The global pandemic has certainly changed the way the world has operated over the last few months. It has affected nearly every aspect of life. Sports have been no exception.
We lost March Madness and the NBA, NHL, and MLB were all postponed.
Every year it is difficult to determine who won the “Best School in College Sports Award,” an award which I admittedly just made up. However, this past year has been even more difficult.
Let us attempt to determine who brought home the “BSCS Award” for 2020 by looking at the major sports that were able to play the majority of their seasons: football, basketball, and hockey.
Behind current Washington WR Antonio Gandy-Golden and QB Stephen Calvert, the Hugh Freeze-led Flames were able to finish the year 8-5 and hoist the Cure Bowl Trophy to finish their season. Not only was this the first bowl victory in program history, but the Flames were one of only 40 teams to earn a bowl victory.
Moving on to basketball.
Coronavirus and nationwide lockdowns set in right as conference tournaments began. Most conferences were unable to finish out their tournaments. In fact, only 13 conferences were able to crown a champion.
A 73-57 victory over Lipscomb University in the final game in Vines Center brought the ASUN championship to Lynchburg for the second year in a row. Not only did this cap off an impressive 30-4 season which included high profile victories against Vanderbilt, Navy, and East Carolina, but it made Liberty the only team to both win their bowl game and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
It already seems as though Liberty has locked up the “BSCS Award,” but let us look at hockey as well.
The men’s D1 team finished the season 33-5 and earned the #2 seed in the ACHA National Tournament.
While critics will point to strength of schedule and the lack of national championships, a team can only play who is on their schedule. And Liberty certainly took care of business.
Between the three teams the Flames finished with a record of 71-14 (0.835) and a bowl championship, a conference championship, and a bid to the national championship.
As the only team to earn these accomplishments last year, it is fair to declare the Liberty Flames the recipient of the “BSCS Award” for the 2019-20 season.
Let’s see if the Flames can defend the title in 2021!