Liberty tweaked its 2020 football schedule by adding a program that is shifting to independent status and moving a date with an in-state program to a later season.
The Flames will play the University of Connecticut on Oct. 31, 2020, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, as part of the Huskies’ independent schedule.
The Hartford Courant released nine of the Huskies’ 12 games for the 2020 season Thursday morning.
UConn announced over the summer it is moving all of its sports, except football, from the American Athletic Conference to the Big East Conference. UConn will join Liberty, Notre Dame, BYU, Army, UMass and New Mexico State as independent programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
“As FBS independents, we certainly try to cooperate with one another in scheduling,” Liberty athletic director Ian McCaw said in a phone interview Thursday morning. He cited Army, BYU and UMass as examples of independent programs moving around games to accommodate the Flames’ move to college football’s top tier in 2018.
“We wanted to help Connecticut,” he added.
The Flames’ original 2020 schedule featured Oct. 31 as an open week. Liberty opted to move its scheduled Nov. 7 game at Virginia to Oct. 14, 2023.
The Nov. 7 weekend will serve as an open week for Liberty in 2020.
That schedule shuffling allowed UConn to play at Virginia next season.
McCaw confirmed the 2020 matchup with the Huskies is the first in a home-and-home series, with UConn playing at Williams Stadium on Nov. 11, 2023.
McCaw added Liberty and UConn envision playing frequently in the future and said the programs are in discussions to continue the series beyond 2023.
The addition of UVa and UConn to the 2023 schedule gives Liberty 11 opponents for that season.
UVa is the second Power 5 opponent on the schedule. The Flames will play at South Carolina on Nov. 4, 2023, and receive a $1.5 million guarantee for the trip to Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.
Liberty’s 2023 slate features five games in September (Bowling Green, at Coastal Carolina, at Buffalo, Eastern Michigan and at Miami [Ohio]), two in October (Old Dominion and at Virginia) and four in November (at South Carolina, UConn, UMass and at New Mexico State).
“We’re very close to announcing our 2023 schedule,” McCaw said. “It’s a very attractive schedule. We’re putting the finishing touches on that.”
Damien Sordelett covers Liberty University athletics and local golf for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5550.