In the two years that Hugh Freeze has been Liberty’s head football coach, he has frequently mentioned the goal for Liberty in the near future is to become one of the premier Group of Five conference programs in the country.
Of course, Liberty isn’t actually in a conference, much less a G5 conference, but the goal is understandable. The Group of Five conferences are the American, Conference USA, Mountain West, Sun Belt, and Mid-American.
Since Liberty moved up to the FBS ranks beginning with the 2018 season, the Flames have quickly become a tough out among G5 opponents. The Flames are 8-2 during that time period against teams from a G5 conference with the only losses coming to CUSA’s North Texas and the Sun Belt’s Louisiana. Under Freeze, Liberty is 5-1 against such opponents, including wins this season over Western Kentucky and Florida International.
“You’ve got to give the success to the people that laid the foundation, Coach Gill and his staff and the vision of the administration here,” Freeze said. “They’ve put in place the things that I think you need to be successful to build this into one of the Group of Five top programs. Are we on that track? The record is what it is, you can’t make that up. Have we arrived? No way. We’re not deep enough in certain spots. We’ve still got to get a deeper roster. Do I believe we can do that? Absolutely. I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t believe that, and I believe it even more today than I did two years ago. I do think we’re on track.”
Most notable among Liberty’s successful play against other G5 programs is the Flames remarkable play against teams from the Sun Belt and Conference USA. Those two leagues have been most frequently mentioned among possible suitors to add Liberty as a conference member.
Liberty is 2-1 against Sun Belt teams over the past two plus seasons, including a win over Georgia Southern in the 2019 Cure Bowl. Going back to Liberty’s time as an FCS member, the Flames are 4-1 against Sun Belt teams, which includes wins over Appalachian State (as they transitioned to FBS & the Sun Belt) and Georgia State.
The Flames 3-1 against Conference USA teams, including the two wins this season over Western Kentucky and Florida International.
Liberty has not arrived as a top G5 program yet, but in just their third season as an FBS member, the Flames are well on their way.