In Liberty’s current predicament as an FBS Independent and only one secondary bowl agreement with the Cure Bowl, not only do the Flames need to get to the necessary six FBS wins to become bowl eligible, Liberty also needs help.
Here are the top games to keep an eye on this weekend, in addition to Liberty against New Mexico State, to help the Flames’ bowl chances.
Both the AAC and the Sun Belt have enough bowl eligible teams to fill their respective bowl slots, including the Cure Bowl. There still is a chance one spot will open up if the champion from either the AAC or the Sun Belt is the top ranked champion from the Group of Five conferences and gets a spot in the New Year’s Six. The AAC champ is currently holding this title with Memphis and Cincinnati.
#19 Cincinnati (10-1) at #18 Memphis (10-1)
Friday, 3:30, ABC
Line: Memphis -11
Can both teams win? We need the AAC champion to stay ranked ahead of Boise State, currently both the Bearcats and Tigers fit that bill, but one must lose this week. Cincy has already clinched a spot in next week’s AAC Championship game while Memphis is tied with Navy. A Memphis win is probably best, but we probably need whoever wins this game to also win the AAC Championship game to stay ahead of Boise State.
Memphis wins to clinch a spot in the AAC Championship Game next week that will feature a rematch with Cincinnati. We might need Memphis to pull the sweep so they stay ahead of Boise State.
#20 Boise State (10-1) at Colorado State (4-7)
Friday, 3:30, CBS Sports Network
Line: Boise State -12.5
A Boise State loss would greatly help the American’s chances at getting their champion into a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Boise State wins to keep pace with Memphis. They will play Hawaii next week in the MWC Championship game. A Boise State loss would be welcome.
#24 Appalachian State (10-1) at Troy (5-6)
Friday, 6 p.m., ESPN+
Line: App St -13.5
A Troy loss would eliminate them and the win by Appalachian State would keep them in the hunt for a New Year’s Six slot which would also help Liberty’s chances.
Troy gets blasted by Appalachian State and is eliminated.
This year there are 39 bowl games resulting in 78 bowl spots. If Liberty does not get into the Cure Bowl, but there is an empty spot elsewhere from not having enough bowl eligible teams, the Flames will get the nod.
There are currently 72 bowl eligible teams and 13 teams that are 1 win away from becoming bowl eligible, not counting Liberty. Here are those 13 teams and their games this week:
Ohio (5-6) at Akron (0-11)
Tuesday, 6pm, ESPN+
Line: Ohio -28
It’s very unlikely, but a loss by the Bearcats would eliminate them.
Ohio blew out Akron to become the 73rd bowl eligible team.
Ole Miss (4-7) at Mississippi State (5-6)
Thursday, 7:30, ESPN
Line: Miss St -3
This is a huge game for Liberty’s chances. The Flames need to pull for Coach Hugh Freeze’s former team, Ole Miss, to eliminate Mississippi State.
Mississippi State used a bonehead play by an Ole Miss Rebel who was whistled for a personal foul on a touchdown celebration. The Ole Miss kicker then missed the would be tying extra point with 4 seconds left. Bulldogs become the 74th bowl eligible team with the 1 point win.
Kent State (5-6) at Eastern Michigan (6-5)
Friday, Noon, ESPN+
Line: EMU -5.5
Eastern Michigan is already bowl eligible. Kent State needs one more win. We need Eastern Michigan to win to eliminate the Golden Flashes.
Kent State went on the road and pulled the upset to become the 75th bowl eligible team. They led 31-14 before Eastern Michigan mounted a comeback before throwing an interception in the red zone in the final minute. Kent State wins by 8.
#17 Iowa (8-3) at Nebraska (5-6)
Friday, 2:30, Big Ten Network
Line: Iowa -5.5
We need to pull for Iowa to knock off the Cornhuskers and eliminate them.
Iowa wins, 27-24, on a 48-yard field goal with one second remaining to eliminate Nebraska.
Missouri (5-6) at Arkansas (2-9)
Friday, 2:30, CBS
Line: Missouri -11.5
Missouri is an interesting case. They have been given a bowl ban but can qualify for the postseason by defeating Arkansas while the school fights the bowl ban with an ongoing appeal. Hopefully, they lose to the Razorbacks and we don’t have to worry about it.
The NCAA ruled on Tuesday and they will uphold the Missouri bowl ban. The Tigers are eliminated.
West Virginia (4-7) at TCU (5-6)
Friday, 4:15, ESPN
Line: TCU -12
West Virginia knocks off TCU in an upset to eliminate the Horned Frogs from bowl contention.
Boston College at Pittsburgh (7-4)
Saturday, 3:30, ACC Network
Line: Pitt -9.5
We need Boston College to lose which will eliminate them.
Boston College pulls the upset. This one could hurt. They become the 77th bowl eligible after Liberty defeated New Mexico State to become the 76th.
Maryland (3-8) at Michigan State (5-6)
Saturday, 3:30, FS1
Line: Michigan State -21
We need Maryland to pull off the big upset to eliminate the Spartans.
Michigan State holds on for the 3 point win to become the 78th bowl eligible team. That’s enough to fill all the bowl slots. To be guaranteed of a bowl birth before the day is over, Liberty needs every remaining team on this list to lose.
Oregon State (5-6) at #6 Oregon (9-2)
Saturday, 4 p.m., PAC-12 Network
Line: Oregon -18
We need the Ducks to eliminate their in-state rival.
Oregon picks up the win to eliminate their in-state rival.
North Carolina (5-6) at NC State (4-7)
Saturday, 7 p.m., ACC Network
Line: UNC -8
We need the Wolfpack to knock off the Tar Heels and eliminate them from bowl contention.
North Carolina dominates the 2nd half to become the 79th bowl eligible team. There are 78 slots. Someone will stay home.
Colorado (5-6) at #7 Utah (10-1)
Saturday, 7:30, ABC
Line: Utah -28
Utah should win and that would eliminate Colorado.
Utah defeats Colorado to eliminate the Buffs from bowl contention.
UL Monroe (5-6) at Louisiana (9-2)
Saturday, 7:30, ESPNU
Line: Louisiana -21
Louisiana has had a terrific season, and we need them to pull off a win against their rival to eliminate UL Monroe.
ULM misses a field goal at the end of the game as they come up just short of bowl eligibility.
The AAC making a New Year’s Six Bowl and the Flames sliding into the AAC’s Cure Bowl slot is most likely, but there’s still a chance Liberty could slide into another spot. 13 teams are fighting for the final six spots. It should make for a fun week. We will update this throughout the week as the games are played.