ESPN’s Bill Connelly and his SP+ formula has released his predictions for Liberty and the rest of the FBS Independents.
The SP+ has Liberty “likely wins” against the Campbell Camels, UMass Minutemen, Old Dominion Monarchs, Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, North Texas Mean Green, Syracuse Orange, Army Black Knights, and UAB Blazers. “Relative toss-ups” are considered losses and those go to the Troy Trojans and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. The most likely loss is the game at the Ole Miss Rebels.
The Flames’ projected SP+ rank is No. 42. Liberty has improved considerably in each of the program’s first few seasons in the FBS and the SP+ ranking shows that. The Flames jumped from 121st to 75th in SP+ from 2018 to 2020.
Liberty is coming off a record campaign in 2020 when 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.
Liberty will open the 2021 season at home on Sept. 4 against Campbell. The Flames will host five more home games throughout the season: Old Dominion (Sept. 18), Middle Tennessee (Oct. 9), UMass (Oct. 30), Louisiana (Nov. 20), and Army (Nov. 27).