Liberty has won six games in a row. It’s the program’s longest winning streak as an FBS member and longest since 2011.
Those wins have come against New Mexico State, Georgia Southern, Western Kentucky, Florida International, North Alabama, and Louisiana-Monroe. Not exactly a murderer’s row of opponents, sure, but it represents real, tangible progress for a program that lost to St. Francis, Monmouth, and Charleston Southern just three years ago.
For a school as young as Liberty and being the newest member of the FBS, the quickest way to national prominence is one step at a time.
A giant leap forward presents itself this week.
Hugh Freeze’s team, receiving 8 votes in the Coaches Top 25 and Associated Press Top 25 Poll, heads to New York to face 1-3 Syracuse.
Liberty has never beaten an ACC team, falling in the team’s first eight tries, losing by an average score of 39.1-18.1. This includes Liberty’s 24-0 shutout loss at home in last year’s season opener against the Orange.
Vegas currently has Liberty as a 2.5-point favorite.
At this point in Liberty’s program, anytime the Flames face a Power Five opponent it will be a big opportunity, but this game has much more riding on it than any previous matchup against a P5 school. With each win the stakes grow larger for the Flames.
With apologies to the previous eras, this is Liberty’s biggest game ever.
Sure, the Flames have been in other big games before – last year’s Cure Bowl, FCS Playoff games, de-facto Big South Championship games – but nothing on this level. Not with Liberty at 4-0 in the FBS and a chance to make a national statement and begin pushing for serious consideration to be a top 25 team.
Syracuse has a full ACC roster; Liberty is still at least one recruiting class away from having a full FBS roster.
Behind Malik Willis, Freeze and his team will head north this week with dreams of pulling off the win.
And if that happens? It’ll be time to begin taking this Liberty football program, behind Hugh Freeze, seriously as a top 25 contender.