Liberty is headed to the Conference USA starting in the fall of 2023. Being Independent for the last several seasons since moving to the FBS level, the Flames have piled up plenty of game contracts with programs scattered across the United States. CUSA is currently scheduled to play eight conference games, and Liberty has some serious whittling to do to their future slates.

With eight CUSA league games each season, this leaves Liberty with four openings for non-conference games. We already know Athletic Director Ian McCaw’s preferred model for those remaining games are one FCS, one Power Five, and two Group of Five rival games. Of course, we also know that it may take a few seasons to get that model perfected.

For the 2023 season, Liberty has already had games against Virginia and Miami (Ohio) taken away from that slate. With future CUSA opponent New Mexico State scheduled for the season finale in Las Cruces, New Mexico, that game will remain though the date and location could change.

Here is how the 2023 schedule currently stands:

09/02 vs Bowling Green
09/09 @ Coastal Carolina
09/16 @ Buffalo
09/23 vs Eastern Michigan
09/30 vs Old Dominion
10/07 OPEN
10/14 OPEN
10/21 OPEN
10/28 vs ETSU
11/04 @ South Carolina
11/11 vs UConn
11/18 vs UMass
11/25 @ New Mexico State

Add in games against other CUSA teams – Jacksonville State, Sam Houston State, UTEP, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, FIU, and Louisiana Tech – and Liberty must move five more games off its schedule. Of course, we enter this exercise without all the information behind the scenes that go into making these decisions, it’s just a fun exercise for us as Liberty fans.

Here are the four games that Liberty should keep, if at all possible, to have the best possible schedule in their initial year playing in CUSA.


Liberty has future games scheduled against the Chanticleers in 2023, 2024, 2027, 2028, and 2029, and McCaw has already stated this is a series that the Flames would like to keep. The former Big South rivals have quickly become two of the top G5 programs in the country, each one spending considerable time in the top 25 over the past couple of seasons.

Coastal Carolina and Liberty played in one of the best bowl games following the 2020 football season with the Flames edging the Chanticleers in overtime in the Cure Bowl. This will be a marquee G5 non-conference game during the 2023 season, and it provides a great opportunity for Liberty to make an early season splash nationally.


Like the Coastal game, this game against the Monarchs would fall perfectly into the category of playing two rival G5 opponents each season. ODU is an in-state FBS opponent that is moving from Conference USA to the Sun Belt. Liberty has dominated Old Dominion since moving to the FBS, and the Flames would like to keep that trend alive.


Liberty wants to keep one FCS team on its schedule moving forward, and East Tennessee State fits the bill. Nearly every FBS team plays at least one FCS opponent each season, including the best G5 programs and P5 teams, as well. It provides a chance for the Flames to notch, hopefully, an easy win as the team looks to become bowl eligible each year.


It would be ideal to keep the Gamecocks on the schedule. An SEC team that is typically in the bottom half of that league and hoping to win the six games needed to make a bowl game. This is a regional P5 opponent that gives the Flames a chance at a marquee win on the docket.

If this were to happen, Liberty would need to remove games from its schedule against Bowling Green, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, UConn, and UMass. Here’s a look at what this proposed 2023 schedule could look like. The CUSA opponent dates and locations are complete guesses:

09/02 vs Jacksonville State
09/09 @ Coastal Carolina
09/16 @ Sam Houston State
09/23 vs UTEP
09/30 vs Old Dominion
10/07 @ Western Kentucky
10/14 OPEN
10/21 vs Middle Tennessee
10/28 vs ETSU
11/04 @ South Carolina
11/11 vs FIU
11/18 @ Louisiana Tech
11/25 @ New Mexico State