After a 10-1 season capped off with a Cure Bowl win over Coastal Carolina, Liberty finished ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. This is Liberty’s first ever top 25 finish in the AP Poll and the highest ranking in program history.

Liberty was No. 23 in the previous poll and surpassed San Jose State, Miami (FL), Southern Cal, Texas, and North Carolina since the poll released prior to bowl season. The Flames still come in behind Coastal Carolina, who is ranked No. 14, despite the head to head win on Dec. 26 in Orlando, 37-34, in overtime.

The Flames began the season unranked, but entered the poll just prior to defeating Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Liberty has been ranked in the top 25 national polls in eight out of the last nine weeks. The Flames also defeated a pair of ACC foes this season in Syracuse and in-state opponent Virginia Tech. The two wins makes Liberty the first non-Power Five team to post a pair of wins over Power Five schools in the same season since Houston in 2015.

Head coach Hugh Freeze helped guide Liberty to the program’s best ever season in 2020 as the Flames finished 10-1, tying the school record for most wins in a season. Liberty is expected to return several starters from the 2020 team, including quarterback Malik Willis and running back Joshua Mack. The Flames will certainly receive several votes in the 2021 preseason poll and could earn a spot in the preseason top 25.

Liberty opens the 2021 season on Sept. 4 against Campbell at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia. The rest of the Flames’ 2021 slate includes home games against Old Dominion (9/18), Middle Tennessee State (10/9), UMass (10/30), Louisiana (11/20), and Army (11/27). The road schedule begins with Troy (9/11), Syracuse (9/25), UAB (10/2), Louisiana-Monroe (10/16), North Texas (10/23), and Ole Miss (11/6).

Full AP Top 25 Poll