As has been expected for the past month, UConn has officially announced that they will become an FBS Independent after the conclusion of the 2019 season. This comes following the Board of Trustees who voted to move all sports from the American Athletic Conference to the Big East, which doesn’t sponsor football.
The Huskies will have to pay the AAC an exit fee of $17 million, which must be paid over the course of the next six years. They have gone 18-55 over the past six years, including an 11-37 mark in AAC play.
UConn will join the ranks of the Independents, joining a growing list which now includes a total of seven – Liberty, UMass, New Mexico State, Notre Dame, BYU, and Army.
They currently have four opponents lined up for next season – vs. Wagner, vs. Illinois, at Indiana, and at UMass. They will need to line up eight new opponents in the next 13 months in order to play a full schedule.
This can be accomplished, but it will be challenging. For comparison’s sake, after announcing its move to the FBS, Liberty scheduled a full 12-game 2018 schedule in 3 months.
Liberty is sure to be in discussions with UConn about scheduling opportunities. In fact, Liberty AD Ian McCaw told the News & Advance recently that Liberty has already had some preliminary discussions with UConn.
“That would be a team we would like to play on a regular basis,” McCaw said. “We’d be open to helping them out during the transition and seeing if there’s a way to move games and play them potentially as early as 2020.”
Liberty has already announced future schedules through 2022, but those games can always be rearranged. In 2020, when UConn will be looking for a number of games in a short period of time, the Flames are scheduled to face two FCS teams. For bowl eligibility, only one win against an FCS opponent can be counted. So, it would make perfect sense for Liberty to look to move one of those FCS games in favor of playing UConn.
The Flames are scheduled to host North Carolina A&T on September 12th and Western Carolina on November 14th. With the difficulty Independents face in trying to secure home dates in late October and November, that Western Carolina game would make perfect sense to be pushed back or even cancelled and replaced with UConn paying a visit to Lynchburg.
Adding another Independent certainly helps Liberty in the future with scheduling, and it’s surely only a matter of time before the Flames and Huskies are scheduled to meet again on the gridiron.