The Cure Bowl matchup between No. 12 Coastal Carolina (11-0) and No. 23 Liberty (9-1) is getting plenty of national attention as being one of the best bowl games of bowl season 2020. The only games ranked consistently ahead of the showdown on Saturday in Orlando, Florida are the New Year’s Six Bowl games, with even one publication ranking it No. 1 among all the bowl matchups. Liberty and Coastal Carolina have the second highest combined winning percentage (20-1, .952) this year of any bowl matchup, trailing only Alabama vs Notre Dame (21-1, .955).
Last year’s Cure Bowl between Liberty (7-5) and Georgia Southern (7-5) was generally ranked among the less anticipated bowl matchups, checking around No. 28 of all the bowl games last season. Quite a difference one year makes.
College Football News ranks the 2020 Cure Bowl matchup No. 1 among all the bowl games this season. Yes, you read that right. Here’s their summary of the game:
“I don’t want to hear it, you two. The pressure is on to be the best game of the 2020-2021 bowl season, and darn it if this doesn’t have the makings of something amazing.
Yes, Coastal Carolina, you deserve a big bowl stage against a big-name program. Yes, Liberty, you were a blocked field goal against NC State away from being everyone’s darling. Use that disrespect and give us a classic.
I know everyone fawns over Cincinnati, but these two have a real claim to being among the best non-Power Five programs, and they’re going to put on one wild show.”
The Washington Post puts the Liberty-Coastal Carolina matchup at No. 6 this year. The Cure Bowl only trails the New Year’s Six Bowls of the Peach, Rose, Orange, Cotton, and Sugar in the rankings. Here’s what they have to say about the Flames and the Chanticleers:
“So it turns out they’ll meet this month after all. Coastal Carolina (11-0) and Liberty (9-1) were supposed to play Dec. 5, but the game was nixed because of virus issues at Liberty and the Chanticleers went on to beat substitute opponent BYU. The original matchup was enough to lure the Four-Letter Network’s weekly traveling cavalcade, and it holds up as an appealing matchup.
Player to know: QB Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina. The Sun Belt’s leader in total offense and pass efficiency, the freshman threw for 23 touchdowns and two interceptions while leading the Chanticleers to 10 of their 11 victories.”
Athlon Sports puts the Cure Bowl 7th this year, sitting just behind the Peach, Fiesta, Orange, Cotton, Rose, and Sugar. Good company to keep. Here’s their breakdown:
“These two teams were originally scheduled to meet on Dec. 5 in Conway, S.C., but COVID-19 concerns with Liberty forced Coastal Carolina to schedule BYU. Despite the later date and change in venue, this game has the potential to be one of the better postseason matchups. The Flames average 38.3 points a game behind quarterback Malik Willis, while the Chanticleers recorded 37.5 a contest. Redshirt freshman Grayson McCall leads the Sun Belt with 264.3 total yards a game, while coach Jamey Chadwell can stress Liberty’s defense with playmakers like Jaivon Heiligh, Isaiah Likely, and running back CJ Marable.”
The Cure Bowl ranks No. 7 in Yahoo Sports‘ ranking of top bowls this season, only trailing the Peach, Boca, Orange, Cotton, Rose, and Sugar.
“From a pure records perspective, this is one of the best matchups of bowl season. Coastal Carolina has been one of the stories of the season going undefeated and beating BYU in one of the best games of the year. The Chanticleers won’t be playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game, but they get a fun matchup against Liberty. The two teams were supposed to play on Dec. 5 until Liberty’s virus issues allowed BYU to be subbed in. Now we can see what that game would have looked like.”
The high rankings continue as CBS Sports pits the 2020 Cure Bowl at 9th behind the Cheez-It, Fiesta, Orange, Boca, Peach, Rose, Cotton, and Sugar. Here’s their analysis of the game:
“Remember how excited everybody was for the impromptu meeting between Coastal Carolina and BYU this season? Well, it was impromptu because Coastal’s original opponent for that game had to cancel due to COVID-19 issues. That opponent was Liberty. Well, while nearly everybody was pumped for Coastal-BYU, I was slightly disappointed. I wanted to see the matchup between Coastal and Liberty because I felt it had the potential to get stupid in the best way possible. Now, the game against BYU turned out to be wonderful, too, but I still think this game has a chance to be The Bowl Game Everybody Is Talking About when it’s finished. These are two entertaining and exciting offenses to watch as coaches Jamey Chadwell and Hugh Freeze are terrific play-callers. Combined record of these teams? 20-1. Want scoring? Liberty and Coastal put points on the board ranking 17th (38.3 points) and 18th (37.5 points) in scoring average.”