot for the Flames, it would be better for Liberty if Coastal remained ranked until the matchup in December as the Flames saw their other two ranked opponents fall from grace this last weekend (VT and NC State) and Coastal Carolina looks like the last chance for the Flames to beat a top 25 team.

If all three of these steps happen, Liberty should be ranked come Sunday. Of course, if multiple teams of those listed in step 3 lose, then there is more room for error and Liberty could potentially still get in even if Tulsa or Memphis win their matchups. Another factor is that these rankings are not the Playoff Rankings (which first come out November 24th) and there is a high degree of bias and personal motivations factored into the rankings. Something that has seemed to be a trend in the past is a desire by the AP pollsters to create good matchups. A ranked Liberty coming into Blacksburg as underdogs makes very good television and there may be a push to rank the Flames if a spot opens up, even if my steps are not met. Either way, Liberty fans still have a lot to keep an eye on this weekend as something very historic for the Flames could be in the making.

Written By Mr. Exclamation Point