Liberty football enters its second year in Conference USA. The conference itself underwent another change as it welcomes Kennesaw State to the fold for the 2024 season. The conference is now at 10 teams and everyone will play 8 conference games, missing one league team on the year. The one CUSA member the Flames miss this season is Louisiana Tech.

With the 2024 schedule set, which matchups stand out for Liberty? Let’s dive into some superlatives to highlight the biggest parts of Liberty’s upcoming football schedule.

Best non-conference game: at Appalachian State (Sep. 28)

This one is obvious. The Mountaineers are one of the top Group of Five teams most years and should be expected to compete for a conference title in the Sun Belt once again this season. This game, featuring the CUSA favorite and one of the Sun Belt favorites could end up being a de facto play in game for the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff as the top ranked Group of Five conference champion.

Appalachian State was 9-5 last year, losing to Troy in the Sun Belt title game. They won the Cure Bowl, defeating Miami (Oh). This will certainly be a game to circle on the calendar this fall and do whatever you can to try to make the trip to Boone in late September.

Most favorable FBS matchup: FIU (Oct. 8)

Obviously, the most favorable matchup on the schedule for Liberty is FCS foe Campbell in the season opener. However, the Flames also should be very heavy favorites in its first game in October in the midweek. The Flames dominated the Panthers in Miami last year, and, playing at home this year and with a couple days extra rest, this should be an easy win for Liberty once again. Of course, one might have thought last year’s home game against Sam Houston was also going to be a snooze fest and easy win and we saw how that went.

Biggest home game: Jacksonville State (Oct. 30)

The Flames have a couple big home games this season, playing its likely two biggest conference does at Williams Stadium this year in WKU and Jax State. We go with the Gamecocks here, the last game in the month of October as the two teams meet in the midweek once again. Jacksonville State was one of the biggest surprises in CUSA last year and they should compete at the top of the conference once again this season.

Biggest road game (besides App State): at New Mexico State (Sep. 7)

It’s really difficult to pick the biggest road game after the showdown in Boone against the Mountaineers. A case could be made for most of them, but we will go with the first road trip of the year against New Mexico State.

One of the reasons is because it is the first road game, first FBS game, and first CUSA matchup of the year. The Flames will definitely want to get off to a strong start to begin the 2024 campaign as Liberty looks to repeat as CUSA champs. Of course, NMSU was the team that Liberty faced in the e 2023 CUSA championship game a year ago, but this year’s Aggies team will be much different than last year’s squad with a new head coach and several key players who have transferred out of the program.

Most underrated matchup: East Carolina (Sep. 21)

Many will (and have) looked at East Carolina’s 2-10 record last year and will mark this one down as an easy win for the Flames. That might not be the case. I expect the Pirates to be much improved this year and to be one of the Flames’ toughest games on the schedule this coming season. ECU was a bowl team each of the two years prior to last year’s 2-10 mark. Under seventh year head coach Mike Houston, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see ECU competitive in the American once again this season while also returning to a bowl game.