Liberty’s complete 2024 schedule was released on Thursday as the Flames attempt to repeat as Conference USA champions.
Teams are still finalizing their rosters through the transfer portal and entering the February signing day for high school athletes, so an exercise like this may be a bit futile, but it is fun nonetheless. So, here is our ranking, at the start of February, of Liberty’s 2024 football schedule from least difficult game to most difficult.
12. VS CAMPBELL, AUG. 31
Liberty will open the season against Campbell at Williams Stadium on the last day of August. This is the first time the Flames have played an FCS team since the 2022 season when Liberty defeated Gardner-Webb in a squeaker, 21-20. Liberty is a perfect 6-0 against FCS teams since moving up to the FBS ranks including a 48-7 win over Campbell to open the 2021 campaign.
11. VS FIU, OCT. 9
As the schedule transitions to October and a midweek schedule, the Flames will have around 10-11 days to prepare for FIU, depending on exactly what day the game is played. The Panthers are coming off back to back 4-8 seasons under head coach Mike MacIntyre as he prepares for his third season at the helm for FIU. The Flames had little trouble with the Panthers last year, dominating them in Miami for a 38-6 win.
10. AT UMASS, NOV. 16
Liberty has defeated UMass by an average of 52-17 over the past five seasons including a 49-25 win over the Minutemen last year. The game falls at an odd time on the schedule as Liberty steps out of conference play for one game in mid November.
9. VS UTEP, SEPT. 14
Scotty Walden has taken over in El Paso as head coach after a successful stint at Austin Peay. He seems to have brought a lot of energy and excitement with him, but, especially early in the season, it will likely take the Miners a little bit of time to adjust to the changes and be prepared to come into Lynchburg and beat the defending CUSA Champions.
8. AT KENNESAW STATE, OCT. 23
The Owls make the move to Conference USA and the FBS this fall and are coming off a 3-6 season in 2022, playing primarily an FCS schedule. Kennesaw State did play Sam Houston last year, falling to the Bearkats 24-21. The Owls are likely to become a contender, within time, in the CUSA, but with Liberty having an open date prior to this game, the Flames should pick up the win.
7. AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE, NOV. 9
When the schedule switches to November and back to a normal Saturday game day routine, the Flames will have over a week to prepare to take on the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee will be breaking in a new head coach for the first time in a long time as Derek Mason has taken over in Murfreesboro.
6. AT SAM HOUSTON, NOV. 30
Expect Sam Houston to be much improved in 2024 as they move into its second year at the FBS level. The Bearkats were much more competitive in the second half of the year than they were at the beginning, expect that trend to continue as KC Keeler and company continue to strengthen the team’s talent pool and depth. This is the regular season finale for both teams, and, if things go as Liberty hopes, this game might not have a lot of meaning riding on it for Liberty if the CUSA Championship game is already decided. Perhaps a spot in the playoffs will still be on the line?
5. VS EAST CAROLINA, SEPT. 21
The Pirates were just 2-10 last year, but they will have a strong level of talent on their team. East Carolina will be no easy win for the Flames at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg in September.
4. AT NEW MEXICO STATE, SEPT. 7
It’s a new look team in Las Cruces for the Aggies with a new head coach and several new faces on the team looking to step into the spotlight in 2024. It’s probably good for Liberty to get this game out of the way early in the year before NMSU finds itself as the season progresses. Still, that’s a long trip and first FBS test of the season for Liberty.
3. VS WESTERN KENTUCKY, NOV. 23
2023 didn’t go as expected for WKU, the heavy CUSA preseason favorites a year ago. Still, the Hilltoppers have some talent and a strong tradition. Expect them to compete for a conference title once again this season. With this game coming so late in the season, there could be a lot riding on it in terms of CUSA Championship implications.
2. VS JACKSONVILLE STATE, OCT. 30
Many will expect Rich Rod and the Gamecocks to be Liberty’s toughest competitor for the 2024 CUSA title. Good news for the Flames is the game is played in Lynchburg this fall.
1. AT APPALACHIAN STATE, SEPT. 28
This is a game that many will have circled on their calendars at the G5 level entering the 2024 season. Two teams expected to contend for its respective league title and compete for a spot in the expanded College Football Playoffs.